6-pounder and the disappearance of the enemy from that street. Thus the enemy had been thrice foiled. First, his attempt to surprise and massacre us was foiled by the existence of the expedition, and, subsequently, when in position, his attack upon our left and center was obstinately met, and, though not without difficulty and hard fighting, successfully repulsed.
Upon the first intimation of the retreat of the enemy our cavalry, which had necessarily been much scattered, was concentrated and sent in pursuit, and moving rapidly out upon the Greenville road, soon encountered a flag of truce with a rebel surgeon, who desired the privilege of attending to his wounded. This flag was a well-calculated subterfuge, under which the enemy gained considerable in their retreat, as the officer commanding the pursuit party felt it his duty to suspend operations until he could communicate with the commanding officer, who was at the rear. After disposing of this flag of truce our cavalry pushed out 9 miles on the Greenville road, encountering only a surgeon's flag over a party of 18 of the enemy 's wounded, and upon returning discovered two ambulances in the road, which he captured. The dismounted men of the detachment of cavalry were under standing order, in the event of an attack, to report to Lieutenant Chesebrough, who was temporarily disabled for mounted duty. These men arrived, with the Colt's revolving rifles, and were stationed in ambush, for the purpose of preventing the entrance of the enemy's cavalry upon the upper end of Main street, and were most successful.
In conclusion, sir, too much cannot be said in prairie of the coolness of the officers and men of my command, who fought full three times or more their number four hours, under the most trying circumstances. Battery H, Third New York Artillery, did most creditably, and the result of this first meeting with the enemy promises them a brilliant future. I would especially commend to the notice of the commanding general, in consequence of most gallant conduct, Corpl. James R. Nicoll, Company I, Third New York Cavalry, and Corpl. William Smith, Battery H, Third New York Artillery (the latter since lost his leg, by amputation, in consequence of wounds), and would respectfully suggest that medals of honor, recently ordered by Congress, be represented to these two men.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Third New York Cavalry.
Major SOUTHWARD HOFFMAN,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Dept. of North Carolina.
Numbers 4. Report of Major General Samuel G. French, C. S. Army.
PETERSBURG, VA., September 7, 1862.
General Martin telegraphs me our troops had a sharp fight of three hours at Washington, N. C., this morning (6th), but could not hold the town. Our loss heavy. We brought out three brass field guns.
S. G. FRENCH.
General S. COOPER.