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On Thursday morning, the 27th inst., the reappearance of the enemy's war steamer Freeborn, attended by two tugs with three boats lowered and one large launch, indicated an intention not already realized.1

These steamers, having anchored near Grymes's Point, about 1 o'clock P. M. commenced firing on our pickets, indicating an intention to land, which was soon effected by some fifty men, driving our pickets from the coast contrary to our reasonable expectation. Reinforcements were immediately sent, under a field officer, to meet the enemy. A few moments afterwards report was brought by a mounted scout that he was in the act of landing artillery on our coast. I then ordered the entire force under arms and directed in person the movements of some four companies along Grymes's Point, an elevated coast range, constituting the key to our position, commanding the point on which the enemy had landed, over which shot, shell, schrapnell and stands of grape were thrown in profusion, with a degree of skill and precision with which I had seldom met, sweeping our entire line of march.

While advancing down the coast range I received information that the enemy had taken possession of the pine forest, on a point below the place of his landing, and that he was actually establishing a battery for his guns already on shore.

As it was inexpedient to cross the low, open country, extending some five hundred yards, between Grymes's Point and the timber in question — especially under the then sweeping fire of the enemy's guns, involving the prospect of serious loss — I directed Colonel J. M. Brockenbrough, Fortieth regiment Volunteers,2 who was with me, to proceed to the forest on our right, leading to the Point, and direct the march of the two remaining battalions, then held in readiness, under Lieutenant-Colonel R. A. Claybrook and Major R. M. Mayo, and drive the enemy from the forest towards the point to which we were then marching with the forces on the left. In advancing I soon afterwards encountered three of the enemy's scouts, who sought shelter in a small skirt of underbrush, and we abstained from firing on them, as it would have precititated the retreat of the enemy from the forest before Colonel

1 I had previously applied to General T. H. Holmes for one of the three batteries of field guns, which I had organized, without obtaining it. These batteries were held in anticipation of a more formidable demonstration from the enemy.

2 Some companies were then assembled, but the Fortieth regiment had not been organized, except on paper, and all troops were undisciplined.

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R. M. Mayo (1)
T. H. Holmes (1)
R. A. Claybrook (1)
J. M. Brockenbrough (1)
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