reason o believe were camped in strong force near hanover Court House. The first command, under my immediate direction, was to take the enemy in front, while Colonel Warren, taking the road along the Pamunkey, was to fall upon him in flank and rear. Amidst a pelting storm of rain, through deep mud and water, the command struggled and pushed its way to Peake's Station, on the Virginia Central Railroad, 2 miles from Hanover Court-House, where we came in presence of the enemy.
Here preparation were at once made for battle by sending forward as skirmishers on the direct road to Hanover Court-House the Twenty-fifth New York Volunteers, Colonel Johnson, and Berdan's Sharpshooters, to engage the enemy's skirmishers and to hold him in check while morell's division, slowly pushing through the swampy roads, could be brought up and deployed under the protection of a portion of Benson's battery, which was thrown into position so as to sweep the road.
In the mean time a squadron of cavalry and a section of artillery, supported by other cavalry, was sent to the left on the Ashland road to guard our flank and to destroy the railroad and telegraph at the crossing. This force soon became engaged with a portion of the enemy apparently attempting to outflank us. on the arrival of Martindale's brigade I dispatched it to support the last-mentioned force, confident that we could with Johnson, Berdan, and Benson hold the enemy in front until another brigade could be formed. Butterfield, soon coming up, formed his regiments and moved them in two lines, under the protection of woods and wheat fields immediately in front of the enemy, where he placed them until he could ascertain the position of the enemy. This done, he moved rapidly to the front, covered by skirmishers, driving the enemy before him, and capturing one piece of artillery and many prisoners. The enemy here having been put to flight, and one body of them seen moving in the direction of Hanover Court-Hourse, the cavalry, with the light artillery, was sent in pursuit. In the mean time the infantry was formed in readiness to move to a point where I knew the enemy had been camped. At this time Colonel Warren's command joined, having been delayed in repairing bridges destroyed by the enemy.
Learning that the retreating force had been seen moving toward our right, I directed Martindale to collect his brigade and move up the railroad, by which route he would fall in rear of the place before mentioned as the former location of the enemy's camp. At the same time i directed Colonel Warren to push on with his cavalry and destroy the public and private bridges across the Pamunkey east of the railroad. I immediately put the rest of the command in motion for Hanover Court-House, but had scarcely reached that point with the head of the column when I received information from a signal officer that the enemy were appearing in our rear.
The command was immediately faced about and marched back (left in front) to the former battle-field, where I found a portion of martindale's brigade contending against great odds. Morell's brigade (Colonel McQuade commanding), which was not up at the first action, was thrown upon the enemy in front and flank. A portion of Butterfield's brigade, under his immediate direction, hearing the sound of musketry, had taken the shortest route from the advanced point it had reached, and also moved toward the rear of the enemy. These supports pushing rapidly upon him drove him from his position on the road toward Ash