was ordered to move in front, with Johnson
's brigade in support.
The head of the column had not advanced more than a mile, when General Hill
, who had gone to the front to make a personal examination, returned and reported the enemy's cavalry advancing immediately upon us, at about 300 yards' distance from our column.
was directed to bring his leading regiment into line and advance its skirmishers.
Subsequently another regiment was advanced and formed on a line with the first.
These regiments were for nearly an hour engaged in a sharp skirmish with the enemy.
The movements of the enemy's infantry seeming to indicate a purpose to flank these regiments on their left, they were retired to our line of battle on the railroad.
In the meantime the enemy had shown in considerable force in two lines—four regiments of infantry and a battery of artillery—in front of our right, near the house of Mrs. Dunn
Skirmishers from Colonel Graham
's regiment were advanced to attract the attention of this force, and a section of Hankins
's battery, supported by two regiments of Johnson
's brigade, was advanced under cover of the woods on the right of Port Walthall railroad to fire on the enemy's infantry.
A few rounds from the artillery drove the infantry under cover of adjacent grounds.
The fire of the artillery appearing no longer effective, and the movement of the enemy indicating a purpose to make a general attack, I thought it best to procure a compact line; consequently our artillery and infantry were withdrawn to the line of the railroad.
The enemy soon appeared in two lines on the open grounds and skirting the woods on the high grounds east of the junction and of Ashton Creek
, fronting Hagood
's brigade, stationed on my left.
At the same time they also reappeared in their original force in the vicinity of Mrs. Dunn
's house, threatening Johnson
's brigade, on my right.
Aided by General Hill
, I placed two pieces of artillery on the left of Craig House to open on the enemy in the vicinity of Mrs. Dunn
's, and four pieces behind the railroad, or west of it, near the water-tank, to play upon the enemy's infantry east of Ashton Creek
Subsequently one of these latter pieces was removed to a piece of high ground further north, on the south side of the railroad, affording a more direct fire on the enemy.
Two other guns which came to the junction were manned with uninstructed convalescents and men on furlough picked up in Petersburg
, who deserted their pieces before they fired a shot.
These I caused to be manned by men from the Tennessee
brigade and placed