Numbers 73. Report of Colonel Joseph B. Kiddoo, Twenty-second U. S. Colored Infantry, First Brigade, of operations May 21.
HDQRS. TWENTY-SECOND U. S. COLORED TROOPS,
Fort Powhatan, Va., May 22, 1864.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that the enemy's cavalry, about 100 strong, made a demonstration upon my pickets yesterday at noon. The pickets held them in check until the infantry was formed and the artillerymen got to their guns, both at the time being at work on the trenches. A few shots from Captain Howell's battery dispersed the enemy. I signaled to General Wild that the enemy had appeared on my picket-line in small force, but had withdrawn. "All quiet." He returned a message to the effect that if I needed help to send him word. At this time the enemy reappeared on my right in about the same or larger force, when I sent to General Wild for a regiment of infantry, fearing that they were the advance guard of a larger force. By this time the gun-boats, by previously agreed upon signals, had got into position and shelled the woods on our right and left.
At this time a section of Captain Howell's battery passed down the river from City Point on its too Wilson's Wharf. I hailed the boat and took the responsibility of ordering the section ashore to my assistance on the assurance that I had received from General Wild that he would give me any assistance needed. Before General Wild arrived with the First U. S. Colored Troops the enemy had again disappeared. General Wild rode the line with me, and, concluding that it was only a reconnoitering party, left about 5 p. m. with the First U. S. Colored Troops and the section of Captain Howell's battery, which I had taken the responsibility to stop. I had only two men wounded. The pickets behaved most creditably, one man standing at his post, and after firing and loading three times, fenced with a rebel officer till the disabled the officer, and received a stroke across the face with a saber.
I very respectfully renew my application for a small detachment of cavalry to do vedette duty, that we may have a more timely alarm on the approach of an enemy; also that the section of Captain Howell's battery ordered away from here be allowed to remain for the present; also that, if consisted with the safety of other posts, I be furnished with more infantry to assist in doing the fatigue duty necessary to make this position secure. It will be remembered by the general commanding that while I may have infantry enough to do the fatigue or man my front line and do the picket duty, yet I have not enough for both.
I take pleasure in reporting that the gun-boats Atlant and Dawn co-operate with me most cordially and faithfully in everything that pertains to the safety of the post.
I have the honor to be, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. B. KIDDOO,
Colonel, Commanding Post.
Captain COLONEL A. CARTER,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.