War of the Rebellion: Serial 068 Page 0257 Chapter XLVIII. SOUTH SIDE OF THE JAMES.

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this route passing by Mrs. Dunn's house to the enemy's position within a short distance, General Dearing was instructed to cover our right with Griffin's cavalry and the left with Taliaferro's regiment, and then with his main body to effect a junction by the left with the general commanding. The column moved froward, skirmishing at the head all the way from Timberry Creek until the vicinity of the Junction was reached, where we were met by artillery and a stubborn resistance. Two pieces of artillery from Read's battalion were brought up and thrown to the right near Craig's house. The enemy commanding both the Junction and the turnpike, two were pushed along the turnpike and four placed by Colonel Jones well to the left to bear on the enemy's position. Martins' brigade was directed to take the railroad to the right, and Wise to do the same in front. In a short time the troops drove the enemy across Bake-House Creek, and line of battle was formed at Wlathall Junction in order described.

When thus formed near 11 o'clock I had reached the point designated in my orders, whence I was to march as soon as I heard the sound of an engagement in my front. Nothing had been heard to indicate any such occurrence. No information of any sort reached me from Drewry's Bluff. Ignorant of the movements of the general and of the enemy, I was wholly unacquainted with the locality. Could I have been aware, or have divined what had been subsequently learned, the information contained in the general's dispatches of 9.15 and of 4.15, I could have spared my troops the harassing skirmishes which ensued, and resting until afternoon could have taken a good part in last movement, but unfortunately I knew nothing.

Having sent a dispatch to inform you of my position, I ordered Generals Wise and Martin to clear the way from Bake-House Creek, which they were holding in my front. Martin, on the right, and Wise, on the left, moved up in the direction of the supposed line of the enemy, they slowly retiring until we occupied the ground near what is called the burnt house and the fields beyond. I had directed at the same time the cavalry under Colonel Taliaferro to go up the turnpike road and the right hand fork to see if he could find out anything. Here shortly an unfortunate occurrence took place, which much delayed me and increased my subsequent embarrassment. Being on the right of the line I was surprised to see the whole of General Wise's double line of skirmishes falling back at once, their right on the passes of Bake-House Creek and their left on the turnpike, the cavalry at the same time rapidly coming back down the turnpike. The report was rapidly spread that the enemy in heavy force was moving down the turnpike on our left and rear. I learned since that some one, I know not who, ordered the lines back, for I am satisfied these troops would never move back of their own accord. Considerable confusion was created, much increased by a severe and drenching rain which fell at the time. Martin's brigade remained in position, but his skirmishers were recalled. It was some time before the line could be reformed, and in the mean time the enemy, who were evidently in observation, advanced to near Bake-House Creek. He was forced to withdraw by artillery, and the line was again made.

By this time the afternoon was far advanced, and I was still without any tidings from the main battle, of which nothing could be heard. Reports commenced coming in which greatly embarrassed

17 R R-VOL XXXVI, PT II