's brigade), over three thousand strong, with Sherman
's brigade in immediate reserve, appeared over the brow of the height which covered their approach, and advanced until they were but a hundred yards from our skirmishers, who were posted among the trees that lined the southern bank.
A large portion of the Federal
force approached through the woods, near the border of the stream, which on that side presented a thick cover of trees and undergrowth, and the remainder advanced along the road, to force the passage.
met the attack with about twelve hundred men, of the 1st, 17th, and 11th Virginia Volunteers, and, after quite a brisk contest, repulsed the opposing forces.
They rallied for a second attack, but were again driven back, with the aid of the reserve companies.
Two regiments and two rifled guns from Early
's brigade, which had been brought from the right and held at even supporting distance from the three threatened fords, were now ordered up. The guns, placed in position under concealment of the trees that fringed the stream, directed their fire by the sound of the enemy's musketry, already active in a third attempt to force the crossing; which proved as unsuccessful as had the others.
One of the attacking regiments gave way, and was rallied a mile and a half to the rear.
When the remaining companies of Early
's brigade were brought forward, and his five additional guns were placed in rear of the other two—firing wherever the glitter of bayonets along the slope above the tree-tops showed the Federals
to be thickest-the contest soon passed into an artillery duel, which lasted until the enemy abandoned his ground, in full retreat.
The Confederate loss was but sixty-eight killed and wounded; that of the enemy seventy-three, besides one hundred and seventy-five stands of arms and a quantity of accoutrements.
The result of that action was of great value to us, as it gave to our army the prestige of success, and the confidence which is ever an important element of victory.
at once reported the result of the day to Richmond
; and Mr. Davis
telegraphed back an expression of his gratification, informing General Beauregard
also that a regiment was on its way to reinforce him, and that more would go as soon as possible.
It would seem, however, that this first stroke of good fortune was unduly estimated at the Confederate
capital; for General