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[498] Brockenbrough's force could have engaged him there, by which means he would have effected his escape unpunished.

About 6 o'clock P. M. Colonel Brockenbrough opened fire on the enemy, apparently retreating to his boats, but in reality returning to the steamers to carry a howitzer battery on shore, and drove him in confusion into his boats and the river. A brief skirmish ensued, in which several of the enemy fell and were supposed to have been killed and wounded. During the conflict the fire of our men was turned upon the steamer Freeborn, as well as upon the boats, which were pushed off with precipitation and alarm.1

The attack was made by Major R. M. Mayo, with Gouldin's company of Sparta Grays, under First Lieutenant Saunders, and Lee's Legion of Cavalry, under First Lieutenant R. L. T. Beale, belonging to his battallion, and terminated before the troops concentrating became generally engaged.2

There was every indication that the enemy suffered a severe loss, while on our part we met with none.

We captured------spades and------axes, and some two hundred and fifty sand bags, and a large coil of rope, with some arms and equipments.

I have great pleasure in expressing my satisfaction with the excellent conduct of the troops I have had the honor to command.

Major R. M. Mayo, First Lieutenant William H. Saunders, Second Lieutenant A. G. Dade, and First Lieutenant R. L. T. Beale are entiled to separate notice.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Daniel Ruggles, Colonel Provisional Army, Commanding.
Note.--Mr. Robert T. Knox accompanied me as a volunteer aid de camp during the above reported conflict.

The subjoined memoranda from the official reports of the naval commanders of the Federal gun-boats illustrate the nature and results of the conflict.

Lieutenant J. C. Chaplin, U. S. N., on the 28th of June, 1861, reported

1 Then with a battery of field guns the enemy would have been crushed as well as defeated.

2 The Sparta Grays were armed with Sharpe's rifles, and all the other troops with old pattern flint-lock muskets and old sabres.

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William H. Saunders (2)
Daniel Ruggles (2)
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Sharpe (1)
Robert Lee (1)
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January 26th, 1878 AD (1)
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