War of the Rebellion: Serial 087 Page 0822 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LIV.

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attacked the main reserve of the First District of Columbia Cavalry, at the church, whilst General Butler, with his division, came in on the extreme left at Cocke's Mill. The only defense of note was made by Major Baker, at Sycamore Church, which, according to prisoners' statements, was very gallant and inflicted considerable loss upon the enemy. The force, however, was overpowering, and not to be resisted by so small a force, so much exposed as the line held rendered unavoidable. Lee's advance penetrated to Prince George Court-House, where the Third New York Cavalry had been fortunately placed in reserve. This regiment drove the enemy back to the vicinity of Green's house, where they opened on Colonel Jacobs with two pieces of artillery. At this point the enemy threw up an intrenchment, near 1,000 yards in length, of earth and trees newly felled. About 9 o'clock the enemy retreated, having evidently accomplished the object of their expedition, which seems to have been the capture of the cattle herd. The corral for this herd, said to number about 2,400, seems unfortunately to have been placed very near the church, and visible for some distance from prominent points beyond the picket-line. According to Captain Speers' statement, no effort was made by the cattle guard to let the cattle out or to stampede them, which would have materially interfered with their capture by the enemy, and there seemed to have been quite time nought to have done so. It was 10 o'clock before I could get force sufficient together to pursue the enemy and try to annoy their rear, as directed by the general commanding the cavalry. The enemy retreated on several roads, but united at Cook's Bridges on the Blackwater. I followed on the road leading south from Sycamore Church. At Cook's Bridges, which were burned some time since, I was delayed, replacing the corduroy which the enemy had torn up after crossing. Here a small rear guard of the enemy was driven away. About 10 p.m. we came upon the enemy near the Jerusalem plank road, near Hawkinsville. After skirmishing for some time and finding the enemy in force I fell back a short distance and waited for daylight.

At daylight I sent a party to the plank road and ascertained that the enemy had left, and also that General Gregg's forces, which had been on the road above, had fallen back in the night toward Petersburg. The command, having been hastily turned out to repel an attack, was not prepared for so long a march, and I thought it prudent to return, as my command consisted only of detachments of the Eleventh Pennsylvania Cavalry and the Third New York, and did not exceed in all over 500 men, and about half the number were without carbines. I returned by Gee's house and Baxter's Mills, being a more direct route. I sent a small force by the route we came to pick up any stray cattle or stragglers of the enemy. Of the latter we picked up several on the day previous.

Lieutenant-Colonel Jacobs, who had the advance with the Third New York Cavalry, managed his regiment well, and claims that he inflicted some loss on the enemy in the night without any loss on his part. No written report has yet been received from Captain Speers, the present commander of the First District of Columbia Cavalry.

The greater portion of the officers of the regiment was captured, together with their company papers, which will render the transfer of the officers and men of this regiment to the First Maine, as ordered by the War Department, somewhat troublesome.