War of the Rebellion: Serial 087 Page 0945 Chapter LIV. THE RICHMOND CAMPAIGN.

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enemy and to force his lines at some point. I selected Sycamore Church, in Prince George County, as the point to attack, as being the most centra, the nearest to the cattle, and the one where the largest force of the enemy was camped. By dispersing them here I made it impossible for them to concentrate any force in time of interfere with the main object of the expedition. The command left Wilkinson's Bridge at an early hour on the 15th, and by a rapid march placed itself on the Blackwater at Cook's Bridge. This bridge had been destroyed, as I was aware, and I chose that route on that account, as the enemy would not look for an approach from that quarter. The command was halted here to rest and feed, whilst the engineer party constructed a new bridge. This was accomplished before night, and a part of the command crossed the Blackwater. All my dispositions for the attack having been made and communicated to the commanding officers the command moved at 12 a. m. General Lee was directed to move by the Lawyer's road to the stage road, at which point he would encounter the first pickets of the enemy. These he was to drive in, and to move, then, to occupy the roads leading from the direction of the enemy to Sycamore Church. General Dearing was instructed to proceed by the Hines road to Cocke's Mill, where he was to halt until the attack on the center was made, when he was to dash across to the Minger's Ferry road, attacking the post on that road and cutting off all retreat, guarding at the same time against an attack from Fort Powhatan. With Rosser's brigade and the detachment under Colonel Miller, I moved on by-roads direct toward Sycamore Church. General Rosser was charges weigh the duty of carrying the position of the enemy here, and he was directed after accomplishing this to push forward at once to secure the cattle. The three columns all reached the points to which they were ordered without giving the alarm to the enemy, and at 5 a. m. on the 16th Rosser made the attack. The enemy had a strong position, and the approaches to it being barricaded he had time to rally in the roads around his camp, where for some time he fought as stubbornly as I have ever seen him do. But the determination and gallantry of Rosser's men proved too much for him and he was completely routed, leaving his dead and wounded on the field and his camp in our hands. I beg to refer to the report of Brigadier-General Rosser for the particulars of the affair here and of the subsequent capture of the cattle. As soon as the attack was made at the church, General Lee, on the left, and General Dearing, on the right, attacked the enemy most successfully, and established themselves rapidly and firmly at the points they were ordered to secure. The reports* of these officers are inclosed for the information of the general commanding. The object of the expedition having been attained by the capture of the whole herd of cattle (2,486, by official return of the officer charged with the care of them), I withdrew everything before 8 a. m. The different columns were until before reaching the Blackwater, and all dispositions made to protect our captured property. Rosser was sent forward to hold the plank road, followed by General Dearing and Colonel Miller, whilst General Lee brought up the rear. After seeing everything across the Blackwater I moved toward the plank road, but before reaching it was notified by General Rosser of the approach of a heavy force of the enemy down that road. I ordered him to take position at Ebenezer Church, to hold the road there, and at once sent the cattle by Hawkinsville, crossing the plank road two

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* Not found.

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60 R R - VOL XLII, PT I