While this engagement was going on, I ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Critcher to move the left on the Brentsville road and ascertain whether any force of the enemy was posted on that route. He succeeded in capturing a picket of 11 men, and subsequently some more. Captain [W. G.] Brawner, of the Fifteenth Virginia Cavalry, also captured a small picket. The enemy evacuated the town soon after our approach and took position on a commanding ridge overlooking the town-artillery and infantry-in a thicket of pines, and had, from what we could see, a full brigade of infantry and a battery of artillery.
Brigadier General Fitz. Lee had meanwhile passed just outside and on a parallel line to the enemy's pickets, down the right bank of the Chopawamsic, and struck the Telegraph road at a point about 2 miles south of Dumfries. Here the advance guard from the Fifth Virginia Cavalry, under Captain [J. W.] Bullock, encountered a patrolling party of the enemy and captured 2, the remainder escaping toward Dumfries. Proceeding in that direction, the Fifth, still in advance, captured six four-horse and three two-horse wagons, laden with sutlers' stores of every description, together with 22 men, who were guarding them.
Brigadier General Fitz. Lee's command having now arrived at Dumfries, the Fifth Virginia [Cavalry], colonel [Thomas L.] Rosser, and the First Virginia [Cavalry], Colonel [James H.] Drake, were ordered to cross the creek, above the town, while detachments from the Second and Third Virginia [Cavalry], under Lieutenant-Colonels [James W.] Watts and [W. R.] Carter, moved to cross at the point where the Telegraph road strikes the Quantico, and below. Rosser and Drake were ordered to attack the enemy first, and while their attention was thus called off Colonels Watts and Carter were to dash across the fords and capture the town. This project was subsequently abandoned, as the capture of the place would not have compensated for the loss of life which must have attended the movement, there being evidently no stores in the place, and Brigadier General Fitz. Lee was ordered to engage the enemy with his dismounted skirmishers and artillery, while the rest of the command swung round on the Brentsville road. Two rifle pieces of [Captain James] Breathed's battery, Stuart's Horse Artillery, accordingly kept up an effective fire upon the enemy, and the dismounted men on the left continued to skirmish until dark.
In this skirmish, while gallantly leading the dismounted sharpshooters, Captain Bullock, of the Fifth Virginia, fell, mortally wounded. The loss of this intrepid and heroic officer was a calamity which deprived his regiment of one of its most accomplished officers and the service one of its brightest ornaments. Lieutenant [James P.] Bayly succeeded him in command of the dismounted sharpshooters, and gallantly charging across the creek drove the enemy's infantry skirmishers from their ground, captured 11 of them, and maintained his position until dark, when, in obedience to orders, the detachment was withdrawn.
The whole number of prisoners captured by W. H. F. Lee's brigade
was 50; his loss, 1 private wounded, 1 non-commissioned officer and 12 privates missing, and 3 horses killed.
While these events were occurring in the vicinity of Dumfries, Brigadier-General Hampton had moved in the direction of Occoquan. At Cole's store he encountered the enemy's picket, and, sending a detachment of 25 men to get behind them, attacked them in front with 20 men. The party sent to the enemy's rear unfortunately mistook the road, so that the picket when driven in in front were enabled (all but four) to retreat toward Dumfries. Four were captured by Hampton, and the other 11, in endeavoring to reach Dumfries, fell into the hands of Lieutenant-