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[148]

Col. Robert Johnston, commanding the cavalry at Cockletown, reported that a volunteer scout of four had returned to camp that morning, bringing in Captain Jenkins and Lieutenant Shurtleff of the United States naval brigade. This scout met a party of six, near New Market bridge, killed Major Rawlings, wounded the two officers brought in, and put the rest to flight. Soon afterward Colonel Johnston reported that he would occupy Bethel, endeavor to secure the negroes from the lower part of the peninsula, and then occupy Harrod's and Young's mills, whence he could best operate with safety against marauding parties.

July 24th, on account of the panic following the battle of Bull Run, Butler was required to send a force of about 4,000 men to Washington. He wrote to Scott: ‘This reduction of my forces here leaves it impossible to take up or hold any advanced position. Newport News, where I have an intrenched camp, and a very important point in my judgment, would be in great danger of attack from Yorktown and Warwick, where the Confederates are now concentrating troops across the James river from Smithfield to Warwick.’

As soon as Colonel Magruder learned the result of the battle of Manassas, he ordered Colonel Johnston to proceed, with about 2,000 men, to reconnoiter in the immediate vicinity of Hampton and Newport News. As soon as Johnston appeared before Hampton, a large balloon was sent up, from which his force was observed, and a hasty evacuation took place. Magruder ordered a junction of troops from Williamsburg and Yorktown—about 4,000, including 400 cavalry and two batteries of the howitzers—in Warwick county, where he established a depot of supplies at the courthouse, and then marched to Bethel church. On August 6th he disposed his force between the Federals at and around Fort Monroe and those in garrison at Newport News.

On the morning of the 7th, Magruder displayed his force within a mile and a half of Newport News, with the hope of drawing out the enemy. Disappointed in this, he moved his left flank to within a mile of Hampton, where a copy of the New York Tribune, containing a recent report from Butler to the secretary of war, was placed in his hands, in which the former announced his intentions with respect to Hampton, about one-third of

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