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[291] upon our bivouac, and as we had no preparations to make, and the men were in that deep sleep so sweet to the soldier, I would not rouse them, but waited the order to move, which came just as day was breaking. Following the guidance of a staff officer, in delightful uncertainty of our destination, we found ourselves once more in town at the Southside depot, rapidly embarking upon flats and freight cars, for a destination as yet unknown. All aboard and off we started, the men clinging to sides and roofs of as rickety an old train of cars as ever excited the fear and ire of any command. Once on the way, our orders were read. We were to go to Burkeville junction, from there to the bridges on the Danville road. We then for the first time took in the situation—that it was to be a race between ourselves and Kautz, which should get there first. The thought flitting through our brain meanwhile that Kautz and his bold riders might turn up somewhere on the road, misplace a few rails, ditch our old train, and play wild havoc with us. Thanks to our lucky star this evil fortune did not await us. We reached Burkville and then Farmville, where some refugees from Alexandria, and the citizens who were in mortal terror of the raiders, filled our haversacks and wished us God speed! The men, after such a reinforcement of material and moral support, in turn promised to give a good account of themselves when they struck the enemy.

May 13th we arrived at Flat Creek Bridge early enough to go over the ground and make proper dispositions of the companies for the fight expected next morning.

The enemy the same evening made a demonstration at the upper and larger bridge, defended by detachments of the Eighth, Thirteenth, and Thirtieth Virginia regiments, with artillery. Finding it too strong to carry in front, they crossed at the junction of the two streams, some miles below, hoping to surprise and carry the smaller and unfortified bridge guarded by the Seventeenth Virginia, and then taking the larger bridge in rear of its works destroy both, and so cut the only communication between Richmond and our base of supplies at the South. In this lies the whole merit of our little but important fight, which found no place in reports to headquarters and was scarcely noticed by the press of the day, so deeply absorbed were all by the mighty struggle then going on for the capture of Richmond.

By night the companies were all posted, some below the bridge behind a stone wall, some so placed that their fire covered it and the approach on the opposite side, some up the stream and behind a barricade made at a country road bridge, above the railroad bridge—all


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