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[68] pursued, and there were not a few who thought a demonstration directly on Richmond seriously intended. Five, six, and seven miles had passed; no enemy in sight and no Richmond in view. “Where are we going?” fled from mouth to mouth. Gradually but surely the division bore more and more to the right. Pocket-compasses were consulted, and the column was found to be heading now west, then north-west. Then came the responses, “ten,” “twelve,” and even “fourteen” miles to Richmond, as the wondering soldiers questioned the still more wondering inhabitants who crowded doors and windows to witness the passage of such a host. But few in the column, very few indeed, had any idea of the object or direction of the march. But no questions were asked. By ten o'clock the dismal, overhanging clouds had disappeared, and the moving column was sweltering in the rays of a sultry sun. Soon after the head of the column suddenly turned to the right, pursuing a course directly north. A battery was planted at the intersecting corner of the roads, a regiment detailed to support it, and the brigades again moved rapidly on.

A brief halt at the intersection gave time for a few questions. A pocket-map or two was consulted, and it was found that we were thirteen miles north of Richmond and five from Hanover Court-House, with the evident intention of moving on the latter place. The Virginia Central Railroad was here reported to be but a mile and a half west of us. The Twenty-second Massachusetts, Col. Gove, was ordered to strike the track, disable the road, and then march northward on it, joining the main body two or three miles above. The regiment obeyed, and as will subsequently be seen, did their work.

A brief allusion as to what we hoped to find at or near Hanover is proper here. As late as Sunday, the twenty-fifth instant, a strong brigade of rebels had been posted there, believed to be composed of six North-Carolina regiments, commanded by Lawrence O'Brien Branch, formerly member of Congress, but more latterly brigadier-general, with the smell of defeat upon his garments, he having encountered Burnside at Newbern in March last, the retreat from which, it will be seen, did not prove to be his last march. His regiments are: Seventh, Twelfth, Eighteenth, Twenty-eighth, Thirty-third, and Thirty-eighth North-Carolina State troops. Their strength is represented by members of the same to approach nearly to the maximum standard of one thousand men each. This force was certainly all at Hanover on Sunday. From secession, but reliable sources, we learn further that it was the intention of the enemy to reenforce the position strongly. By throwing a strong column between Hanover and Richmond, this force might be cut off, and possibly captured entire. This was our hope; now for the realization.

When the division reached a point possibly two miles north of the intersection of the roads, the advanced guard, composed of cavalry, the Twenty-fifth New-York infantry, Col. Johnson, and a section of artillery, the pickets of the enemy were discovered. The skirmishers opened fire, and the rebels slowly withdrew for a mile or so. They were rapidly pursued by the Twenty-fifth, who thus got some distance in advance of the main column, and even ahead of the protecting section of Benson's light battery, which was in front. Near the residence of Dr. Kinney, at the forks of the main road--one leading by the right hand to Richmond, and the other by the left hand, circuitously, to Mechanicsville — the rebels drew up in line of battle, in an open field, but behind a house and in support of two of their own fieldpieces, thus making a respectable show for a fight. Col. Johnson boldly pressed forward, and engaged them at close range, making hot work of it for both sides, for at least fifteen minutes before any supports arrived. The enemy were driven from behind their sheltering places, but suddenly a force of them appeared from the woods, on the right flank of the Twenty-fifth, and succeeded in capturing a part of company G, carrying them to their rear promptly as prisoners. Col. Johnson now anxiously looked for help, when a section of Marin's Massachusetts battery came up, followed by a couple of pieces from Griffin's regular battery, which soon fixed the earnest attention of the rebels who were firing grape and shell from their twelve-pound howitzers with great vigor. Here comes the surprise. From the cool and determined stand of the rebels, it was evident that they conceived the force in sight to be our total strength, and that it would,be an easy matter to repulse or capture it. But word had gone to Gen. Butterfield, who speedily ordered the Seventeenth New-York, Col. Lansing, and the Eighty-third Pennsylvania, Col. McLane, into the timber on the left of the road, to deploy, and come out well on the enemy's flank. With a burst of enthusiasm, in went both regiments, the Seventeenth covering the front with a strong line of skirmishers. In a trice they appeared in the wheat-field on the left, and with incredible rapidity formed line of battle, the Seventeenth coming up on the right with the regularity and coolness of a dressparade, supported by the Twelfth New-York, Col. Weeks, in column by division, while the Eighty-third took the left of the line, supported by the Sixteenth Michigan, Col. Stockton, in the same manner. The rebels at once perceived the vitality of this movement. They had not anticipated it. Surprised, then confused, a well-directed volley caused them first to waver, and then to fly with all the speed at their command, scattering, like a covey of partridges, in every direction. Another volley picked off most of their men at the guns, when forward went the Seventeenth with a yell, on the double-quick; the cannon were abandoned without even a spike, and the pursuit of the retreating enemy kept up for two and a half miles, to Hanover Court-House, before the regiments finally brought up. Prisoners at once began to be brought in. The men of the Seventeenth and Eighty-third regiments hunted them and dragged them from their hiding-places with great gusto; within an hour fifty to sixty had been brought

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