receiving his note to find that his orders were to the same effect, though failing to reach me till next morning, after its execution.
Early next morning I received orders from General Jackson, unless you had otherwise directed, to take position near his left. Not yet apprised of the enemy's move in the night I proceeded to execute this order, and having halted the column near Gatewood's, where Colonels Rosser, Baker, and Goode, with their respective regiments joined my command, I went forward to reconnoiter. Meeting with General Mackson, we rode together to Dr. Pindexter's, where we met Major Meade and Lieutenant Samuel R. Johnston, of the Engineers, who had just made, in the drenching rain, a personal examination of the enemy's position and found it abandoned.
I galloped back to my command and put it in motion for Haxall's, hoping there to intercept the enemy's column. The Jeff. Davis Legion
preceded and soon reached the river road in rear of Turkey Creek, capturing scores of the discomfited and demoralized foe at at every turn - wagons, tents, arms, and knapsacks abandoned, and the general drift of accounts given by the prisoners spoke eloquently of the slaughter and rout that will make Malvern Hill memorable in history.
Colonel Martin dashed off with a few men toward Haxall's,and in plain view of the monitor captured one of her crew on shore and marched back several other prisoners; the very boldness of the move apparently transfixing the enemy's guns.
Appreciating the importance of knowing the enemy's position with reference to Shirley I endeavored to gain the work of roads near that point, but it was strongly defended by two regiments of infantry - a prisoner captured near by said Sickles' brigade. The indications were plain, however, that the enemy had gone below that point.
The day was consumed in collecting prisoners and arms back toward Malvern Hill, the road from which was thoroughly blockaded, and in harassing the enemy's rear, which, in spite of his good position, was very effectually done by Colonel Martin with one of Pelham's howitzers, causing marked havoc and confusion in his ranks. I also reconnoitered in the direction of Charles City Court-House, with the view to fall on his flanks if still in motion. The result of the last was to the effect that at 10 a.m. no part of his forces had reached Charles City Court-House. I therefore sent down that night a howitzer toward Westover, under Captain Pelham, supported by Irving's squadron First Virginia Cavalry, with order to reach the immediate vicinity of the river road, so as to shell if the enemy attempted to retreat that night.
A squadron (Cobb Legion) was left near Shirley and the main body bivouacked contiguous to oat fields, of necessity our sole dependence for forage since leaving the White House, but the regiments were warned that the pursuit might be resumed at any moment during the night should Captain Pelham's reconnaissance apprise us of a continuance of the retreat.
During the night Captain Pelham wrote to me that the enemy had taken position between Shirley and Westover, nearer the latter, and described the locality, the nature of Herring Creek, on the enemy's right, and indicated the advantage to be gained by taking possession with artillery of Evelington Heights - a plateau commanding completely the enemy's encampment. I forwarded his report to the commanding general through General Jackson, and proceeded at once to the ground with my command, except one regiment (the Ninth Virginia Cavalry, Colonel W. H. F. Lee), which was ordered down the road by