Richmond Dispatch account.
It being determined upon to penetrate the enemy's lines, and make a full and thorough reconnoissance of their position and strength, Gen. J. E. B. Stuart
ordered the First, (Col. Fitz-Hugh Lee
,) Ninth, (Col. F. H. Fitz-Hugh Lee
,) and Fourth Virginia cavalry, (Lieut. Gardiner
commanding,) to hold themselves in readiness.
these regiments however, did not turn out more than half their usual strength, the Fourth not having more than four companies in the field.
The Jeff Davis
troop were also incorporated in the detail, as also two pieces of Stuart
's flying artillery--a twelve-pound howitzer and a six-pound English rifle piece — the whole force not numbering more than one thousand four hundred men, if even the total reached that number.
On Thursday, at dawn, this column proceeded down the Charlottesville (Brook Church) turnpike, and had gone some distance without molestation, when the vanguard overtook, some eight or ten adventurous negroes journeying rapidly towards the Federal
These runaways were secured and sent to the rear, and as night was drawing near, pickets and videttes were placed, and the column camped for the night near Ashland
, it being considered imprudent to progress further.
Towards the morning signal-rockets were fired, and answered by our troops at the lines far to the rear, and as soon as day broke the column proceeded on its march.
Carefully and cautiously journeying, the Federal
lines were penetrated, when horse-pickets discovering our videttes advancing, the videttes hastily retired, according to orders, upon the main body concealed by woods in a turn in the road.
Being near Hanover Court-House, the Federals
were wont to proceed thither daily for forage, as a captured picket informed the men, but on this occasion had orders to proceed as far as possible toward Richmond
It being thought possible to capture the whole detachment, dispositions were accordingly made, but upon the appearance of the second squadron of the Ninth, (composed of the Caroline dragoons, Capt. Swan
, and Lee
's light horse, Lieut. Hungerford
commanding,) under command of Capt. Swan
, the enemy's outpost hastily galloped back, and their main body took to flight, Capt. Swan
's squadron dashing after them down the road, making a splendid race of two miles at a killing pace.
Having proceeded thus far, and near the