After the column had passed, instead of a brigade of cavalry, which it was expected would constitute the rear guard, it was discovered that a large part of the brigade had followed General Burnside's column, leaving but a regiment to follow us. The regiment (the Twenty-second New York) has evidently been but a short time in the service. The officer in command, Major [McLennan], received detailed instructions in regard to his movements and the disposition of his forces. The rear of the column of infantry had proceeded but a short distance when it was attacked by a few skirmishers, who appeared in the woods on the right of the Brock road. Skirmishers had scarcely been thrown out and the attack repulsed before a portion of the cavalry mentioned above came down in disgraceful confusion, without any apparent cause, no firing having been heard and no considerable force seen at any other point. It is believed that most of the horses of the men who had been dismounted were captured or abandoned without any sufficient cause. The officer in charge of the regiment displayed a want of energy and skill in all his movements, which augur ill for the good of the service. The service is indebted to Colonel Egan, of the Fortieth New York Regiment, and Lieutenant-Colonel Stricker, of the Second Delaware Regiment, for the zeal and energy they displayed in assembling the pickets of their division and in repulsing the attack of the enemy upon our rear.
I have the honor to be, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAMES A. BEAVER,
Colonel 148th Pennsylvania Volunteers.
HDQRS. ARTILLERY BRIGADE, SECOND CORPS, May 8, 1864-10.30 p.m.
GENERAL: General Hancock has directed me to call on you for a detail of 500 men for an intrenching party, to bring what tools you have-any deficiency will be supplied; to report to me immediately in front of General Hancock's headquarters, near the batteries.
JNO. C. TIDBALL,
Colonel and Chief of Artillery.
MAY 8, 1864-5 a.m.
Chief of Staff:
GENERAL: The head of my column reached General Merritt's headquarters at 3.30 a.m. I have word that the rear of it got off about 12.30, the delay being caused by the halt at the head of the column from obstruction. I found General Merritt at 3 a.m. just starting out with an order from General Meade to push on and clear away the road. I have had my troops closing in masses as fast as possible ever since, and they drop to sleep as soon as halted. General Merritt has for some time been skirmishing, and his column near me is advancing. I do not know the result in front. He will