War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 1024 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

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advancing, and at that time within 1~ miles from our camp, at Old Church, near the brid~e on the Hanover Court-House road~ Cap- tain iRoyall immediately ordered Company C (the only company then remaining in camp) to saddle up and the teamsters to harness up,at the same time telling me that he would go to where Lieutenant Leib was, to see if the enemy were in force. I immediately mounted the company and formed them across the road at the blacksmiths shop, about 300 yards in front of the camp. At the sanie time I sent Sergeant Montgomery with 6 men down the road leading past Sears farm (which is the ilanovertown Ferry road) to see if the enemy were advancing in that direction. Before the sergeant returned I received orders from Captain Royall to bring my company up rapidly to his support. I ordered Corporal Emory to return to camp and to get the wagons ready to leave. I joined Captain IRoyall at the junction of the Richmond and Hanover Court-House roads. He then ordered the advance. We moved on at a rapid pace in the direction of the bridge on the Hanover Court- House road and advanced about 300 yards, when I heard the command in front of me to draw saber. I immediately threw down a panel of fence on the right to enable me to get into an open field and to advance in a direction parallel to Captain IRoyalls command, which was moving in column of fours along the road. Before I reached the head of his column a fire was opened from the timber in front of my company. I sent Corporal Evans, with 6 men, to my rtght and rear to see what was there. He had not advanced in that direction more than 200 yards when I saw the enemy coming out of the woods between the corporal and my. self. About this time the charge sounded. I moved rapidly to the front toward the bridge, when I saw our force withdrawing rapidly. My coin- pany being cut off from the road I found it impossible to join Captain IRoyall, and immediately proceeded across an open field, leaping the fence into another opemi field, where I drew up iii hue along the fence and delivered afire. Finding that the enemy were trying to get between my company and the woods I at once retreated to the woods, and reaching it before the Confederates, took a circuitous route and reached a poimit on the ilanovertown Ferry road about 300 yards from the Rich- mnond road opposite our camp at Old Church. Lieutenant Leib, in time mean time having arrived at camp, had his company drawn up in line near the edge of the woods. I proceeded to join him. Pickets were then sent out on the Richmond and Hanovertown Ferry roads, and in about twenty minutes were driven in by the enemy in force. When they arrived within sight of us Lieutenant Leib gave the command to retreat on the Cold Harbor road. This was about 4 oclock in the after- noon. The enemy followed us about a mile on this road and then aban- (loned their pursuit. I reached this camp about 6 oclock p. m. Throughout the whole affair I felt the want of carbines greatly. It is proper for me to state in connection with this report that when retreating and whemi about 1 mile from~ 01(1 Church I saw the head of a column of infantry advancing on the road leading into the Hanover- town Ferry road. The pickets which were driven iii saw the same body of infantry. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant, RICHARD BYRKES, Second Lieutenant, Fifth Cavalry. Lient. THOMAS E. IXIALEY, Adjutant Ffth Cavalry.