I reached this point, and observed that the enemy was massed above the mouth of the creek. A large fleet of sail vessels, sixty or seventy in number, were dropping down the stream. Several ocean steamers followed them, and great activity prevailed on the river. Six or seven gunboats were discovered. One of them opened upon us with tolerable precision. I moved the command out of range, and reported the facts. Friday, July fourth, my command was on picket during the day, on the left of the infantry, and occasionally skirmished with the enemy. Captain Richardson's company, (B,) of the legion, was deployed as skirmishers in the woods near Evelington Heights, and succeeded in killing three hundred of the enemy's skirmishers. With Captain Strother's company, I again visited Dr. Wilcox's, first driving off a company of the enemy's cavalry. We killed one horse and wounded one man. I was compelled by a large infantry force to return to my line of pickets. Saturday, July fifth, was spent in our bivouac. Sunday, July sixth, I was relieved of the command of the Fourth Virginia cavalry, and started on my return to Richmond, reaching camp next day with the legion. Lieutenant Fisher, company B, with fourteen men of the legion, on his way from camp to join the legion, then on the Chickahominy, assisted by Lieutenant Yager and three privates of the Fourth Virginia cavalry, captured a company of the Bucktail regiment, consisting of the captain, one lieutenant, and fifty-one noncommissioned officers and men. Among the officers of my command, during the eventful period of time covered by this report, I would mention Major Stone, Captains Avery and Waring, and Lieutenants Waldham, Chestnut, and Moseley, of the legion; Captains Chamberlain and Strother, and Lieutenants Merchant, Smith, and Payne, of the Fourth Virginia cavalry; Captain Pelham and Lieutenant Shaw, of the horse artillery. It is hard and difficult to make a distinction, where officers and men vie with each other in the performance of their duty. Respectfully submitted.
William L. Martin, Lieutenant-Colonel, commanding.
Report of Lieutenant Robins.
headquarters Ninth regiment, Virginia cavalry, camp Cary.Captain: In pursuance of orders from yourself, proceeded, on the morning of the twenty-second of July, with a detail of ninety men and three commissioned officers, from the Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Ninth regiments Virginia cavalry, to march through the counties of King William, King and Queen, and Gloucester, to Gloucester Point. The object of the scout was the arresting and bringing to the headquarters of the General commanding cavalry brigade, all deserters and disloyal citizens whom I might find in those counties. When I arrived in King and Queen County, it was reported to me that the enemy had landed troops, consisting of infantry and cavalry, at Gloucester Point, from Yorktown on the opposite shore. Not being entirely satisfied of the correctness of the report, and being determined to find out for myself, I did not discontinue the march, but proceeded to Gloucester Point, having thrown forward a reliable scout, in order to ascertain certainly if the enemy was really at the point, and in what force. At Plain View, my scouts returned with the information that the enemy had only spent a short time in Gloucester, and had again embarked and gone back to York. Having again resumed the line of march, I advanced the main column to a point about four miles from Gloucester Point, and sent forward a small party, and established my pickets at the point, in full sight of the enemy at York and his gunboats in the river, in order that I might watch him closely, to prevent his either landing in front, or sending troops up the river to cut off my retreat. I found in the river, in the vicinity of Yorktown, two gunboats and a large transport. I sent a party to burn the huts at Gloucester Point, and also the wharf at that place, in order to prevent the landing of cavalry with facility. The enemy had frequently crossed the river with cavalry, and had harassed the citizens of Gloucester and King and Queen, in predatory excursions. I succeeded in committing to the flames the huts, notwithstanding the efforts of a gunboat lying in the stream, which did not cease to shell the party during the accomplishment of the work, with no casualty to us, as I am happy to inform you. The men, having been accustomed to gunboats at the White House and other points, did not seem to be at all disturbed by the large shells that were thrown far over their heads, shrieking and crashing through the woods beyond. I did not succeed in burning the wharf, as the gunboat, finding out my intention, took up a position about fifty yards from it, and from which she could sweep it with grape and canister. I then withdrew the column to Gloucester Court-House, leaving a picket at the point, and remained at the former place in order that I might be able to continue the arresting of deserters and disloyal persons, which I had commenced immediately upon arriving in the county. I succeeded in arresting eighteen deserters, three disloyal citizens, and three free negroes, charged with ferrying over to the enemy runaway slaves, and also arrested and brought up two conscripts. Having done all that I could at the time, I took up the line of march on my return on the twenty-sixth of July. Marching by easy stages, and lying over one day at Walkerton, in King and Queen County, for the purpose of resting the horses, I arrived and reported to you on the thirtieth of July. It only remains for me to add that the hospitality of the citizens all along the road was unprecedented. There are in those counties large quantities of grain and beef, long forage, and bacon. The citizens of those counties urged me to represent to the General commanding the cavalry
To Captain Norman Fitzhugh, Assistant Adjutant-General:
To Captain Norman Fitzhugh, Assistant Adjutant-General: