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[501] cross here, and wishing to dispute the passage of the river wherever it might be attempted, went, with a few men of “Lee's rangers,” farther up the river to Dunkirk, where it was thought the enemy would endeavour to cross. But the raiders, having found an old flat-boat at Ayletts, succeeded in crossing here, swimming their horses. Lieut. Pollard, now finding that the enemy had succeeded in crossing the river below him, immediately left Dunkirk, and went in pursuit, with the intention of hanging on his rear, and harassing him as much as possible with his handful of men.

The rear-guard of the enemy was overtaken a short distance above Bruington Church, and driven down the road on their main body. The party under Lieut. Pollard, numbering now about twenty, advanced, and a desultory fire was kept up for a mile or two. Pollard's party was afterwards joined by some “I Home-Guards,” under Capt. R. II. Bagby, and the whole force now probably numbered thirty men.

The enemy, having reached the forks of the road near the point where “Butler's Tavern” once stood, took the right fork. Here Lieut. Pollard asked the advice and information of persons who were familiar with the roads and country, and it was decided to ambush the enemy at a point about a mile and a half below Stevensville. The enemy numbered about one hundred and had forty negroes with him. A feint was made by sending a few men in pursuit of the fugitives, while the main force hastened down the left fork of the road leading to Stevensville. The place of ambush was reached about dark.

In the mean time Pollard's force had been increased by a detachment from the 24th Virginia Cavalry, Capt. McGruder commanding, and now numbered about seventy or eighty men. These were also joined by Capt. Fox, of the 5th Virginia Cavalry, with a few men, and he, being the ranking officer, assumed command of the whole force, which was ranged along the road in ambush.

Scouts were sent out to ascertain the whereabouts of the enemy, who, it was found, had reached a point about a mile distant, on what was called the “River road,” where they were in bivouac. A consultation was held among the Confederate officers, and it was at one time decided to attack the enemy, but the final decision was to await his approach.

Some of the officers thought that the raiders would remain in bivouac only long enough to feed their horses, while others thought that they would not advance before morning, or, at least, before the rise of the moon about 2 or 3 A. M. Those who held the latter opinion went to neighbouring houses for the purpose of securing a little rest. Among these was Lieut. Pollard, who was, consequently, not present when the enemy came up.

The enemy advanced about 11 o'clock at night, Col. Dahlgren leading

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