by himself in front of Spring Hill, distant about 1,000 yards, and which he had intrenched at his own discretion, with a view to furnish a rallying point for his picket line. The enemy showed some evidence at one time of assaulting this intrenchment, but deemed it prudent to withdraw to long range, where they remained until after night. Early in the night the enemy commenced withdrawing, and the picket-line was re-established as they retired. Prisoners and deserters taken at the time and since show the movement to have been a reconnaissance in force of Field's and Hoke's divisions, supported by Kershaw's, the latter taking the ground previously held by Hoke, the design being, perhaps, to ascertain whether troops could be spared from their front, for which reason Kershaw was placed in a convenient position to move south on the return of Hoke to his lines.
The command behaved well throughout, and much credit is due Colonel West and his command for the part they took in detaining the enemy's advance.
The losses were small on our side, and are probably not much greater on the part of the enemy. The following summary show the losses in the several brigades:
Command. Killed. Wounded. Missing. Total.
First Brigade 5 16 17 38
Second Brigade 2 7 5 14
Third Brigade - - - -
Total 7 23 22 52
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
AUGUST V. KAUTZ,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Division.
Brigadier General JOHN W. TURNER,
Chief of Staff, Army of the James.
Numbers 336. Reports of Colonel Robert M. West, Fifth Pennsylvania Cavalry, commanding First Brigade, of operations October 7 and December 10.
SIR: I have the honor to submit herewith my report of the operations of this brigade in the action of the 7th instant on the Central, or Darbytown, road:
We had been apprised of the attack the night previous by the general commanding division, and were up early, expecting it. All was quiet during the early morning and until about 6.30 o'clock, when couriers from the outposts gave notice of the approach of the enemy, both by the Central road and from the Charles City road through a small road which debouches near Mr. Gerhardt's house onto the open field whereon was our position. The picket reserves harassed the advance of the enemy, fighting on foot in the woods, and, as I believe, deceived them as to the kind of troops they would encounter. The enemy consumed about one hour driving in our outposts, and deter-