woods; in front of them a ravine, through which ran a small stream in a direction nearly parallel with the Mechanicsville turnpike. This stream was reported as impracticable for infantry. The enemy were seen in rifle pits and behind trees on the crest of hills that rose rather abruptly from the far side of this stream, and were at the time delivering a well-directed and brisk fire upon our troops.
Halting my brigade in rear of Pryor and Featherston, I directed a company of the Eighth Alabama to be deployed as skirmishers into the woods skirting the Chickahominy to the right, and the Tenth Alabama was moved to the front and to the right of the positions of Pryor and Featherston, and formed in the woods on the bank of the little stream above referred to. Neither the skirmishers nor the Tenth Alabama met any of the enemy. A battery of artillery was now ordered into position on the ridge, where the two advanced brigades were then under fire of the enemy's sharpshooters. This battery opened a fire of shot and shell upon the enemy. The Thomas Artillery (Captain Anderson), of my brigade, was also placed in battery and commenced a fire of shot and shell upon the enemy's infantry, who were soon dispersed. The Thomas Artillery fired of shot and shell 150 rounds, losing 1 man killed by the enemy's sharpshooters while gallantly doing his duty-Corporal Bartlett, a brave soldier.
At this time orders were received from the major-general commanding for the three brigades to advance down the Chickahominy. The stream in front being impracticable for artillery, it became necessary to construct a bridge. The sleepers of an old bridge that had been destroyed by the enemy were found near the stream and plank from abandoned bivouacs of the enemy a short distance in rear; axes, spades, and nails were furnished by one of the batteries and a detail from the Eighth Alabama. In less than thirty minutes the bridge was rebuilt and the brigades, together with their batteries, crossed the stream safely.
The major-general commanding now assumed direct control and ordered the advance in line of battle down the Chickahominy-my brigade on the right, three regiments in line of battle, one near the Chickahominy, and the fourth in rear of the center of my line, Pryor's brigade in line on my left.
Having advanced nearly 1 mile a house was passed, the occupants of which reported that the enemy had just left it and that they were drawn up in line in the woods beyond. My brigade, passing the house, entered the woods and, descending for 100 or 200 yards, crossed a stream, and then, ascending a steep hill for 400 or 500 yards, emerged upon an open field, not having met the enemy. Here we found a large deserted camp of the enemy, in which was found forage, bacon, flour in small quantities, and boxes of valuable medicines and surgical instruments.
At this point troops were seen off to our left flank and front, and not knowing whether they were friends or enemies, a halt was made for a few minutes. It was soon ascertained that it was a part of Jackson's forces, Ewell's division. The command was then moved forward, my brigade still on the right and Pryor to the left, and inclining more to our right we again entered a wood, having traversed which we came to an open field. Here we were halted by the major-general commanding, and from this place we could see the Chickahominy to our right and extending far to our front, and upon the far side troops that we supposed to be our friends. Remaining here for a few minutes we were moved off by the left flank about 1 mile, and here being joined by Featherston's brigade we continued our advance, following a road