embarking at 5 a. m. with 300 cavalry, one-half from the Fifth United States, the other from the Third Pennsylvania. The dock on the south bank having been partially destroyed rendered the landing of cavalry difficult and dangerous, but it was accomplished by 9 a. m. with the loss of but 1 horse drowned.
Directions had been given the night previous by Major General F. J. Porter to have the infantry pickets thrown far enough out to prevent the enemy from observing my crossing, but the infantry failed to effect this, for upon my landing I was informed by their commanding officer that cavalry pickets of the enemy had been observing my operations for some time. As soon as my command was organized and the carbines loaded and capped I proceeded by the road which leaves the river at the landing opposite and runs in an almost due south course for 2 1/4 miles. Four companies of the First Michigan Infantry, under Captain Boldine, accompanied the cavalry, with orders to follow as rapidly as possible, in order to act as a support. Lieutenant McIntosh, Fifth U. S. Cavalry, led the advance guard, composed of 25 men, with orders to charge at once upon any force of the enemy that he could distinctly see, unless it should be manifestly too numerous and too well posted for our whole force to attack with discretion.
The advance guard was supported by Lieutenant Miller, Third Pennsylvania Cavalry, with 25 men, with orders to attack or maneuver in conformity with the movements of Lieutenant McIntosh; then followed the min body, under Captain Owens, Fifth U. S. Cavalry, accompanied by myself.
Constant and rapid communication was kept up from front to rear.
After marching steadily 1 1/4 miles the pickets of the enemy were first observed, somewhat screened in a wood which extended across the road. The advance guard and its support immediately deployed as skirmishers and commenced to feel the enemy on both sides, while the main body was kept in ambush, the infantry positioned, and everything put in readiness to meet the enemy should he accept the invitation to fight at that point; but he did not resist the advance, and we resumed the march promptly, a few scattering shots driving him beyond the belt of woods into a large open space three-fourths of a mile across. As we emerged from the woods he appeared through a driving rain, which began to fall about this time, drawn up in line on high ground at the farther extremity. We could see about 150 men.
Sending 50 men to the right and 50 to the left, to be more ready to act as support to the advance and flanking, with orders to the infantry to follow rapidly, my entire force advanced at once to the attack. The enemy gave way, and we pursued in good order, and as fast as we could, over a road that was now flooded in places 2 feet deep. We soon, through a dense wood, came to a mill, where the road branched to the left over a steep hill. Straight ahead, up a winding wooded valley, and to the right over a narrow bridge across the mill-race, parties of the enemy appeared upon all of these roads, but knowing the right hand one to be that which led to the enemy's camp, Lieutenants McIntosh and Miller dashed across the bridge, found the enemy drawn up, charged him boldly, putting him to flight, wounding some, killing a horse, and taking 2 prisoners. Lieutenant McIntosh had his horse shot in the charge.
From the prisoners we learned that their force in camp was seven companies, averaging 80 men each, and that they could make a good fight. Determining to go on and attack him, I first made this point secure by leaving a position of the infantry to cover the roads, with a