War of the Rebellion: Serial 080 Page 0627 Chapter LII. THE RICHMOND CAMPAIGN.

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defended by the militia of eight counties and a small force from Danville, our forces were not able to get closer then seventy or eighty yards to the bridge. After a determined effort, lasting till after dark, the attack was terminated and the troops directed to hold an advanced position, covering the road crossing at Roanoke Station. Simultaneously with Kautz's attack of the bride Lee's cavalry attacked our rear, under Chapman, but as usual was held in check without any serious difficulty or loss. Finding that the bridge could not be carried without severe loss, if at all, the enemy being again close upon our rear, the Staunton too deep for fording and unprovided with bridges or steam ferries, I determined to push no farther south, but to endeavor to reach the army by returning toward Petersburg. Our position, from the peculiar topography of the side, was rather dangerous, and in order to extricate the command it became necessary to move it by night by a road crossing the railroad running to the southeast along the foot of the bluff and within 500 or 600 yards of the enemy's guns. The march was therefore begun about midnight, McIntosh in advance, followed by the trains and Chapman's brigade, Kautz's division covering the movement. The following sketch will show the details of this as well as of the position and defenses of Roanoke bridge.*

The advance reached Wylliesburg by daylight on the morning of the 26th and halted. Two hours were allowed for the men to make coffee, and the march resumed through Christianville and Greensborough to the Buckhorn Creek, in Mecklenburg County, and camped for the night, or rather for four or five hours. Early the next morning the march was resumed, the column crossing the Meherrin at Saffold's Bridge and going thence east to Great Creek on the Boydton plank road. From this place it moved to Poplar Mountain, in Greensville Country, crossing the Nottoway at the Double Bridges near the mouth of Hardwood Creek. I arrived there about noon on the 28th, where I learned that the enemy had a small force of infantry at Stony Creek Depot, on the Weldon road, and two small detachments of cavalry which had been cut off from Lee's division when we marched southward. The most diligent inquiry from the negroes and captured pickets gave no information of any other force. This, together with the fact the road from Double Bridges to Prince George Court-House passes two miles to the westward of Stony Creek Depot, induced me to take that route, and accordingly the advance was pushed forward with the utmost rapidity with orders to drive in the reserve picket at the crossing of the road just mentioned, and the one from Stony Creek Depot to Dinwiddie Court-House, and clear the road for the main column. This order was handsomely executed under the directions of Captain Whitaker, of my staff, and state of affairs found to be nearly as represented. Shortly after the rebel picket had been driven in our advance was attacked by a strong force of dismounted cavalry and driven back. Colonel McIntosh immediately deployed the First Brigade, Third Division, and in turn pressed the enemy back to the position near an old church. In accomplishing this a few prisoners were taken, from whom we learned that the advance of a part of Hampton's cavalry had just arrived from Richmond. Although it was then night a fierce fight ensued, lasting to nearly 10 o'clock, the enemy making several determined attacks but gaining no ground. It was at once apparent that the prospect of penetrating their line at this place was by no means flattering and that a new route must be chosen. Directing Colonel McIntosh, with the Third Division to cover the road upon which he was, I ordered Kautz, with his division


*See p.631.