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[443] headquarters Department of Northern Virginia, July tenth, 1863.

After the fight had ceased on Wednesday night, June twenty-fifth, Colonel Vance's North Carolina regiment, of Ransom's brigade, was placed on picket duty on the right of the Williamsburg road, and my own brigade retired to the rifle pits for rest and refreshment, General Armistead having picketed the left of the road.

On Thursday morning, twenty-sixth of June, I ascertained that Colonel Vance's regiment had, during the night, fallen back from our advanced picket line, and that the enemy had again occupied it. I ordered Colonel Jones's Twenty-second Georgia regiment (of my brigade) to advance to the support of Colonel Vance, and retake our original picket line. This was accomplished without serious loss on our side. Upon regaining our line, we discovered that the enemy had already begun a line of rifle pits through the woods, and had considerably advanced their works, when we forced them to retire, leaving a large number of axes, spades, shovels, and picks, and quite a number of small arms, all of which fell into our possession. We also captured a few prisoners.

During the night following, and the succeeding two days, Friday and Saturday, the twenty-seventh and twenty-eighth, a continuous attack was kept up by the enemy on our pickets, which, from its continuation and violence, greatly fatigued and worried my already small command. Our actual loss during this time was very light. On Saturday night, the twenty-eighth, Colonel George Doles, Fourth Georgia regiment, was ordered on picket duty on the right of the Williamsburg road, (General Armistead still picketing on the left,) with instructions to keep a close watch upon the enemy; to throw scouts and flankers out in advance of his picket line; push them up to the enemy's works, and give me immediate notice of any movement on the part of the enemy, who, it was thought, would either attack us or fall back from their intrenchments early on the succeeding morning, (Sunday.)

I received no report from Colonel Doles until about sunrise on Sunday morning, when he sent me word nothing unusual had occurred during the night, and that he was still occupying our old picket lines. I immediately sent Captain Girardy, my Assistant Adjutant-General, to order Colonel Doles to advance his scouts quickly up to the abatis in front of the enemy's redoubts, and observe their action and their movements. I was still confident, from the results of the fight the two days previous, that the enemy would be forced to make some important movement this morning, and I directed Captain Girardy to accompany Colonel Doles's advance, and ascertain what the enemy were about. At about eight o'clock A. M., Captain Girardy returned with information that the enemy had retired from their intrenchments, and that their main body had got entirely off, leaving only their rear guard and a few stragglers. I immediately put my brigade in motion, and pushed forward into the enemy's deserted works, intending to fall upon his rear and give him battle. After reaching the enemy's works, I found Major-General B. Huger on the field, and reported to him for instructions and orders. I was directed to return to our camp (about one and a half miles,) let the men get breakfast, and then move across to the Charles City road ; go down that road, cautiously feeling for the flying foe. Soon after getting in line, preparatory to moving across to the Charles City road, I received orders from General Huger to proceed immediately down to the Williamsburg road to the enemy's, intrenched camp, again, as they were reported to be still in the rear of their advanced works in considerable force. This order I instantly obeyed, and again reported to General Huger, in the enemy's intrenched camp. After a very inconsiderable delay here, I was again ordered to move back with my command, and crossing over the Charles City road, to proceed down the road until I should fall upon the enemy. I commenced this movement, and had proceeded about two miles, when I received another order from General Huger to return quickly to the intrenched camp of the enemy, as General Magruder had informed him that the enemy, in great force, was about to advance upon him, (General Magruder.) I immediately retraced my steps, and, taking a by-path, soon the head of my column marched into the deserted intrenchments. Here I received orders to wait for further instructions. About two o'clock P. M., I received orders to again take up my march to the Charles City road, which I instantly obeyed, and puting my command in motion, moved across White Oak Swamp, and fell into the Charles City road two miles above White's Tavern, and thence proceeded down that road to a point just below the tavern, when, coming upon the rear of General Ransom's brigade, (Huger's division,) at a halt, I also halted, and sent to General Huger for instructions. It was now quite dark, and I was instructed to throw out skirmishers and pickets to the left of the Charles City road, until I reached what was called the New road, and then down that road as far as might be necessary. That night, twenty-ninth June, I received orders to move my brigade at daylight next morning across to the New road, about one and a half miles to the north of the Charles City road, and running parallel to it, and follow down that road toward White Oak Bridge, feeling cautiously for the enemy there, supposed to be on some of the numerous islands or farms in White Oak Swamp. Colonel Ross's battery, of Lieutenant-Colonel Cutt's artillery, had been, the day before, attached to my brigade, and leaving this on the Charles City road, with instructions to follow as soon as I should need them, at early dawn on the morning of the thirtieth of June, I moved my brigade across the woods and fields, until I fell into the New road, near Hobson's house. Here I learned that the enemy, in considerable force, under General Kearney, late the evening before, had passed down the road toward the north fork of White Oak Swamp.

I passed on, and at eight o'clock my line of skirmishers had reached the crossing on the north


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