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[515] from a battery near Peake's crossing. Latham's battery very soon got into position to reply, and after a sharp action silenced it. In the meantime a severe cannonade had been going on in the direction of Lane, showing that he, too, had been attacked. As soon as the battery in the road had been driven off, I sent Colonel Lee with his own, the Thirty-seventh, and the Eighteenth, Colonel Cowan's regiment, to reinforce him. When these two regiments had proceeded about a mile and a half, the enemy was found strongly posted across the road. On learning this I galloped forward (leaving orders for Latham to follow me as quickly as possible), and was informed by Colonel Lee that the force of the enemy consisted of two regiments of infantry and some artillery.

My plan was quickly formed and orders given for its execution. Lee with the Thirty-seventh was to push through the woods and get close on the right flank of the battery; Hoke, as soon as he should return from a sweep through the woods on which I had sent him, and Colonel Wade's Twelfth North Carolina regiment was to make a similar movement to the left flank of the battery, and Cowan was to charge across the open ground in front. Hoke, supported by Colonel Wade, had a sharp skirmish in the woods, taking six prisoners and eleven horses, but came out too late to make the move assigned to him; and Lee having sent for reinforcements, I so far changed my plans as to abandon the attack on the enemy's left, and sent Lieutenant-Colonel Hoke to reinforce Colonel Lee, relying on the front and right flank attack.

Colonel Cowan, with the Eighteenth, made the charge most gallantly, but the enemy's force was much larger than had been supposed and strongly posted, and the gallant Eighteenth was compelled to seek shelter. It continued to pour heavy volleys from the edge of the woods, and must have done great execution. The steadiness with which this desperate charge was made reflectes the highest credit on officers and men. The Thirty-seventh found the undergrowth so dense as to retard its progress, but when it reached its position it poured a heavy and destructive fire upon the enemy. This combined volley from the Eighteenth and Thirty-seventh compelled the enemy to leave his battery for a time and take shelter behind a ditch bank.

For two hours the cavalry pickets had been coming in from the Ashcake road, reported a heavy force of the enemy passing to my right by that road, and Colonel Robertson, of the Virginia cavalry, who was near Hanover Courthouse, had sent me repeated messages

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