Lieutenant Mink, and two squadrons of the Fifth Pennsylvania Cavalry, Major McCandless, to proceed to Gloucester Court-House, where I followed and arrived at 6 p. m.
The Fifth Pennsylvania Cavalry were thrown out at 1 a. m. of the 12th to the North End Mill, on the Piankatank River road, preparatory to the landing a few hours later of Captain hall, with 90 of the Sixth New York Cavalry, below Matthews Court-House, where he had been conveyed and landed in an admirable manner by Captain Foxhall Parker, under the protection of the crew and guns of the Mahaska, assisted by one company of the Independent Battalion of New York, Colonel Comfort.
The only opposition here made was by some 40 rangers, who immediately fell back, and continued to do so as Captain Hall approached, repeatedly dispersing into the woods and swamps whenever he charged upon them and as often reassembling.
After the cavalry arrived and reported to me, on the afternoon of the 12th instant, the Fifth was ordered to Wood's Cross-Roads and found the picket of the King and Queen Cavalry advanced to that place. The main road to Scuffletown was, on the morning of the 13th, thoroughly examined beyond that place, and after finding no enemy in force in that direction, with 40 of the Sixth New York and the cavalry of Major McCandless i pushed the reconnaissance in the direction of Buena Vista, the headquarters of the King and Queen Cavalry. At 2 miles from that place the Fifth Pennsylvania were held in reserve, and Captain Hall, with 30 men, was sent to feel the position of the King and Queen Cavalry. He soon came in contact with their pickets, but they gave way; he got within 300 yards of their main force, but they would not stand. After repeated attempts he got within 150 yards and dismounted; fired a volley, which wounding several, they again retreated. Hall mounted and pursued and ran them through their encampment and 2 miles beyond it to Centerville. I then directed the barracks, stables, and all of their commissary stores to be burned and some arms found on the premises to be brought away. It being now late in the afternoon, the One hundredth New York, Colonel Dandy, was ordered forward to Wood's Cross-Roads and the cavalry to bivouac for the night at that place.
On the following day, at 6 a. m., Major McCandless' cavalry and those of Captain Hall were sent into Middlesex County, some 6 miles beyond the Dragon Ordinary, to destroy a large tannery, which was manufacturing a large quantity of leather for the use of the rebel army, the machinery, buildings, and 2,000 tanned hides being destroyed. Several wagon loads of finished leather were brought away, with the proprietors of the establishment, whom, I would recommend, should take the oath not to aid the rebel army in future.
On the night of the 14th the One hundredth New York, followed by the Sixth New York Cavalry, retired from Wood's Cross-Roads, by the way of Belle Roy, while the rest of the command marched directly to Gloucester Point, followed by Major McCandless, and by 4 p. m. of the 15th instant, with the exception of the cavalry, all had returned to their encampments at Yorktown, without the loss of a man or an animal. We found irregular cavalry (rangers) formed in Matthews, Gloucester, King and Queen, and Middlesex. The most of them were not in uniform, and were engaged in catching runaway negroes and in forwarding supplies to Richmond. As soon as they were attacked they scattered, and it was impossible to pursue them. The only means I could advise to meet the difficulty was to take horses and arms from the citi-