Early on the morning of the 17th I sent a squadron of cavalry down the Charles City road to Jones' Bridge, thence down the Chickahominy to Barrett's Ferry. This squadron saw no signs of the enemy, and joined the command at Barrett's Ferry on the morning of the 18th. Notice having been received that the last of the army was within 6 miles of Barrett's Ferry, I moved my command from Clarke's at 6 p. m. on the 17th, leaving the pickets and reserves to follow after dark. On the march from Charles City Court-House to Barrett's Ferry large numbers of stragglers from the different corps of the army were arrested and brought forward, and although the stragglers kept coming in for twenty-four hours after I had crossed the Chickahominy, yet with the assistance of the gunboats at the ferry, very few, if any of them, were left on the opposite shore.
About 4.30 o'clock in the afternoon of the 17th the enemy appeared in force from Haxall's to the plain in front of our lines to the west of Harrison's Landing. Both infantry and cavalry were seen. One squadron of the latter charged our pickets and succeeded in severely wounding one of the men. On hearing this I dispatched two squadrons to support the picket, and brought off the wounded man in an ambulance.
The enemy made no further demonstration, and after dark all my pickets and reserves were withdrawn to our position, 3 miles from Barrett's Ferry. A rear guard of one squadron was left some 5 or 6 miles to the rear to slash the timber across the road through the woods. At 10 o'clock a. m. on the 18th my whole command had crossed the Chickahominy, having successfully executed the orders of the major-general commanding with the loss of but 1 man wounded.
On the 19th the command marched from Barrett's Ferry to Yorktown, by the way of Jamestown and Williamsburg. The road by the way of Jamestown to Williamsburg is an excellent one; but little longer than the direct road, and with much less dust.
In conclusion, general, permit me to recommend to favorable notice the important services that have been rendered by the following-named officers, viz: Colonel D. McM. Gregg and Major Huey, of the Eighth Pennsylvania Cavalry; Majors Clendenin and Beveridge, of the Eighth Illinois Cavalry; Capts. William Sanders and Gregg, Sixth Regular Cavalry; Captain Robertson, Second Artillery, and Lieutenants Wilson and Hains, of the same regiment.
The efficiency of the Signal Corps was fully shown in the reconnaissance at Malvern Hill, and the subsequent service with the command of Lieutenants Clark and Camp, of that corps, entitle them to special consideration for advancement in their branch of the profession.
My staff officers-Captain A. J. Cohen, assistant adjutant-general; Lieutenant Ward, Sixth Cavalry, and Lieutenant Granger, Eighth Illinois Cavalry, aides-de-camp; First Lieutenant Spangler, Sixth Cavalry, acting brigade quartermaster, and Lieutenant J. A. Hall, brigade commissary-were at all times active, intelligent, and energetic in the discharge of their duties.
I respectfully request of the general commanding that an appreciation of the gallant bearing of the men of this command may be evinced by permitting the following-named regiments and batteries to inscribe on their colors "Malvern Hill, August 5, 1862:" The Sixth Regular Cavalry, the Eighth Pennsylvania Cavalry, the Eighth Illinois Cavarly, Robertson's battery of Horse Artillery, Benson's battery of Horse Artillery. These were the only troops that were actively engaged with the enemy on that day; the only troops that followed in pursuit, and