Doc. 35.-Colonel Spear's expedition.
in the field, White House, Virginia, Sunday Night, June 28, 1863.This (Sunday) morning Colonel Spear returned to White House after a most brilliant, dashing, and successful cavalry exploit. On Thursday last, the twenty-fifth instant, Colonel Spear, commanding the Eleventh Pennsylvania cavalry, accompanied by a detachment of two companies of the Second Massachusetts, and two companies of the Twelfth Illinois, left White House, on the Pamunkey River — the whole comprising a force one thousand strong. The undertaking had for its object spoliation, destruction of property, and the discomfiture of all rebels whom they might meet in the direction of richmond, added to the obtaining of all the information of the number of the forces at present in and around the so-called confederate capital. At about ten o'clock Thursday A. M., the twenty-fifth, the expedition took up its line of march in the direction of Tunstall Station, a squad of the Second Massachusetts cavalry acting as the advance-guard. As there was nothing to be accomplished at Tunstall Station, a movement on Barrett, a point ten miles from Richmond, was made, where the forces encamped for the night. At daylight the next morning the expedition moved with the utmost celerity to Hanover Court-House, a distance of twenty-four miles from White House, and a point directly north of Rich  reaching there at nine o'clock in the morning. Just here “the plot thickened” in an admirable and spirited charge made by a squad of the Second Massachusetts and company A of the Eleventh Pennsylvania, under command of Captain Ringland, Lieutenants Barkely and Blake, with Lieutenant Titus in the somewhat anomalous, though useful capacity of acting aid. The charge was made upon the adjacent station and was successful, resulting in its capture, together with a train of one hundred wagons and the destruction of the telegraph line. From this point a movement having in view the destruction of an important bridge on the Pamunkey, and in which company A, Spear's cavalry, (Eleventh Pennsylvania,) held the advance, was made. When within a mile of the bridge, Lieutenant F. A. Blake, with his extreme advance, charged upon and captured the advance picket of the enemy, consisting of a lieutenant, whose name is not known, and six men. On moving further down the river, the rebels showing themselves in considerable force, Colonel Spear ordered the Second Massachusetts riflemen to dismount, and companies A and G of his regiment to move forward in support of a couple of Eleventh Pennsylvania howitzers. Sharp and decisive firing caused the enemy, who appeared to be about three hundred strong, to retreat in “skedaddling” confusion. As they did so, our troops occupied a blockhouse and several lines of earthworks running close to the bridge, and on both sides of the railroad track. At this time the carabineers of the Second Massachusetts, and a few men of Colonel Spear's command, with howitzers, moved down to the edge of the river, and engaged the enemy with great sharpness. Lieutenant Blake, with his advanced-guard, proceeding further down the river, discovered a ford about half a mile below the bridge. On reporting this fact to Colonel Spear, he immediately ordered companies A and G of his command to cross and attack the enemy in the rear, which they did. Upon charging the earthworks, these companies were temporarily repulsed and driven back a short distance, where — on Colonel Spear instantly ordered companies E and M to move up in reenforcement. Under command of Major Stratton, who ordered line of battle to be formed on two sides of the enemy's works, at the same time directing Lieutenant Hope, of company E, to take a few dismounted carabineers, and moving along the river bank, attack the enemy on the river flank. So soon as these preliminary arrangements were completed, Major Stratton ordered Captain Skelly to charge the enemy's works with his command. This feature of the reconnoissance was one of the most creditable of any similar one since the inauguration of hostilities. It was, indeed, gallantly done. The carabineers at the same time charged the block-house from the river side, under the auspices of Colonel Spear. Lieutenant Roper, Adjutant Menzies, Captain Roberts, and several other officers were with the carabineers. The struggle here was intense in its character, being a terrific hand-to-hand conflict. Victory crowned our side. In this attack First Sergeant McFarlane, of company B, Eleventh Pennsylvania cavalry, fell while gallantly fighting, pierced through the heart by a hostile bayonet. Sergeant McFarlane was ever brave, ever dutiful, and ever ready to die for his country. His name must be added to the long list of the Union heroes who have nobly sacrificed their lives for their country. The conflict lasted about ten minutes, and in it several lives were lost. The enemy lost nine killed and twenty wounded. I may not omit to mention that Captain Ringland's company made a charge in support of Skelly, and that during the fight a charge was made upon a line of skirmishers in rear of the Union line of battle, who were commanded by Lieutenant Blake, by the enemy's cavalry, who were most successfully repulsed. The result of this feature of the reconnoissance was the undisputed possession of the bridge, and the capture of a lieutenant-colonel, six officers, and one hundred and thirty prisoners of war, who were sent down the river to-day. The bridge and block-house were burned, the track torn up, and several culverts destroyed. After this our forces fell back to Hanover Court-House, where Major Wetherell, of Colonel Spear's command, had been left to destroy the trains and culverts at the station, which he accomplished. It was here that Brigadier-General William H. Lee, (not General Fitz-Hugh Lee,) a nephew of the rebel Lee, Commander-in-Chief of the traitors, and who was wounded at Beverly Ford, was found recruiting at the farmhouse of a widow. He was, however, in a condition admitting of removal, and was taken by order of Colonel Spear. Our forces continued moving down the river, crossing about six miles below Hanover Court-House, encamping for the night on a rebel farm. On the morning of the twenty-eighth the troops reached White House by way of King William Court-House. In addition to the results already stated, the troops captured forty good army wagons, and upward of four hundred mules and horses. Throughout the expedition our scouting parties were frequently fired on by the enemy hanging on our flanks, doing no other damage, however, than the capturing of one private.