by skirmishers, which beat the woods on the north (my right), passed through the door-yard and garden, across the swampy ground and woods still farther west, until they came in view of the railroad. Colonel Gove, of the Twenty-second Massachusetts, who led this movement, immediately reported to me that the enemy had a train of cars on the track, and that a large force was forming there in line of battle. I sent forward the whole of his regiment to him on the left and south of the Richmond road, and opened with artillery from the door-yard in the direction which he indicated. The Second Maine was immediately moved to the north of the Richmond road near to the railroad where it entered the woodss toward Hanover. The battery which I had in command was withdrawn and Griffin's battery substituted. A section of this battery was sent forward on the Richmond road to the line occupied by the
Twenty-second Massachusetts and opend fire. The enemy responded with artillery, which was near the junction of the highway and railroad, but was hid from view, as was supposed, by the excavation made for the railroad. The enemy's battery was soon silenced by Griffin's battery, and I subsequently learned had been withdrawn.
In the mean time the Second Maine tore up a part of the rail from the railroad track and cut and carried off a frew lengths of telegraph wire, and it also appears that a similar work was done by Captain Sampson, of the Twenty-second Massachusetts. At this point of time I did not know that the enemy's battery had been withdrawn, and I made disposition to attack it. Finding the enemy superior to me in number I sent notice of the fact to the commandant of the corps, and that had opened on me with artillery, and for two regiments, or at least one, to re-enforce me. But I ordered forward the Second Maine across the railroad into the wheat field preparatory to an attack from that direction. The enemy was in view, and while my command was in this position I received a communication from the commandant of the corps that the enemy were leaving our front and right, evidently retreating toward Fredericksburg or north,and requesting me to push to the right,and that there were then no regiments which he could give me, repeating the injunction that the enemy was on my right, and directing me to push up that way and join the rest of the force. I returned an answer that the enemy was on my left - ont on my right - along a road to my left, and not to my right. Having dispatches this notice I recalled the Twenty-second Massachusetts and Second Maine and battery, and placed them in the road to Hanover, leading with the Twenty-second Massachusetts, followed by the battery, and closing with the Second Maine.
This formation was adopted in the exception that I could thereby consitute a sufficient rear guard and protect not only the battery but our line of communications, should they be threatened, and which it was obvious were very much in peril if we left the enemy in our rear. A small force of cavalry was stationed near the garden and house already mentioned. As my column was put in motion,and I think after it had got under way, I received an order from the commanding general of the corps to push up the railroad as fast as I could and to halt when I came to the road from Hanover
Court-House, and in the order was informed that our cavalry were pursuing the enemy. At nearly the same time I received another dispatch from the commanding general of the corps in reply to my message that the enemy were on my left, and not on my right, directing me to let them go, and informing me that Stoneman would strike them, and that I was then moving on them.