had called into action all his artillery, and was effectively checking the Confederate
advance, while at the same time withdrawing, under cover of the artillery fire, his infantry; when the horses of Gen. Cooke
's cavalry, which had been attempting to charge the enemy, becoming unmanageable, wheeled about and galloped among the gunners, who, being without infantry support, and supposing a charge made upon them, the batteries were hastily withdrawn.
This perhaps explains the scene of confusion which met the eyes of French
's division and the Irish brigade, when they reached the field.
During the night, the Federal
forces were withdrawn to the right bank.
The last of the rear-guard, crossing after daylight, destroyed the bridge behind them.
It was in the thick darkness that immediately precedes day, that our company reached the camp which it left before the battle, and where yet was its necessary baggage and some commissary and quartermaster's stores.
It needed the light of dawn to exhibit the weary, sober troops; Private M. V. Cushing
was wounded, Rogers
and one other man were missing.
The horses were clamorous for fodder.
Much needed refreshment and a brief rest for man and beast were hardly enjoyed, when our command and all the troops in that vicinity were again in motion, this time toward the southeast.
This hot, gloomy Saturday morning was quiet as an old fashioned New England
There was something ominous in the stillness.
No one of the rank and file knew the true condition of the army, or its destination, but the surmise was general that we were going to the James
Indeed, the Confederates
must have been hours in possession of Whitehouse
and the York River Railroad up to the Chickahominy
In the light of subsequent events, it is now evident that we were at this time creeping along between Magruder
's force in front of Richmond
, and the great bulk of the Confederate army on the north bank of the river.
About nine o'clock, Confederate batteries on the north side of the river, posted in the vicinity of Porter
's position of yesterday, launched forth a heavy fire upon our troops, who held a fortified position opposite on the south side.
This was of brief duration.
There was no meeting of contending forces that day, but a painfully