fancy, and a body of sharpshooters were sent ashore from the boat to meet them. Quite a determined engagement of skirmishers ensued, but our gallant men never faltered in their determination to expose this Yankee buggaboo called gunboat. To save time, however, I ordered up the howitzer, a few shells from which, fired with great accuracy and bursting directly over her decks, caused an instantaneous withdrawal of sharpshooters and precipitate flight under full headway of steam down the river. The howitzer gave chase at a gallop, the more to cause the apprehension of being cut off below than of really effecting anything. The gunboat never returned.
The command was now entirely out of rations and the horses without forage, and I had relied on the enemy at the White House to supply me with these essentials. I was not disappointed, in spite of their efforts to destroy everything. Provisions and delicacies of every description lay in heaps, and the men regaled themselves on the fruits of the tropics as well as the substantial of the land. Large quantities of forage were left also.
An opportunity was here offered for observing the deceitfulness of the enemy's pretended reverence for everything associated with the name of Washington, for the dwelling-house was burned to the ground, and not a vestige left except what told of desolation and vandalism. Nine large barges loaded with stores were on fire as we approached; immense number of tents, wagons, cars in long trains loaded and five locomotives, a number of forges, quantities of every species of quartermaster's stores and property, making a total of many millions of dollars - all more or less destroyed.
During the morning I received a note from the commanding general directing me to watch closely any movement of the enemy in my directions,and to communicate what my impressions were in regard of the designs. I replied that there was no evidence of a retreat of the main body from the position before Richmond down the Williamsburg roads, and that I had no doubt the enemy since his defeat was endeavoring to reach the James as a new base, being compelled to surrender his connection with the York. If the Federal people can be convinced that this was a part of McClellan's plan, that it was in his original design for Jackson to turn his right flank and our generals to force him from his strongholds, they certainly can never forgive him for the millions of public treasure that his superb strategy cost the nation. He had retreat was not progressing toward the York, the commanding general knew as well as McClellan himself that he must seek the only outlet left.
It took the remainder of Sunday to ration my command and complete the destruction of some property I was apprehensive the enemy might return and remove, but I sent that day a regiment (First Virginia Cavalry, Colonel Fitz. Lee) across to observe the enemy's movements from Bottom's Bridge to Forge Bridges.
On Monday I moved my whole command in the same direction, except one squadron (Cobb Legion), which was left at the White House. Colonel Lee, First Virginia Cavalry, was stationed near Long Bridge, and the remainder near Forge Bridge. The former reported the enemy's pickets visible on the other side, and at the latter place I observed a force of infantry and two pieces of artillery. The Napoleon was left with Colonel Lee, but it was disabled at the first shot, the trail breaking. The Blakely being disabled at Cold Harbor left me with only 12-pounder howitzers (one section being present). Captain Pelham