War of the Rebellion: Serial 070 Page 0142 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XLIX.

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and attack the enemy vigorously. I proceeded at once, moving my command in three columns, Colonel Taylor's brigade marching on the right of the road, Lieutenant Atkinson's section of horse artillery, supported by one regiment of cavalry, on the road, and Colonel Wynkoop's brigade on the left. A line of skirmishers was kept up on the front and flanks of the column. Upon moving forward my skirmishers encountered the enemy, drove them back for two miles, until they sought refuge in their fortifications, beyond Blackwater bridge and within two miles of the city. Arriving at this place, my whole command was disposed in order of battle, and moved up to within less than half a mile of their fortifications, when my skirmishers came to the banks of the Blackwater, a deep a narrow stream with precipitous banks and swampy approaches. There was but one road by which a force could cross the stream, and this road was commanded by two of their strongest fortifications. The enemy were strongly posted on the opposite bank of the Blackwater, while they opened a heavy artillery fire upon my cavalry from their fortifications. I immediately ordered Lieutenant Atkinson to place his section of artillery in position. This he did, and poured such a destructive fire into the enemy's works commanding the bridge over the river as to silence their guns twice in succession. Simultaneously with this, I ordered a general advance of the line of skirmishers. The First New York (Lincoln) Cavalry, on the left of the line, was ordered to move briskly forward and drive back the enemy, which they did, crossing the stream; at the same time two squadrons of the Twentieth Pennsylvania Cavalry were ordered to charge the bridge. Attempting this, they were repulsed by a heavy fire from the enemy's infantry, which lay concealed beyond the bridge, while the enemy's guns again opened from all their works. On this night the Fifteenth New York Cavalry was ordered to make a demonstration upon the rebel works, but were repulsed by a large force of rebel infantry which lay concealed in the woods. These several demonstrations against the enemy by my right, left, and center developed the fact that the enemy were strongly posted, and in numbers much superior to my own. At the same time a heavy cloud of dust was observed on the left of my position, and careful observations discovered a considerable force of rebel cavalry moving in this direction. Colonel Wynkoop was ordered to send two squadrons from his command to hold them in check. This was successful, and the rebel cavalry were soon seen retreating toward the town. Subsequently, finding the enemy lapping around my right, I threw one regiment of cavalry from Taylor's brigade to the right to drive them back. This was accomplished. During the whole afternoon my whole line was constantly and warmly engaged with the enemy. At about 5 p.m. [he] opened along his whole line with artillery and small-arms, compelling my skirmishers to retire to the other bank of the river. From my position on the field I could see numerous re-enforcements marching down the hill from the city, and could hear the whistle of the cars as they came in and the playing of bands of music. This led me to the belief that large bodies of re-enforcements were arriving and being thrown into my front. About 7 p.m. an officer of General Averell's staff came to me upon the field and directed me to make a general advance of my line, stating that a brigade from General Crook's infantry division would come to my assistance on the right. A few moments afterward an