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[206]

The fight at the angle lasted but twenty minutes. It completely discouraged the enemy, and he made no further effort at assault. The house in front, which had served as a hiding place for the enemy, was now fired by a shell from a howitzer, and the outhouses and palings were soon in a blaze. As all shelter was now taken from him, the enemy called in his troops and started back for Hampton. As he had left sharpshooters behind him in the woods on our left, the Dragoons could not advance until Captain Hoke, of Company K, First North Carolina Volunteers, had thoroughly explored them.

As soon as he gave assurance of the road being clear, Captain Douthatt, with some one hundred dragoons, in compliance with Colonel Magruder's orders, pursued. The enemy, in his haste, threw away hundreds of canteens, haversacks, overcoats, etc.; even the dead were thrown out of the wagons. The pursuit soon became a chase, and for the third time the enemy won the race over the New Market course.

The bridge was torn up behind him, and our dragoons returned to camp. There was not quite eight hundred of my regiment engaged in the fight, and not one half of these drew trigger during the day.

All remained manfully at the post assigned them, and not a man in the regiment behaved badly. The companies not engaged were as much exposed, and rendered equal service with those participating in the fight. They deserve equally the thanks of the country. In fact, it is the most trying ordeal to which soldiers can be subjected, to receive a fire which their orders forbid them to return. Had a single company left its post our works would have been exposed, and the constancy and discipline of the unengaged companies cannot be too highly commended.

A detachment of fifteen cadets from the North Carolina Military Institute defended the howitzer under Lieutenant Hudnall, and acted with great coolness and determination.

The Confederates had in all 1,200 men in the action.

The enemy had the regiments of Colonel Duryea (Zouaves), Colonel Carr, Colonel Allen, Colonel Bendix, and Colonel Winthrop (Massachusetts), from Old Point Comfort, and five companies of Phelp's Regiment, from Newport News. We had never more than 300 actively engaged at any one time.

The Confederate loss was eleven wounded—of these one mortally.



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