War of the Rebellion: Serial 026 Page 0143 Chapter XXX. ENGAGEMENT AT DESERTED HOUSE.

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main body, and were so posted as to observe the two by-path which there intersect the Kelly road, the one communicating with the railway and the other with the Carrsville road on the left. The cavalry employed in outpost duty, a strong picket being stationed on both roads some distance beyond the swamp. A company of infantry was also placed on each road immediately at the swamp. Hardly were these dispositions completed when the vedettes in advance of the cavalry outposts encountered and drove back a small scouting party from Suffolk. Anticipating an attack during the night by a large force of cavalry, I prepared an ambuscade by posting 100 sharpshooters on the direct road a mile beyond the swamp. As was expected, about 3 o'clock the enemy's cavalry approached the men in ambush and received a volley which emptied many a saddle and threw the column into confusion. They rallied, however, and were saluted with another destructive fire. The infantry behind then engaged my skirmishers, who, being overpowered by numbers, were obliged to recross the swamp. Here they were again placed in ambush, and again they poured a deadly volley into the enemy's cavalry at a distance of 10 paces. Meanwhile the enemy's whole force pressed on across the swamp.

At this moment I reached the spot and immediately directed Captain Coit to open with his advances section. He was anticipated by the enemy, who had already gotten a couple of mountain howitzers in position. The ground being favorable to the action of the enemy's cavalry, I apprehended some peril to the pieces in advance, and accordingly after a few rounds I retired them on a line with the other sections. All my artillery, except the reserve under Captain Martin, was now engaged. The enemy, too, had brought up batteries, and there ensued and was maintained for two hours as furious a cannonade as I have ever witnessed. It was now 4 o'clock precisely; by 6 o'clock the enemy's advance was decisively checked and all his guns silenced, except a single piece which discharged an occasional shot with feeble effect.

At this moment word was brought me from various sources that the cars were running and were accumulating troops in rear of my right flank. This information obliged me to move my main force to the point occupied by the reserve in order to prevent the enemy debouching on my flank and rear. Accordingly I directed the infantry to retire by successive battalions and the artillery by alternate sections. The movement was executed with perfect deliberation and without the least annoyance. The reserve, now become the advance, was re-enforced and arranged in a skirt of woods behind the field, about 400 paces in width, which the enemy in his approach would be obliged to traverse. Skirmishers were thrown forward to the right and left. The artillery was disposed on the edge of a field in such order as to rake the road and sweep every foot of the field. The position was sufficiently strong, and we awaited the approach of the enemy if he should prove in a mood to renew the fight. After the lapse of nearly an hour their cavalry appeared in the woods on the opposite side of the field. A single discharge of spherical sent them scampering away. Next they brought up a howitzer, but after three rounds that also was disabled and withdrawn. Their infantry then issued from the woods across the field with the evident design of charging our batteries, but being confronted by our skirmishers and assailed by storm of case and canister they broke and rain in the utmost confusion, nor did they rally again. My line of skirmishers was advanced and scouts were sent forward to ascertain the enemy's presence, by they were not to be found. They were beaten and had fled toward Suffolk. Despite our inferior force and deficiency in cavalry I resolved on pursuit, and had