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[291] command was but a remnant left from Gaines' Mill and Cold Harbor, and McCausland's had been in one continuous fight for ten days, and was therefore much dismounted, worn and weary. Of the two so-called brigades under Wharton, one was commanded by our gallant comrade, Colonel Aug. Forsberg, and had, under his leadership, been more than decimated in the fights around Richmond during the four weeks immediately preceding.

Had Hunter made a vigorous assault on the line through Judge Daniel's Rivermont farm, he could have marched directly into Lynchburg and burned the railroad bridges without successful resistance, for Early could not have spared a man from his line to oppose him. Wharton's two brigades were both east of the Blackwater, and between that stream and James river there was only the skirmish line of McCausland's cavalry, and a few old men in the trenches across the Rivermont farm. These old citizens, however, though entirely ‘muster free,’ either from age or physical infirmity, did good service. They remained in the trenches, though without equipment or even the scant comforts of the regular soldier, and were anxiously and gallantly awaiting the anticipated attack. Had it been made, they were ready to die in defence of their homes.

A reconnoissance was made by Averell on the 18th in the direction of Campbell Courthouse turnpike. It amounted to nothing, and he soon returned to the main lines. Beyond these two movements, picket firing and artillery duels, nothing was done until about 2:30 o'clock in the afternoon, when the infantry divisions of Sullivan and Crook commenced their advance upon Early's centre. This brought about for a short time a very active engagement. Our skirmish line was driven in upon the main body, as is usual in such cases, and the engagement was fairly general, and for a time very sharp. The enemy soon fell back into a new line, and there each side rested on their arms apparently for the night.

Early scarcely felt himself strong enough, before Rodes arrived, to attack the enemy on ground selected by them, but was courting an attack all day. The enemy's forces showed no signs of weakness or timidity, but the indications were that its movements were lacking in well-defined purpose, and there was obviously want of confidence on the part of the subordinate brigadiers in the major-general commanding. That this feeling prevailed amongst the division and brigade commanders is clearly observed on reading their official reports, in which they differ with him as to what was done and the causes of the failure to do more.

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