Hasbrouck's battery but was not brought into action. The Connecticut regiments, Eleventh, Fifteenth, and Sixteenth, under General Harland, followed and supported the advance, relieving the advance regiments as they exhausted their ammunition and holding the ground already gained; Colonel Onderdonk's cavalry, the One hundred and forty-third, One hundred and forty-fourth, and One hundred and seventieth Regiments New York Volunteers, constituted the reserve, under the command of Colonel McIvor, of the One hundred and seventieth Regiment New York Volunteers.
The enemy was found strongly posted at the forks of the Providence Church and Reed's Ferry roads. An earthwork on his left rested on a swamp, from which strong rifle-pits extended across his whole front and rested on his right on a branch of the river. It will be seen that the position could not be turned, and to carry it a direct assault had to be made on the front, which, even if successful, must inevitably have resulted in a great sacrifice of life. It was determined, therefore, on consultation with the major-general commanding, that the objects of the reconnaissance, in revealing the position and force of the enemy, were attained as far as was possible under the circumstances, and therefore nothing remained but to withdraw with as little loss as possible. Accordingly, the rifle-pits on the enemy's side next the draw-bridge were manned by the One hundred and seventieth New York Volunteers, and the whole force was rapidly and quietly withdrawn without the loss of a man. The movements was completed by 9 p. m. and the bridge taken up.
We lost in this engagement Colonel Benjamin Ringold, of the One hundred and third Regiment New York Volunteers, a most gallant and valuable officer, who fell at the head of his regiment late in the afternoon.*
Meanwhile the Fourth Rhode Island Volunteers crossed in boats at Hill's Point at daylight and advanced across the field toward the woods, but, encountering a superior force of the enemy advantageously posted in the woods, they were withdrawn to this side the following night. The Fourth Rhode Island was assisted by a boat howitzers from the Commodore Barney and by a detachment of the One hundred and seventeenth New York Volunteers. The Twenty-first Connecticut, a section of Vallee's battery, Fourth Wisconsin, and a sergeant and 10 men from the Mounted Rifles, under command of Major Crosby, of the Twenty-first Connecticut, crossed the river near Sleepy Hole, with the assistance of the gunboats, and advanced to Chuckatuck, where they drove out some 300 of the enemy's cavalry, part of which retreated on the route leading to Isle of Wight and the remainder on the road leading to Everett's Bridge, some 3 miles above Reed's Ferry. Skirmishing all the way, they pushed forward to Reed's Ferry, which they occupied after a brisk skirmish, in which they captured a lieutenant and 15 men. Being unable to communicate with our forces on the left, the Fourth Rhode Island, or the main advance Major Crosby, moved down the left bank of the West Branch to the Nansemond and took up an intrenched camp, from which he was withdrawn the following day. He lost 2 killed and 4 wounded.
On May 5 the commanding general published General Orders, Numbers 31, announcing the retreat of the enemy.
On the 7th, Field Orders, Numbers 14, were issued, disposing the troops of this division as follows, which positions they now occupy: The Second
*Return of the Seventh Army Corps, Department of Virginia, for the mouth of May, 1863, gives the following casualties in this affair: Sixty killed and wounded.