War of the Rebellion: Serial 026 Page 0350 NORTH CAROLINA AND S. E. VIRGINIA. Chapter XXX.

Search Civil War Official Records

of the enemy that might be driven down this cross-road by General Palmer's column.

The troops immediately started upon the expedition, and upon reaching the cross-roads I found Major Sturgis who reported the enemy in some force in the neighborhood of the junction. That officer had carried out his instructions with the most scrupulous fidelity, having carefully concealed his force from the enemy, so as to give them no warning of our approach, and thus preventing them from receiving re-enforcements, the presence of which at a later period of the day might have been embarrassing. As his men were much exhausted I directed him to leave one company at the point at which I overtook him and to order the others to follow the column slowly. The column then proceeded, driving in the enemy's vedettes and pickets. This duty was performed by Company B, Forty-fifth Regiment, Captain Churchill, the pickets being uniformly posted behind log barricades and uniformly driven out by flanking parties from Company B.

Upon arriving at the cross-roads and learning that General Palmer's column, under Colonel Jones, Fifty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, was pushing up the Dover Road, I determined to proceed to the junction. Company F, Captain Daland, was ordered to relieve Company B, in the advance, and the column then pushed forward, one company of the Seventeenth Massachusetts Volunteers being left at the cross-roads. As we approached the junction Lieutenant-Colonel Peabody, in charge of the advance, sent my word that there was an earthwork across the railroad. I immediately ordered a halt and determined to make no attack until Colonel Jones arrived, not knowing what might be the wish of the brigadier-general commanding. The breastwork had no ditch in front, and I inferred that the enemy had no artillery, as they might have used it with effect before this time if they had had any in position. In a few moments the enemy fired a volley from the breastwork upon the advance of Colonel Jones, which was immediately returned, and I then made dispositions for an attack. The breastwork was thrown up across the track and extended some distance to our left. It also ran along the track, crossing the Dover road. I immediately ordered Captain Daland to open fire with his company, stationed on the railroad and deployed as skirmishers on the right and left, which was done very vigorously. I then deployed the companies of Captain Wales and Homans of the Forty-fifth, and subsequently two companies of the Seventeenth, as skirmishers on the left of the railroad, with orders to advance, firing. The firing of these companies was rapid and energetic, and that of the enemy, which was sharp for a time, soon slackened.

A favorable opportunity was then presented for a charge, and as night was approaching it was necessary to decide the affair at once. Company A, Captain Denny, of the Forty-fifth, having the colors of the regiment, had been held in reserve, and was now ordered to fix bayonets and prepare to advance. It came up gallantry along the railroad in column of platoons, supported by a company of the Seventeenth, and as it approached the work the first platoon fired a volley, and then, stooping down, the second fired over the heads of the first. The company then rushed forward with the bayonet, the whole line of skirmishers charging at the same time, and the colors of the regiment were planted upon the work, the enemy giving way. I then communicated with Colonel Jones, and in accordance with orders the whole command marched back to camp.

In this affair the troops under my command sustained a loss of 1 man killed, Private H. M. Putney, of Company F, Forty-fifth Massachusetts