War of the Rebellion: Serial 087 Page 0296 OPERATIONS IN SE.VA. AND N.C. Chapter LIV.

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ant Beck's battery in rear, whit two of Rugg's regiments as rear guard. I reached the cross-roads at Dabney's Mill at 9.15 a.m. Here my skirmishers captured Major Venable, formerly inspector-general of Stuart's cavalry, and now adjutant-general (it is thought) of Hampton's division. He would give no information. Major-General Mott reached the mill at 9.45 a.m., having moved on a road to my left. I then moved forward on the plantation road and reached the Boydton plank road in an open field at about 10.30 a.m. The enemy's cavalry were preparing to receive me at some distance up the Boydton road. I at once sent out as skirmishers the Nineteenth and Twentieth Massachusetts Regiments, under Captain A. Henry Embler, acting assistant adjutant-general. Captain Embler advanced on the right of the Boydton road and felt the enemy. By the personal order of Major-General Hancock I then moved Lieutenant-Colonel Rugg's brigade across the Boydton road, and deployed it with his right resting on the road. I deployed Colonel Willett's brigade in the open field on the right of the Boydton road, his left on the road, and moved him forward to the support of Captain Embler's skirmishers, until his left connected with Lieutenant-Colonel Rugg's right. While placing my command the enemy planted several batteries on my front, flanks, and rear, and opened with case-shot. These batteries were all about 800 yards distant. The battery in my front occupied the ridge near the Burgess house (or tavern), at the junction of the White Oak and Boydton roads; that upon my right occupied the high ground near Hatcher's Run; that upon my left was between Hatcher's Run and White Oak road, and that in my rear on or near the Boydton road, in rear of the house used as a field hospital. Lieutenant Beck went into position at the junction of the plantation and Boydton roads, and silenced all of these batteries immediately, forcing them all the change position. During the artillery firing, by order of Major-General Hancock in person, I ordered General Smyth to deploy his command, facing my left and rear, where he remained until General Mott's column came up. I then moved General Smyth forward across the plantation road on the right of the Boydton road, and placed him in the open field on the right of and on the prolongation of Colonel Rugg's line. This was at about 11.30 a.m. At the time of Smyth's advance I ordered Willett (who it will be remembered had been connecting with Rugg's right) to advance and carry the enemy's position on the hill crest near the Burgess house. Accordingly, Captain Embler, acting assistant adjutant-general, advanced with his skirmishers on a run, riding in advance, Colonel Willett charging in support. The enemy's skirmishers were driven across a swampy ravine and small stream. Reforming immediately under the slope beyond, Colonel Willett again charged, with Captain Embler in advance, and drove the enemy's main body, gaining his position on the crest near the Burgess house, and forcing a barricade on the Boydton road. This barricade on the Boydton road. This barricade was erected at a toll-gate, but the Virginia highway regulations were not observed.

Colonel Willett reformed beyond the Burgess house, his left resting just across the Boydton road to the left. The Sixty-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers, deployed as skirmishers, in connection with Captain Embler's left, advanced simultaneously with him. This being done, Lieutenant-Colonel Rugg's brigade was moved up the Boydton road and formed on Colonel Willett's left, Lieutenant-Colonel Rugg's left resting on a ravine and swamp at a point of woods. General Smyth was then moved to Colonel Willett's right,prolonging his line. One section of Lieutenant Beck's battery was placed in the corn-field at the