A Southern account.
Army of Northern Virginia, near Spottsylvania Court-House, May 20, 1864.About three o'clock yesterday evening Lieutenant-General Ewell, with the whole of the Second corps, moved forward on a reconnoissance in force, leaving our intrenchments about three P. M. This move was intended to strike the enemy on their extreme right flank. The country through which the move was made is diversified by woods and fields, and so much of forest that it was quite possible so to move as to escape the observation of the enemy. Lieutennt-General Ewell moved by a circuitous route, striking the enemy's line of skirmishers at a point a little north and west of the road leading from Fredericksburg to Spottsylvania Court-house, and about eight miles from the former place. About five P. M. our skirmishers came upon the enemy's line of skirmishers, and a sharp engagement ensued between them. Our column started with artillery, but owing to the condition of the roads, were compelled to move without it. The enemy, during the action, brought two pieces into position. The force of the enemy which we encountered consisted of Hancock's Second, a part of the Ninth, and some of the heavy artillery troops under Augur, who were brought here on Sunday last, armed as infantry-men. Our skirmishers attacked their skirmish line most furiously, and drove them back some half a mile, when we came in contact with their immense lines of battle, and we were compelled to give back, they assaulting us. Not satisfied at our temporarily giving back, the enemy, reinforced by a second line, attempted to press, when we in turn repulsed them most handsomely. After this, for four or five times, they assaulted, with great noise, our line of skirmishers, but in every instance were successfully repelled. During the engagement, which lasted from about five until nine o'clock, our skirmishers reached the main road running from Fredericksburg to Spottsylvania Court-house. On this road the enemy's train was moving. Into it our skirmishers dashed, cutting loose some and shooting others of their mules, and capturing a quartermaster. About nine o'clock at night the fighting ceased, and our men retired to their original position behind the intrenchments, with a loss of about one hundred and fifty wounded, some thirty killed, and some few stragglers who were “gobbled up” by the enemy. We captured and brought off about a hundred prisoners, who represent their loss quite heavy. During the action, Lieutenant-General Ewell's horse was shot under him. The General received a severe fall, which jarred him considerably. He is to-day, however, again in the saddle. The object of this move is said to have been a reconnoissance in force, to determine the enemy's position. We certainly accomplished very little, while we lost some good men, among them the gallant Colonel Boyd, of Daniels' North Carolina brigade, who was killed. The conduct of most of the troops is highly commended, especially Pegram's Virginia brigade, of whom General Ewell spoke in regard to their bearing on this occasion in terms of most exalted praise. Jones' Virginia and the Stonewall brigade, in Johnson's division, or rather the remnants thereof, are said not to have done so well. To-day I have ridden around the lines, and there is a quiet most profound. The pickets have ceased firing at each other. The enemy's large wagon-train can be plainly seen parked in front of the Court-house. Our boys are “gay and happy,” still “ripe and ready” to meet the foe. Spottsylvania Court-house, the hotel, the jail, and the few private buildings, have all come in for a good share of the enemy's shot and shell, which were poured upon that part of the line in the cannonading on Wednesday. Grant seems to be gradually shifting around to our right, and will doubtless await reinforcements before renewing the fight.
Motley House, near Guinea's Station, May 21--9 P. M.A hasty despatch, scrawled upon the sward before the house at 4 1/2 P. M., and sent off the moment after, has announced to you the great march of the day. Look at the map, note the relative positions of Spottsylvania Court-house and of Guinea and Bowling Green, and the mind can at once perceive the wonderful military genius that has flanked the rebel army, and advanced far to the rear of its position in the little space of twenty-four hours. At daylight this morning no one not in the secret of headquarters had the least idea of the events impending. Our lines had been curiously and suggestively run, and the Second corps was lying around loose, but still we supposed a push for the telegraph road to be the only thing on the programme. Headquarters of the armies, both Grant's and Meade's, were astir at an early hour, and the trains sent off to the left, and the boys, used to it by this time, and admiring the immovable tenacity of Grant, when they noticed the direction taken, said, approvingly, “by the left flank, march.” Long after their trains had gone, Grant and Meade, with their staff, remained on the old ground, neither of them, apparently, with any greater care on his mind than how to while away an hour or two. At last Meade rode slowly away, and a half hour after Grant followed him. Two miles brought him to the Massaponax Church, on the telegraph road, where Meade was found. Here the nature of the events transpiring began to appear to the outside minds. It was known that the Second corps was far to the left, and Bowling Green was mentioned as its probable destination. While we lay at the church, the transportation of the Fifth corps began moving past, and the information being positive that Burnside, with the Ninth, and Wright, with the