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[275] following dispatch from Major F. A. Smith, commanding at Drewry's Bluff:

General,—Our scouts report the enemy at Ware Bottom church, six miles hence. I have already sent couriers to you with this intelligence. Had you not best return, as the Yankees have burnt houses on the river and the fleet is advancing?


F. A. Smith, Major Commanding.

As everything was quiet in the direction of Port Walthall junction, I halted my command, sent a staff officer to comniunicate with Lieutenant-Colonel Dargan, now at the junction, and endeavored to obtain further information of the movements of the enemy.

About 5 P. M. I heard firing at Walthall junction, and immediately put my brigade in motion for that place. On reaching the junction I learned that Colonel R. F. Graham had arrived at that place from Petersburg at about 4 1/2 P. M. with the remaining companies of the Twenty-first and three companies of the Twenty-fifth South Carolina regiments, and with this command of about 600 men that he had encountered a brigade or more of the enemy with two pieces of artillery, and drove them gallantly from the field. Their skirmishers at dark were still on the skirt of the woods southeast of the junction. The report of Colonel R. F. Graham is forwarded herewith. I immediately occupied the railroad excavation just southwest of the junction with my brigade, placing skirmishers in front, Colonel Graham's command occupying a position on my left and front. During the night the remainder of the Twenty-fifth and Twenty-seventh South Carolina regiments, with their brigade commander (Brigadier-General Hagood), arrived. Major-General D. H. Hill, of General Beauregard's staff, reached the junction in the morning, and by his skill, counsel, and active supervision throughout the period of those operations, contributed in an eminent degree to the success attained.

At daylight on the 7th instant it was ascertained that the enemy had entirely retired from our immediate front. Through scouts we learned that their forces were in the vicinity of Ware Bottom Church and at Cobb's farm. For the most reliable information I was indebted to Roger A. Pryor; who was active, tireless and daring in reconnoissance. At about 10 o'clock it was resolved to advance towards the church, with a view to feel the strength and position of the

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