marching and countermarching, made necessary by the weakness of his force, but still ‘that must be done and the enemy kept in his trenches and fortifications.’
On June 24th, a war steamer came opposite the house of J. W. Gresham
, on the Rappahannock river
, below Urbana
, and sent men ashore to purchase supplies.
On being refused, and seeing a small company of Lancaster
troops approaching, the enemy fled precipitately to their boats, fired on as they shoved off. The ship then opened and fired fifty-three shot and shell at Mr. Gresham
's house, one of the balls striking the bed in which Mrs. Gresham
was lying ill, and a shell exploding in an outhouse to which she was removed.
about this time reported that Colonel Allen
, with a small detachment of his men, had, without orders, burned a wheatfield of some twenty-five acres, belonging to a widow, which he had safeguarded, his only excuse being that they were getting the wheat.
‘For this wanton destruction and waste he had the privates punished and the colonel arrested and held for trial, as such destruction and waste of the property of our enemies even, will disgrace us.’
On June 27th, Col. Lafayette McLaws
(later major-general) was ordered to take command of all the troops in the vicinity of Williamsburg
; Colonel Ewell
was ordered to report to him; Capt. A. L. Rives
was also assigned to duty with Colonel McLaws
, and Colonel August
's station was changed to King's mill
or Grove landing.
About midnight of July 4th, Lieut.-Col. Charles D. Dreux
, of the First Louisiana battalion, led a detachment of 500 infantry, 1 howitzer and about 15 or 20 cavalry, in an advance in the direction of Newport News and took post, in ambush, near Curtis
The videttes soon announced the approach of about 100 Federal cavalry.
Notwithstanding the orders that had been given to the men not to fire until ordered, some shots were exchanged between the videttes and some of the men concealed on the left, and the enemy, and Colonel Dreux
was mortally wounded.
Capt. S. W. Fisk
, of the Louisiana
battalion, succeeding to the command, ordered his men to wheel into line; but in the meantime the enemy had disappeared, the horses, taking fright, had run off down the road with the gun, and the opportunity for