to facilitate our march. I arrived at deep Bottom a short time in advance of my command and met General Sheridan, commanding the cavalry, at the headquarters of Brigadier-General Foster, tenth Corps, whose command held the bridge-heads on the north side of the James. My instructions were to move rapidly from Deep Bottom toward Chaffin's Bluff, and take up a position to prevent the enemy from crossing troops to the north side, and to hold the position while General Sheridan moved to the Virginia Central Railroad with two divisions of cavalry. Further than this my movements were to be contingent upon General Sheridan's success in operating toward Richmond. The success of this movement depended upon the contingency that the enemy's works would be thinly occupied, and the movement a surprise.
The information I derived from conversation with General Foster was briefly as follows: The upper and lower pontoon bridges were above and below Four-Mile Run, impassable near its mouth. The enemy held, apparently in considerable force, a strong position near the upper bridge, while their line appeared to terminate nearly opposite the lower bridge. The original plan was that the Second corps should cross the upper bridge while the cavalry was crossing the lower. After consulting with General Sheridan, however, and referring the matter to the major-general commanding for his approval, I determined to cross the infantry at the lower bridge and turn the enemy's position, while General Foster with his force threatened the enemy in his front. The cavalry was directed to cross the river immediately after the Second Corps; the infantry commenced crossing about 2 a. m. on the 27th, and was massed behind a belt of oak timber near the bridge. As soon as possible after daylight an advance was ordered, the First Division, Brigadier-General Barlow commanding, leading. At the same time a strong skirmish line from the Third Division was thrown out to our right to feel the woods bordering the New Market and Malvern Hill road, and one from general Gibbon's division in the timber along the bank of Four-Mile Run. The skirmish line of the Third Division from De Trobriand's brigade, consisting of the Ninety-ninth and One hundred and tenth Pennsylvania Volunteers, became sharply engaged and was re-enforced by the Seventy-third New York Volunteers. Meanwhile the skirmish line of Miles' brigade, of Barlow's division (composed of the One hundred and eighty-third Pennsylvania, Twenty-eighth Massachusetts, and Twenty-sixth Michigan Volunteers), under command of Colonel J. C. Lynch, One hundred and eighty-third Pennsylvania Volunteers, engaged the enemy farther to the left, driving him into the rifle-pits along the New Market and Malvern Hill road, and by a well executed movement captured four 20-pounder Parrot guns, with their caissons, and drove the enemy from their works. The skirmishers of General Foster's force at the bridge had joined in this advance. The enemy held this line weakly, and when broken retreated in such haste that few prisoners were taken. As rapidly as the troops could be brought forward in the country, about which we then knew nothing, they were pushed up the New Market and Malvern Hill road in pursuit of the enemy, the Second Division in advance. The enemy brought a battery out opposite General Mott on our extreme right, but it was soon driven off by the fire of our artillery and General Mott's skirmish line, and retreated by a cross-road to the New Market and Long Bridge road. When we arrived at Bailey's Creek the enemy were found posted on the opposite bank in well-constructed works, in a position offering great advantages for defense. Bailey's Creek is so much of an obstacle