War of the Rebellion: Serial 069 Page 0049 Chapter XLVIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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over the river by Torbert left their tools in a rifle-pit near the bridge at which they were working. I do not anticipate any serious obstacle, at least until out troops get in position. I send and newspaper of the 20th.


Major-General of Volunteers.


May 21, 1864-2.30 p. m.


Assistant Adjutant-General, Army of the Potomac:

GENERAL: The bridge over the Mattapony was preserved by our cavalry, although a good many plank were taken up. The bridge, however, has been repaired. The march has been very trying upon the troops, up all night, and to-day, very hot. Torbert sent cavalry to Burke's and to Bethel Church. I have sent out cavalry to connect with them, watching the road passing in my front. All my troops except Birney are on the other side, and he will be there shortly. I shall pass over everything and leave Torbert to guard the rear. If the enemy passes in my front within sight, I shall attack him.


Major-General of Volunteers.


Coates' House, near Milford, May 21, 1864-6.15 p. m.

(Received 4 a. m. 22nd.)

Brigadier General S. WILLIAMS,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Army of the Potomac:

GENERAL: As one of my couriers has been captured to-day, and several others with dispatches have been turned back, and as the parties sent from here report seeing your orderlies fired on when coming this way, I have directed General Torbert to send a fore of cavalry to open communication, and send herewith a brief sketch of the dispatches that have failed to reach you.

At 9.45 General Torbert reported that he had driven the enemy across the Mattapony at Milford. This fore consisted of the Seventh and Eleventh Virginia Regiments, Kemper's old brigade, of Pickett's division, which has just come up (say last evening) from Plymouth, N. C., and Fort Darling. About 100 of them were on the left bank in rifle-pits; of these, 67 privates are captured and 7 commissioned officers.

General Torbert did not feel justified in attempting a crossing with cavalry, as the south side is densely wooded. The infantry was, therefore, thrown across, and advancing rapidly, gave the enemy only time to escape from the rifle-pits they were digging, leaving their entrenching tools. The bridge was saved. Some of the planks had to be replaced. At 12 m. Barlow's division was across and Gibsons' was closely following. A pretty god position was at once secured about 1 1\2 miles from the river, and it is being entrenched. I am now all over the river with my bridge train and wagon train. One regiment holds the north bank of the river at the bridge. General Torbert sent cavalry in the direction of Burke's and Bethel