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[215] Maryland and the battery on the right of Ewell. Toward noon the cavalry advance under Major Martin, of the Jeff. Davis Legion, dashed in upon Dispatch station, on the York river railroad, and drove off the guard. We went instantly to their support, and took possession of the stores there found, which were quite acceptable. Taking post on the hill above the station, our pickets were pushed to the Williamsburg road, a mile or so from Bottom's bridge, and within four or five hundred yards of the enemy's videttes, which were riding slowly to and fro on their beats on the level ground below.

At Bottom's bridge could be seen immense masses of men working like beavers on entrenchments on both sides of the river, where there was a heavy work containing apparently heavy guns. Up the railroad, across the track, could be seen some branches of trees piled which might conceal a gun or two, or might be only a pretence. General Ewell came up, and after having the position pointed out to him said: “Colonel, suppose you try those fellows at work there; we'll find out how many guns they have” So a couple of pieces were put in position and opened. The second shot had not reached the mass of working Yankees before they broke right and left and three batteries at once pitched shell after shell into us — at Bottom's bridge, on the railroad, and at a point between. “That'll do,” said the General, “we've found out what we want.” So our guns were run back under the crest of the hill. We had stirred up a hornet's nest, however, for the Yanks kept firing eagerly for some time after we stopped.

On Sunday morning a movement could be seen among them. Column after column, with knapsacks packed, for hours were passing the railroad, down the bank of the river, and miles below others could be seen moving in the same direction. General Ewell reported the fact, and in the afternoon we received orders to march up the Chickahominy, a reconnoissance having shown that the enemy was not crossing below and endeavoring to get to Williamsburg. As we were moving off a sudden movement was perceived in the masked battery on the railroad, and it was quickly withdrawn, a train came rapidly down with a singular rushing noise and accelerating speed until, with a roar, it leaped over the bridge into the Chickahominy, at the same moment exploding with the report of ten thousand cannon. It was a train of ammunition they had fired and set off towards us. It may have been intended to explode among us or to destroy the bridge. A dense column of smoke rolled upwards, continually rising from its centre and expanding on its sides, until it rose like a huge inverted cone miles high and broad, one of the grandest sights that can be seen.

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