On Tuesday morning, the 27th of May, General Branch
ordered the 28th Regiment and a section of Latham
's Battery, under Lieutenant J. R. Potts
, to Taliaferro's Mill to capture, if possible, a reported marauding party.
No one was found at the mill, and as the enemy were reported advancing on the Old Church road, it promptly retraced its steps, marching left in front, with flankers, and an advance guard was thrown out. On reaching the pine thicket in front of Dr. Kinney
's, on the direct road to Richmond
, a squad of Federals stepped into the Taliaferro Mill road, in front of the command.
The colonel suspecting an ambush, halted his regiment, faced it by the rear rank, and wheeled it to the right into the thicket.
It handsomely cleaned the thicket of the enemy.
On reaching the road in front of Dr. Kinney
's it charged with rebel yells the 25th New York Regiment, concealed in Kinney's field of standing wheat, and almost annihilated it in front of Martindale
's Brigade, drawn up in line of battle and strongly supported by artillery.
It was not known then that the regiment had been cut off by an overwhelming force of infantry, artillery and cavalry, under General Fitz John Porter
It was withdrawn and reformed in the open field on the Hanover Courthouse
side of Kinney
' artillery was also ordered into position, and never were two guns served more handsomely.
The unequal contest was kept up for over four hours, inflicting greater damage than was sustained; and when it was found that the enemy was flanking the regiment in both directions, it was withdrawn in good order to Hanover Courthouse.
On reaching St. Paul's Church, beyond the courthouse, where the road forks, and finding the enemy's batteries in position and the road to Ashland
in their possession, it was ordered to take the fork to Taylorsville
under a shelling.
Knowing the cavalry was pursuing in force, it was thrown from the road to the field to take advantage of the crossfences.
On reaching a thin strip of woods beyond the railroad, it was ordered back into the road, and directed to move as rapidly as possible to Taylorsville
, while Potts
unlimbered his Parrott gun in the middle of the road.
The other gun had been abandoned at Kinney
's, as the horses had been killed or badly wounded.
This bold piece of strategy on the part of the colonel and the lieutenant of artillery intimidated the enemy's cavalry, caused them to form line of battle on the other side of the railroad, and enabled the 28th Regiment to make its escape.
Already exhausted from exposure to inclement weather, from hunger, from fighting and marching, it was three days before the regiment, by a circuitous route, rejoined the