Colonel Critcher, who had been sent, as I have already stated, to hold that road.
Having cleared the way, Brigadier-General Hampton pushed on toward Occoquan, Colonel Butler with the main body approaching the town in front, while Colonel [W. T.] Martin and Major [William G.] Delony proceeded by the river road to cut off the enemy's retreat from the town. Before the latter had reached the desired position, Colonel Butler drove in the enemy's pickets, dashed into the town, and dispersed several hundred cavalry, who took to flight and escaped in the darkness. Nineteen prisoners and 8 wagons were captured, with a loss upon our part of only 1 man wounded. On this night (December 27) the entire command bivouacked near Cole's store. Two pieces of artillery, whose ammunition was nearly exhausted, and wagons and prisoners which had accumulated up to this time, were sent back under a squadron of the Ninth Virginia Cavalry, Captain [Orlando] Smith commanding.
On the morning of the 28th, I advanced, with Lee's brigade in front, in the direction of the Occoquan. At Greenwood Church I detached Colonel Butler, of Hampton's brigade, with his command, and ordered him to proceed to Bacon Race Church, with a view to cut off a detachment of the enemy which were reported in our front.
At that point he was informed that the rest of Hampton's brigade would join him. Soon after leaving Greenwood Church, I encountered two regiments of the enemy's cavalry drawn up in line of battle near a dense piece of woods. Fitz. Lee's brigade was ordered to charge, and executed the order gallantly, the ever-ready First Virginia leading and advancing in the face of heavy volleys. The enemy did not stand long. They broke, and were pursued 5 or 6 miles, some 8 or 10 being killed and more than 100 prisoners. The pursuit of the enemy was continued to the Occoquan, over which he had fled at Selectman's Ford, and arriving in front of that point, General Fitz. Lee discovered that the northern bank of the stream was occupied by the enemy's dismounted sharpshooters in force. Without waiting to exchange shots, they were gallantly charge by file, the Fifth Virginia, under Colonel [T. L.] Rosser, leading across a narrow, rocky, and very difficult ford; but in spite of the heavy volleys directed at our men, they pressed on, crossed the stream, suffered no loss, and captured or dispersed the whole party. Following up this success, General Fitz. Lee took possession of the enemy's camps on the north side, which they had abandoned in hot haste, leaving a great many spoils of every description-horses, mules, and wagons, with blankets and other stores.
Colonel Butler, of the Second South Carolina, rejoined Hampton's brigade just as it reached the northern bank of the Occoquan. He had been sent, as above stated, up the road leading to Bacon Race Church, and when within a mile of that place encountered and drove in the enemy's pickets upon their reserve, consisting of about one squadron. This was charged, put to flight, and pursued by Colonel Butler, who suddenly came upon a large force of their cavalry and two pieces of artillery posted not more than 200 yards in his front. They opened a hot fire of canister upon him, which forced him to fall back a short distance. Here he wheeled about to resist the expected charge, but the enemy did not advance upon him. He then moved back about a quarter of a mile on the Brentsville road, and, after waiting for the enemy for some time, continued to withdraw by the Brentsville road. In so doing he came upon the enemy, who had occupied the road in his rear, and was compelled to make a circuit of 3 or 4 miles to extricate himself from