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[519] get the men off Belle Isle. This shortened our route considerably, and gave us plenty of time to get under cover and rest before making the attempt to enter the city. We went down the pike within about three miles of the city and captured three pickets guarding the road. We then went into a thicket and kept out of sight, letting no one pass into the city. Everything still looked hopeful, and we were in high spirits, when just about 4 P. M. we heard cannon on the Brooke pike, and knew at once that Kilpatrick had made his attack four hours before the time agreed upon with Dahlgren. This seemed to be something the Colonel could not comprehend, and he feared the whole thing would now be a failure, as his own force was too small to uncover in daylight, and he did not think Kilpatrick could possibly gain an entrance through the fortifications before night. But soon the firing began to get farther off; then we knew it was defeat with Kilpatrick. Dahlgren reasoned that General Kilpatrick might make a stand near the city and at night renew the attack, when he would hear our guns or see our signals, for Captain Gloskoski and myself had arranged a special code of rocket signals, so as to communicate at night and bring all the forces together in case of defeat. But Kilpatrick did not make a stand—did not return at night, and never had one rocket sent up to let us know how to get out of the scrape. He made a rather precipitate, and, as one of his officers told me in Libby, demoralized run, with Hampton on his rear.

Dahlgren waited till dark, and then came out and formed his men and made the attack on the north side, and drove the enemy (who had no artillery) back to the inner line of works, when, reinforcements coming up, it soon got too hot, and he sounded the retreat, leaving forty men on the field, but getting closer to the city than any of our troops ever did up to the day of the surrender. Our column was then turned east, and we came round and crossed the railroad at Hungary Station, from there to the Brooke pike, and finding from a citizen that Kilpatrick was in retreat down the Peninsula, he determined to cross through King William county and King and Queen county, and try and reach Butler's lines at Gloucester Point. We crossed the Pamunkey at Hanovertown Ferry. The Mattaponi at Dabney's (Walkerton) Ferry, having at this place a little skirmish with bushwhackers. I would here state that coming round the city part of our column got separated from the advance, and never got with us again, but, by good fortune, got in with Kilpatrick's forces and escaped. We were not so fortunate. When daylight came, we had Colonel Dahlgren, Major Cook, Lieutenant Merrit and myself,

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Kilpatrick (7)
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