sharpshooters brought up the rear of the latter, engaging in quite a number of unrecorded actions, gaining high credit for fighting, and occasionally rewarded by a good bit of plunder.
After General Grant
's failure to break our front at Cold Harbor, he suddenly decamped, bag and baggage, for the south side of James river
, masking his movement by covering his front with strong bodies of cavalry, supported by detached infantry.
These covering troops were encountered at Riddle
's shop, half way between Cold Harbor and the river, in such heavy force as to induce General Lee
to suspend the movement then in progress of transferring Hill
's Corps across the James
In leaving Cold Harbor, the sharpshooters were left on the picket line, and were not ordered to follow until ten A. M. Another delay resulted from the rifling of a bee-tree; and, before reaching Riddle
's shop, the dropping fire notified the rear guard that the armies were at it again.
At this point General Lee
and his staff rode by rapidly to the front, hurrying as they did so the forward movement of the battalion.
When we arrived on the ground we found that details from the brigade were already engaged with dismounted cavalry in front, with but poor success; while the advance of the whole corps was suspended till the force in front could be developed.
We were at once put in, and the three battalions detailed from Wilcox
's Division were ordered to support us. As we had to move across an open field, the officer commanding the details flatly refused to go; and the commandant in charge, rightly judging that it was better to proceed alone than to depend on troops who would hang back, promptly decided to do without these supports, and ordered them back to the line, where they went with great cheerfulness.
The word was then passed that both General Lee
and General Hill
would view the advance, and at the command “Forward!”
a charge was made that swept the enemy from the field, disclosed his designs, and resulted in hurrying Hill
's Corps forward to Petersburg
, where its presence was greatly needed.
was reached, the command was placed well on the right of the line, and the duties that developed upon the sharpshooters were, in consequence, very light.
The men became fat and lazy on the accumulated captures of previous campaigns, and nothing more serious was attempted while the days dreamily glided by than an occasional “blockade” escapade into the city.
This halcyon period was rudely disturbed by the combat of the 22d of June, on the line of the Petersburg and Weldon Railroad.
This affair, brilliant in all respects to the Confederate
cause, has been noticed so slightly heretofore that the