plan, and disclose the sham we were attempting to impose on the enemy.
Thus things continued till the third or fourth day, when a reconnoissance in force, preceded by a line of skirmishers, issued from the Federal
lines, and advanced on the Petersburg
I was informed at that time by a gentleman, a resident of the neighborhood, that some colored troops had visited in the vicinity of their camp, and had been told by the negroes of the insignificant nature of my force, and the true condition of affairs, and this reconnoissance had been sent to find out the truth.
My men had been broken into several small parties, and scattered along the enemy's front.
With one of them I fell back before the skirmishers until we reached the point at which the railway and the highway crossed.
There I halted my party and allowed the skirmishers to approach near, the consequence of which was that my horse was fatally wounded in the head.
But I was soon mounted on another and resumed the retreat.
While we were passing through a body of woods, or rather as we were emerging from it, it was discovered that a detachment of cavalry had been thrown in advance of the skirmishers, and were making a dash at us. A hot chase ensued, but we passed safely into the Southern
lines, which had been established at no great distance ahead of us. A round of our musketry emptied several saddles, and compelled a disorderly retreat.
My little command never reassembled, but the object had been achieved.
When I went to report to General Pickett
he received me cordially, and was well pleased with his game of bluff with General Butler
But for this bold conception of Pickett
would have been occupied, Richmond
isolated, the catastrophe accelerated, and General Butler
would have been the hero of the war. It was his object to cut the railroad, as was proved by his attack at Port Walthall Junction, where he was repulsed by the gallant Haygood
, as well as by the unsuccessful attempt of Cantz's Cavalry Division to the south of the town.
Had General Butler
been informed of the condition of things, a richer prize was within his grasp, and fair Petersburg
, like another Helen, would have yielded herself his captive.
This was my only contact with Pickett
's men during the bloody war. Soon after I was ordered to take command of the troops stationed for the defense of the High Bridge