to the brigade and division commanders, on account of their familiarity with the roads, water-courses, and points suitable for camping.
When the army reached Culpepper county it was reported that the enemy, under General Sumner
, had advanced as far as Warrenton Junction. General Stuart
ordered a detail of ten of the Black Horse
to change overcoats with the Governor
's Guard, theirs being of a dark hue, and recrossing the Rappahannock
to report the movements of the enemy.
This detail did not rejoin the command until the march from Richmond
to the Peninsula
The Fourth Virginia Cavalry was kept behind the earthworks, extending from Yorktown
to James river
, until General Johnston
began to withdraw his forces.
The regiment was then sent to Yorktown
, and brought up the Confederate
rear from that point of our lines.
As soon as McClellan
discovered that the rifle-pits in his front had been vacated, he pressed forward and overtook the Fourth Regiment about a mile and a half before it reached Fort Magruder.
On this ground, the next day, the principal part of the battle of Williamsburg
was fought-one of the best contested of the war, the number of troops on the Confederate
side being taken into account.
The Fourth halted and then slowly fell back, passing Fort Magruder.
The Federals followed, and when they reached the edge of the woods, ran out Gibson
's Battery — to engage a Confederate battery in the fort.
At the same time a company of the Richmond Howitzers
, stationed on elevated ground on the opposite side of the road, also engaged the Federal
battery, and a brisk cannonade was exchanged.
, who occupied a favorable position for observation, discovered that Gibson
's Battery was worsted in the encounter and ordered the Fourth Virginia to charge.
The regiment was already stripped for the fight, and passing Fort Magruder in a rapid charge, captured the Federal
Leaving a few men to take care of the capture, the regiment proceeded by that road into a dense wood, the land on either side of it being too miry for the operations of cavalry.
At about two hundred yards after entering the woods, where the road made a sudden turn, the regiment ran upon a large body of opposing cavalry, when Colonel Wickham
ordered it to fall back to the edge of the woods.
In the execution of this movement Colonel Wickham
was pierced by a sabre, and a color-bearer had his flag wrenched from his hands.
, being disabled from his wound, relinquished the command of the regiment to Major Payne
Toward nightfall the command was moved back to Williamsburg
, and camped for the night.
The next day the Fourth Virginia occupied in the line of