Sixth corps, would be in position to the left of the telegraph road, it became evident that the race for Richmond had commenced. Again the headquarters train was started off, and the Generals remained behind chatting leisurely under the shade of the old beeches. I rode off toward the middle of the afternoon, and soon overtook the train of wagons, and enjoyed the unusual spectacle of a headquarters transportation moving along a road from which the cavalry pickets of the army were coming, a circumstance resulting from our extremely lengthened swing around the flank of the enemy. Nor were these pickets useless, as the event proved. Just as the head of the train was crossing the railroad about a mile and a half above Guinea, up the valley came three hundred rebel horse. It was a gay sight; a wide, magnificent open valley, devoid of fences, and in full view for mile came the rebels to seize their prey. They counted without their host. Major Poe, with three hundred cavalry, started to meet them, when the wary rebels stood not upon the order of going, but went at once. It was an exciting chase, but the rebels gained the shelter of the timber bordering the Mattapony river, when they turned and stood at bay. Here it was discovered that a brigade of the rebels, under Fitz Hugh Lee, was defending Guinea bridge, over the Mattapony river, or rather endeavoring to burn it. Major Poe was able to prevent Lee from doing this, but was not competent to draw Lee from his position. At this juncture up rode Grant and Meade. It was a curious predicament for headquarters. The Second corps was seven miles away from the front, the head of the Fifth corps was still four miles in the rear, and the Sixth and Ninth behind them yet, and there was a brigade of rebel horse within three quarters of a mile of army headquarters. The Provisional brigade, the Sixty-eighth and One Hundred and Fourteenth Pennsylvania infantry and Third Pennsylvania cavalry, commanded by Colonel Collis, were at hand, and proved equal to the emergency. Colonel Collis first endeavored to charge over the bridge, but found it barricaded on the further side, and the planks in the centre taken up; so dividing his force, and wading the stream, breast deep, above and below, drove the rebels from their position, and to Catlett's house, a mile and a half beyond, inflicting severe losss on the enemy. This little episode was scarcely over, and headquarters established for the night, when just at sundown the roar of artillery was heard far in the rear. Its full import and particulars have not yet reached us; but generally it is known that the sturdy Burnside is holding a post of honor as rear guard, and making vigorous demonstrations against the enemy. At this hour, then, the position is thus: Hancock is at Bowling Green; Warren at Catlett's, a mile beyond the Mattapony, and two miles advanced from here; the Sixth corps between here and Burnside, who is holding our extreme rear, on admirable ground a mile and a half to the right of the telegraph road, and a mile southward of Anderson's house. As I write everything is quiet; the trains have ceased moving; the camp-fires of the Fifth corps are belting the hills beyond the valley with a wide circle of light. What next? Lee cannot fight us here. His next chance is at Hanover Court-house, on the line of the North Anna, which has always been considered formidable. But let Lee beware. It is now diamond cut diamond. Grant, aided by such subalterns as Meade, Hancock, and Burnside, has been more than his match so far, and will be to the end. A word as to the country. The scenery around Guinea is beautiful. From Motley's house, which stands on an elevation half a mile from the station, the whole valley of the Upper Mattapony is as a map unrolled at our feet. Far off on its outskirts is a belt of timber skirting the sluggish Mattapony, and beyond it again rises the circle of hills, on which the sturdy boys of the Fifth corps lie dreaming of home. But beyond us is another kind of country; and unless we tumble against the indomitable Lee this side of the North Anna we will reach its confines tomorrow. The low flats and often marshes of the slow streams emptying in the ocean on the Virginia coast are just before us, and must be encountered; but what of it. The Mattapony and its swamps first, and the Pamunkey and its morasses next, will be impassable defences to our right flank; and there is determination and vim enough in this army to wade and corduroy through the Great Dismal Swamp itself, if it lies on the road to Richmond.
Motley House, May 22.The headquarters of the Ninth corps were established here at daylight. The corps is about leaving, and will proceed to-day to Bethel Church, seven miles beyond. The Sixth corps is now passing down the road in the direction taken by the Fifth corps last evening. The affair last night, indicated by the cannonading, was the holding in check of the enemy's strong rear guard by Burnside and Wright, which was handsomely done. From all present indications we will have no battle this side of the line of the North Anna river.