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Report of General W. H. Stevens.

headquarters Richmond defences, March 8th, 1864.
Major T. O. Chestney, Acting Adjutant-General:
sir,—I have the honor to make the following report of the operations of this command during the recent raid of the enemy against this city:

On Monday night, Feburary 29th, 1864, in obedience to instructions from your office, I ordered Lieutenant-Colonel C. E. Lightfoot, commanding the light artillery, to repair to Camp Lee by daylight, with Captain Hankins's and Captain Rives's batteries, and to send one section of Thornton's battery to the vicinity of the New Bridge, on the Nine-Mile road, and at the same time ordered the forces of Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Howard, commanding Second Division, Inner Line, and of Lieutenant-Colonel J. W. Atkinson, commanding First Division, Inner Line, to be at the intersection of the Brooke turnpike, and Intermediate Line by daylight Tuesday morning. Lieutenant-Colonel Howard being ordered at the same time to double his guards, posted at the intersection of the Mechanicsville, the Meadow Bridge, the Brooke and Deep-Run roads and the Intermediate Line.

On Tuesday morning I proceeded to the intersection of the Brooke turnpike and Intermediate Line, and at half-past 10 (10 1/2) o'clock A. M., ordered Captain Rives to proceed to the same place—there being no light artillery at that point—and in obedience to verbal instructions from the Major-General commanding, returned to your headquarters.

While there, I received a dispatch from Lieutenant-Colonel Howard, stating that the enemy had appeared in his front and driven in his pickets. I immediately returned to the intersection of the Brooke turnpike and Intermediate Line, and upon my arrival there, found out that upon the appearance of the enemy, Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Howard had ordered Captain Rives to push forward one section of his artillery and engage them. This command Captain Rives executed, being supported by Company D, Tenth Virginia battalion, heavy artillery, commanded by Captain C. S. Harrison. After advancing some two hundred yards, the enemy's skirmishers, closing [529] upon him, fired so rapidly and accurately, that he was obliged to retire to the shelter of the fortification, with the loss of two men wounded and eight horses wounded. Lieutenant-Colonel Lightfoot had also, with commendable promptitude, ordered Hankins's battery to the intersection of the Intermediate Line and the Mordecai Mill road. At the same time sending him an infantry support from Lieutenant-Colonel Howard's command.

Soon after my arrival the enemy opened upon my position a rapid and tolerably accurate fire from five pieces of artillery, and his skirmishers advanced under cover of ditches and the neighboring houses to within two hundred (200) yards of our works, and annoyed our artillerists so much that, at the suggestion of Lieutenant-Colonel Howard, I ordered him and Lieutenant-Colonel Atkinson to detach a portion of their commands and drive them from their shelter.

This was handsomely performed on the right by a volunteer force from Lieutenant-Colonel Howard's command, under First Lieutenant William M. Chaplain, Company B, Twentieth Virginia battalion, heavy artillery, who charged the enemy who were in the house of Mr. J. A. Parker, from which they were immediately driven; and on the left by Company D, Tenth Virginia battalion, heavy artillery, Captain C. S. Harrison, commanding. Lieutenant Chaplain's party lost five men in the charge, as per list of casualties enclosed.

A demonstration was made by the enemy against Captain Hankins's position on the Mill road, but it was repulsed, and in the artillery duel that ensued, Captain Hankins several times drove the gunners of the enemy from their guns.

Captain Rives's fire caused a large body of the enemy, massed between the Brooke turnpike and the Mill road, to seek shelter in the thick wood to the right of Brooke turnpike. The firing lasted about two hours, after which the enemy retreated towards the Meadow Bridge road. Later in the day, a small body of the enemy's cavalry made its appearance near the residence of Mr. J. P. Ballard, about three-fourths of a mile in front of one of my siege batteries on the Intermediate Line and Deep Run road, served by a detachment of twenty men of the Twentieth Virginia battalion, commanded by Second Lieutenant B. F. Holstead, of Company B, Twentieth Virginia battalion. After exchanging ten rounds, the enemy withdrew with no casualties on our side.

In closing this report, I have the honor to express my gratification at the behavior both of the officers and men of this command; the artillery was handled exceedingly well, and the infantry [530] responded with alacrity to every call made upon them. I had about five hundred men engaged between the Brooke pike and the Mill road and six pieces of artillery. The enemy supposed to be between 3,000 and 3,500 men with five pieces of artillery.

Lieutenant Hudgin, with four pieces of artillery, was ordered to report to General Barton on the Mechanicsville road, and one section from Hankins's and one from Rives's batteries were sent to report to General Lee, before the fire of the enemy on my front had ceased—they having left my command for the time, I have not traced their operations, though I have been informed that they were not elsewhere engaged.

The loss of the enemy is not known, they being able, under cover of a dense fog, to carry away their killed and wounded.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. H. Stevens, Commanding Richmond Defences.

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