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[553] the lines of march, owing to the difficulty of getting intelligible information as to the roads and crossings in this comparatively unknown region. It was at first determined to make the passage of the Pamunkey with the Sixth and Second corps at Hanover, and the Fifth and Ninth at Newcastle ferries, but engineer officers accompanying General Sheridan, reported two good crossings a short distance above and below Hanovertown, and the orders of march were accordingly modified, and double pontoon bridges were thrown across at Hanovertown, and the Fifth, Sixth, and Second corps passed over them in the course of yesterday. The Ninth did not get across until early this morning.

The first mentioned corps were immediately put in position as they got over on the range of hills almost east and west, about half a mile from the river, and intrenched themselves. As soon as the Ninth corps was over, an advance of the whole line was ordered. It was pushed forward about three miles to the right and left of the two roads running in a south-eastwardly direction, one via Meadow bridge, and the other through Mechanicsville toward Richmond. It rests to-night within twelve miles of the rebel capital.

Wilson's division of cavalry protects our right flank, covering the roads toward Hanover Court-house. and Torbert's and Gregg's our left, covering the roads from Richmond east of Tolopotomy creek. The trains are all safely parked on both banks of the Pamunkey.

The movement from the North Anna to the Pamunkey occupied only about forty hours. In that time the army marched a distance of nearly forty miles, over good but dusty and unknown roads, effected the passage of two large rivers, and was brought within an easy day's march of Richmond. Of all our immense transportation not a wagon was lost. Of men, only the pickets already alluded to were lost — a few stragglers who were captured by the enemy.

The weather on Friday and yesterday was very warm, and men and animals became very weary. The comparative rest of to-day, however, has refreshed them both.

Headquarters remain on the south bank of the Pamunkey for to-night.

Prisoners and contrabands brought in to-day render it certain that Lee's whole army left the South Anna during Friday, and marched via Hanover Court-house again to our front, and took up a position north of the Chickahominy, to the right and left of the Mechanicsville road. Officers familiar with the ground claim that he will be able to form a very strong defensive line in that locality. No signs of the enemy appeared in our front to-day.

The encounter of our cavalry with Fitz Hugh Lee's and Hampton's commands on Friday afternoon was most creditable to our arms. On our side the three brigades of Gregg's division and Merritt's brigade of Torbert's division and two light batteries were engaged. The fight occurred on the ground held by our main line to day, and the right and left of the Hanovertown and Richmond road.

The enemy, it seems, were fighting to retain possession of a cross-road about half a mile beyond, leading to the Hanover Court-house and Richmond road, over which it is now known that the rear of Lee's army was moving at the time of the engagement. The enemy were posted in thick woods bordering on an open field, and fortified on their right by a swamp.

.Gregg's brigade dismounted, formed in line, and attacked them on the front, covered by the fire of our batteries, but they were found so well covered by the woods and swamp that they could not be dislodged until Merritt's brigade was sent to flank them on their left, when they beat a precipitate retreat, leaving Fitz Hugh Lee's headquarters tents and nearly two hundred killed and one hundred wounded, besides fifty prisoners, in our hands. Our own loss will be about four hundred, including about forty killed.

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Fitz Hugh Lee (8)
D. McM. Gregg (6)
A. T. A. Torbert (4)
Wesley Merritt (4)
James H. Wilson (2)
P. H. Sheridan (2)
Wade Hampton (2)
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