War of the Rebellion: Serial 068 Page 0239 Chapter XLVIII. SOUTH SIDE OF THE JAMES.

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Numbers 95. Report of Brigadier General Bushrod R. Jonson, C. S. Army, commanding, brigade, of operations May 6-11.


Drewry's Bluff, May 31, 1864.

SIR: I submit the following report of the operations of the troops under my command of the south side of James River from May 6 to 11, inclusive:

At 3 a. m. on the 6th instant I arrived at Drewry's Bluff from Chaffin's farm with my brigade, numbering in the aggregate 1,168, officers and men present, and occupied Fort Stevens. About 5 a. m. a part of the Twenty-first South Carolina Regiment, of Hagood's brigade, under Lieutenant-Colonel Dargan, arrived and was placed in position. While making a personal examination of the adjacent country, a dispatch from Major-General Ransom, commanding department, was received by my assistant adjutant-general, ordering Hagood's brigade to proceed immediately to Port Walthall Junction by rail, if there was a train to carry it. There being no train at the station, some three or four dispatches were exchanged in my absence by my assistant adjutant-general, during which correspondence the detachment of the Twenty-first South Carolina Regiment marched for Port Walthall Junction. About 11 a. m. the following dispatch was handed to me in person:

RICHMOND, VA., May 6, 1864.

Brigadier General B. R. JOHNSON:

I am astonished Hagood's brigade is not now at Port Walthall Junction. March it, and, if necessary to stp the enemy, your own, too, as quickly as possible to that point. The railroad must not fall into the enemy's hands. Rapidity is necessary. Act at once. If the enemy be at Port Walthall Junction dislodge him.



This was the first intimation I had the enemy was threatening the railroad. I immediately put my brigade in motion, and had advanced to within about 2 miles of the junction, when I received the following dispatch from Major F. W. Smith, commanding at Drewry's Bluff:

GENERAL: Our scouts report the enemy at Ware Bottom Church, 6 miles hence. I have already sent couriers to you with this intelligence. Had you not best return, as the Yankees have burned houses on the river and the fleet is advancing?


Major, Commanding.

As everything was quite in direction of Port Walthall Junction, I halted my command, sent a staff officer to communicate with Lieutenant-Colonel Dargan, now at the Junction, and endeavored to obtain further information of the movements of the enemy. About 5 p. m. I heard firing at Walthall Junction, and immediately put my brigade in motion for that place. On reaching the Junction, I learned that Colonel R. F. Graham had arrived at that place from Petersburg at about 4.30 p. m. with the remaining companies of the Twenty-first and three companies of the Twenty-fifth South Carolina Regiments, and with this command of about 600 men that he had encountered a brigade or more of the enemy, with two pieces