My progress was necessarily slow, owing to the thick undergrowth in the heavy timber to the left of the road, rendering it almost impossible to get through.
When I had proceeded about a mile on the road a picket of three horseman were discovered, who on our approach retired. At this point a road turns to the left, which I was informed crossed the railroad a distance of 1 mile. On the left of the road for a distance of 3 miles but one house appears, while to the right occasional farms are visible, though off the Richmond road on a
by-road that strikes what the negroes call the Telegraph raod, leading from Ashland to Hughes'. At every turn in the road these horseman on our approach would fire and retire.
A distance of about 3 miles brought us to an opening in the timber. As the cavalry were advancing up a rise to enter this opening several shots of the enemy were fired, and as we continued on they were discovered in force, advancing at a charge, about 200 yards distant. Quickly I directed a counter-march and to take up a slow gallop, while I ordered my column, being concelaed from their view, to step out of the road into the edge of the cover in line of battle and await orders. This was quickly executed, but the enemy refused the invitation. I advanced the cavalry a second time, but could not induce them to pursue.
From this point it is 1 1/4 miles to Huges'. The clearing for a mile is a series of cultivated farms and entirely open. A very large cavalry force had been along the road last night in the direction of Richmond.
From all I could learn I think the enemy had a strong picket just in my front of cavalry and infantry, and this is further confirmed by seeing infantry passing to my right and rear in considerable force, with a view of attacking me in the rear.
My movement evidently had been discovered, for on my return to the fork of the roads Lieutenant Arnold informed me that their pickets were advanced quite near him on the Ashland road.
There is no point along the road, as far as I went, where cavalry or artillery could be used outside of the road. I crossed a small creek about 2 1/2 miles, the water very much discolered, as though it was the drainage of a thickly-wooded swamp. The character of the whole country is low and swampy. I transmit herewith a sketch of the country examined.
JESSE A. GOVE,
Colonel Twenty-second Massahusetts Regiment, Commanding.
Catp. CHARLES J. POWERS,
Asst. Adjt. General, Hdqrs. First Brigade, Porter's Division.
HDQRS. TWENTY-SECOND MASSACHUSETTS REGIMENT, Camp near Gaines' Mill, Va., May 29, 1862.
CAPTAIN: Pursuant to instructions, I have the honor to report that at 11 o'clock p.m. on the night of the 26th instant I received orders to march at 3.30 in the morning with two days' rations in haversacks, 60 rounds of ammunition per man, and in light marching order. At 4 a.m. on the 27th instant I marched out of camp, following Martin's battery, in the midst of a drenching rain, which had continued unceasingly