general advance upon the enemy, which he had planned, but he had marched only 3 1/2 miles when it was learned that the enemy in large force was also advancing and but 100 yards in front; the opposing commanders each having decided to attack the other on that day. The Confederates quickly fell back within their intrenchments and awaited the coming of the invaders.
, with his 180 Virginians
and a howitzer, was stationed in the works on the hill, on the extreme right, beyond the creek.
' company, of the First North Carolina, was posted in the dense woods on the left of the road, and three companies of Montague
) battalion were placed on the right.
's men, by vigorous work, in an hour improved their temporary defenses.
At 9 o'clock the heavy columns of the enemy approached rapidly and in good order, but when Randolph
opened on them, their organization was broken up, yet they promptly replied to the artillery, firing briskly but wildly.
An attempt was then made to deploy, under cover of some houses and fences on the left of the road, but this movement was quickly driven back by Randolph
's artillery and its supports.
In the meantime, the enemy, under cover of woods, moved a strong column to their right to an old ford three-quarters of a mile below the bridge, where Hill
had placed a picket of 40 men. To that threatened point Magruder
promptly sent Werth
's company and a howitzer under Sergeant Crane
, which drove back this attack with a single shot.
At about the same time some 1,500 Federals attempted, by a movement to their left under cover of woods and fences, to outflank Stuart
and get in rear of his small command posted on the right across the creek.
This was detected, and Stuart
was directed to withdraw across the swamp.
At that critical moment Hill
recalled Captain Bridgers
from the swamp and ordered him to reoccupy the nearest advanced work; Captain Ross
was also ordered to the support of Colonel Stuart
These North Carolina companies crossed the bridge under a heavy fire in a most gallant manner.
In the meantime Stuart
withdrew, and Ross
was detained near Randolph
's main battery at the church, but Bridgers
crossed over, drove the New York Zouaves out of the advanced howitzer redoubt and reoccupied it. This daring movement turned the combat in favor of the Confederates
followed it up by