enemy's line, and sent a request to Anderson to advance a division along the road to Old Church and take the enemy in the flank, and when I supposed he was advancing I sent forward two brigades with the intention of supporting they by the other troops, including Gordon's division, which had come. The enemy was found in heavy force, intrenched, and was also extending rapidly to my right. Pegram's brigade was compelled to retire, sustaining considerable loss, and hearing nothing from Anderson I desisted from the effort to break the enemy's line, as it was evident it would be attended with considerable loss and the attack had to be made under great disadvantages. I have maintained the position gained until after dark, but am now withdrawing to connect with Anderson's right, forming a line across the Mechanicsville road by Mrs. Dickinson's house and Johnson's. Only one division will be in line, and the rest in the rear, the whole corps being south of Beaver Dam. The enemy is evidently in heavy force along the ridge on which the road from Hundley's Corner to Old Church runs. Prisoners (of which we have about 100) were taken from the Fifth and Second Corps, and I am told there are more from the Ninth Corps, but of this I am not certain. I regret to say that Colonel Willis is very severely wounded and Colonel Terrill killed or in the hands of the enemy wounded. My loss, except in Pegram's brigade, is small. I send lettertler.* My headquarters will be on the Mechanicsville road near the troops.
J. A. EARLY,
General R. E. LEE,
Commanding Army of Northern Virginia.
JUNE 3,[1864.]-8.30 p. M.
GENERAL: The enemy has made five or six assaults on us to-day, all of which have been repulsed with slight loss to us and I hope heavy loss to the enemy. He is strongly posted at Bethesda Church, and in the country between the [road] running by it and the road from Hundley's Corner to Raleigh's. My left (Heth's) has nothing to rest upon, and is exposed to flank movements, and as I have nothing whatever in reserve, I cannot now move with advantage on the enemy's flank, and as the enemy moves farther to our right we would be too far off to reach the right, I intend withdrawing back to the old line of breast-works, leaving Ransom and Gordon on the south side of Beaver Dam, and putting Rodes across the road at Hundley's Corner, leaving Heth to rejoin his corps. This is, according to my judgment, the best thing to be done under present circumstances. Hampton has not communicated with me since he started out. Some shells were thrown into Heth's rear from the direction of Haw's, evidently from a cavalry command, and a small body of cavalry appeared on the left, in the direction of Haw's Shop. But I have a suspicion that the cavalry may have been Hampton's The pickets that were out ran in without ascertaining, and I would not be surprised if the shells were also thrown by Hampton's command. If, however, it was Yankee cavalry there is a stronger reason for my withdrawing. My headquarters will be at Mr. Hunter's where I saw you yesterday, or on the Mechanicsville road near the lane