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an attack he was about to make. When the head of my column arrived at Nolensville I began massing my troops on the right of the road, and by the time this formation was nearly completed Davis advanced, but not meeting with sufficient resistance to demand active assistance from me, he with his own command carried the hills, capturing one piece of artillery. This position of the Confederates was a strong one, defending Knob's Gap, through which the Nolensville and Triune pike passed. On the 27th Johnson's division, followed by mine, advanced to Triune, and engaged in a severe skirmish near that place, but my troops were not called into action, the stand made by the enemy being only for the purpose of gaining time to draw in his outlying troops, which done, be retired toward Murfreesboroa. I remained inactive at Triune during the 28th, but early on the 29th moved out by the Bole Jack road to the support of Davis in his advance to Stewart's Creek, and encamped at Wilkinson's crossroad
e could not get the trains up to the pontoon-bridge, for of course Hampton would now throw all his cavalry in my front, on the river road, where it could be backed up by Lee's infantry. Meanwhile, General Meade had become assured of the same thing, and as he was now growing anxious about the fate of Wilson's division-which, during my absence, had been sent out to break the enemy's communications south of Petersburg, by destroying the Southside and Danville railroads-he sent ferryboats to cross me over the James. During the night of the 24th, and next morning, the immense train — which ought never to have been left for the cavalry to escort, after a fatiguing expedition of three weeks--was moved back through Charles City Court House to Douthard's landing, and there ferried over the river, followed by my troops in like manner. When General Hampton discovered this, he moved to Drury's Bluff, and there, on the morning of the 27th, crossed the James by the Confederate pontoon-bridge.
gained, I was to cut loose and damage Lee's communications with the Shenandoah Valley in such manner as best suited the conditions, but my return was not to be jeopardized nor long delayed. This necessitated that Hancock's line should extend to Bottom's bridge on the Chickahominy. The enemy's early discovery of the movement and his concentration of troops on the north side prevented Hancock from accomplishing the programme laid out for him. Its impracticability was demonstrated early on the 27th, and Hancock's soldierly instincts told him this the moment he unexpectedly discovered Kershaw blocking the New Market and Charles City roads. To Hancock the temptation to assault Kershaw's position was strong indeed, but if he carried it there would still remain the dubious problem of holding the line necessary for my safe return, so with rare judgment he desisted, zealously turning to the alternative proposition — the assault on Petersburg — for more significant results. This was the only
ade by raiders from Black Kettle's village of Cheyennes, and by some Arapahoes, led into the valley of the Washita, and growing fresher as the night wore on, finally brought the Osages upon a campfire, still smoldering, which, it was concluded, had been built by the Indian boys acting as herders of the ponies during the previous day. It was evident, then, that the village could be but a few miles off; hence the pursuit was continued with redoubled caution until, a few hours before dawn on the 27th, as the leading scouts peered over a rise on the line of march, they discovered a large body of animals in the valley below. As soon as they reported this discovery, Custer determined to acquaint himself with the situation by making a reconnoissance in person, accompanied by his principal officers. So, sending back word to halt the cavalry, he directed the officers to ride forward with him; then dismounting, the entire party crept cautiously to a high point which overlooked the valley, a