the ford being sufficiently wide) we opened a volley upon them which had the effect of emptying a number of saddles and throwing the whole into disorder. While attempting to reform we fired so rapidly upon them that without orders, so far as we could hear (and we were sufficiently near to hear every order distinctly, the river not being over 30 yards wide), they right-about and made the quickest possible time to get into the thick woods.
After the retreat of the cavalry the enemy, who were posted behind trees and stumps, poured a perfect volley of oaths and imprecations upon us, expressive alike of their cowardice and degradation. They soon renewed the attack with both infantry and artillery, and proving unsuccessful from the position, the moved two howitzers down the road within 100 yards of the rifle-pit and opened with shell and canister, which they kept playing, I suppose, for more than an hour, during which time we took chances and fired occasionally. About this time, fearing they would make another charge under the protection of their artillery, I dispatched 3 men to camps to secure our horses, as I was determined to hold the pass to the last extremity. I dispatched 2 also up the river to watch their movements. They soon returned with the information that the enemy were crossing above the ford. I immediately moved up the river with all my force except 3 men, whom I left in the rifle-pit with orders to fire as rapidly as possible. My object was to prevent their crossing until re-enforcements could arrive, which I was momentarily expecting. The stream divides just above the ford and forms a small island. They had only crossed one branch and had halted on the island and discovering our movements returned in their boats.
While I was preparing to meet them above they had effected a crossing below the ford by means of pontoon boats at a deep bend of the river under the cover of dense thicket. As soon as I discovered they had landed we started in double-quick for Joyner's house, as that was our only chance to make a stand, they having landed ten to our one. They discovered our design and rushed to cut us off, and succeeded in doing so. Our only chance for defense then was a rail fence diagonally to our right. The labor and exposure we had been subject to for eight or ten hours had very much exhausted us. We were nearly surrounded before arriving at the fence. The enemy halted and fired (one company). The result was one of my men was instantly killed. I received a severe wound in the muscles of the right shoulder. I also received a wound in the hand while in the rifle-pit, which caused considerable loss of blood. I fell on receiving the wound in the shoulder and my men halted around me, and in a few moments we were surrounded by three companies of the Thirteenth Indiana Regiment. We were immediately taken over the river and hurried in the direction of Suffolk. Soon after we had crossed the river our artillery came up and opened upon the enemy, which had the effect to hasten their move toward Suffolk.
Our loss was as follows: Killed - Private Thomas Barker; dangerously wounded - Corpl. W. R. Green; taken prisoners - Privates William H. Dean, G. W. Gafford, Thomas J. Hasty, Chandler Smith, M. B. Smith, Jackson C. Spinks, George W. Baily, A. M. Brady, Jeff. Whitehead, and W. B. Whitehead.
Lieutenant Morris' men were so posted down the river as only to bring 3 of his men in the action.
My whole force in the rifle-pit did not any time exceed 24, making a total of only 27 actually engaged with the enemy. Before our capture my forces were greatly reduced by sending couriers and men to secure horses, &c.