War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 1037 STUARTS RAID. Chapter XXIII.

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Our march led thence to Taliaferros Mill and Enon Church to ilawes Shop; here we encountered the first pickets, surprised and caught sev- eral vedettes, and pushed boldly forward, keeping advance guard well to the front. The regiment in front was the Ninth Virginia Cavalry (Col. W. II. F. Lee), whose advance guard, intrusted to the command of the adjutant (Lieutenant Robins), did admirable service, Lieutenant Robins handling it in the most skillful manner, managing to clear the way for the march with little delay, and infusing by a sudden dash at a l)icket such a wholesome terror that it never paused to take a second look. Between Hawes Shop and Old Church the advance guard reported the enemys cavalry in force in front; it proved to be the Fifth Regular Cavalry (formerly the ~econd, commanded by yourself). The leading squadron was ordered forward at a brisk gait, the main body following closely, and gave chase to the enemy for a mile or two, but not coming up with him. We crossed the Totopotomoy, a strong position of de- fuse, which the enemy failed to hold, confessing a weakness. In such places half a squadron was deployed afoot as skirmishers till the point of danger was l)assed. On, on dashed Robins, here skirting a field, there leaping a fence or ditch, and clearing the woods beyond, when not far from Old Church the enemy made a stand, having been re-enforced. The only mode of attack being in column of fours along the road, I still l)rcferred to oppose the enemy with one squadron at a time, remember- ing that he who brings on the field the last cavalry reserve wins the day. The next squadron therefore moved to the front under the lamented Captain Latane, making a most brilliant and successful charge with drawn sabers upon the picketed ground, and, after a hotly-contested hand-to-hand conflict, put him to flight, but not till the gallant captain had sealed his devotion to his native soil with his blood. The enemys rout (two squadrons by one of ours) was complete; they dispersed in terror and confusion, leaving many dead on the field and blood in quan- tities in their tracks. Their commander, Captaih Royall, was reported mortally wounded. Several officers and a number of privates were taken in this conflict, and a number of horses, arms, and equipments, together with five guidons. The woods and fields were full of the scattered and disor- ganized foe straggling to and~ fro, and but for the delay and the great incumbrance which they would have been to our march, many more could and would have been captured. Col. Fitz. Lee, burning with impatience to cross sabers with his old regiment, galloped to the front at this point and begged to be allowed to participate with his regiment (the First Virginia Cavalry) in the dis- comfiture of his old comrades, a request I readily granted, and his lead- ing squadron pushed gallantly down the road to Old Church; but the fragments of Royalls command could not again be rallied, and Colonel Lees leading squadron charged without resistance into the enemys camp (five companies), and took possession of a number of horses, a quantity of arms and stores of every kind, several officers and privates. The stores as well as the tents, in which everything had been lefty, were speedily burned, and the march resumed. Here was the turning point of the expedition. Two routes were be- fore methe one to return by Hanover Court-House, the other to pass around through New Kent, taking the chances of having to swim the Chickahominy and make a bold effort to cut the enemys lines of com- munication. The Chickahominy was believed by my guide to be ford-