miles from Stony Creek Station
on the Petersburg and Weldon railroad and a short distance from Sappony church.
undertook to break through our lines shortly after dark by making a most determined assault with his dismounted cavalry and horse artillery.
We gave him a warm reception and drove him back.
He renewed the attack at intervals throughout the night, always with the same result; when we would lay down behind the line of breastwork—thrown up on the shortest notice—of fence rails, logs, rocks or any old thing in reach that would stop bullets and relieved each other with naps of sleep, always, however, with their guns ready to fire at their sides.
Up we would jump on the approach of Wilson
's lines and pour a volley from the Enfield rifles into their ranks in the dark, which Wilson
's men could not stand.
This was kept up all night — a most remarkable combat.
Now let me give the facts of an incident that came within the knowledge of the couriers, for we were active participants.
Some time after midnight General Butler
rode down our lines to the right to reconnoitre.
He came upon the Thirteenth Virginia cavalry, commanded by that slendid specimen of a soldier, Lieutenant-Colonel Phillips
. Colonel Phillips
informed General Butler
that the Yankees
had one of their batteries in the yard of the mother of one of his men, Young Eppes
That the young man, born and raised there, was thoroughly familiar with the locality, and could pilot a column on the west side of the swamp, pass Wilson
's left and get in his rear.
sent for the young man and learned from him that a flank movement was practicable.
reported this to General Hampton
, saying that if he was furnished with one hundred picked men he would get in Wilson
's rear before daylight.
rather reluctantly consented but directed General Butler
to select his men and undertake the movement.
The selecting and organization of the 100 men was the of a very short time.
We moved off with young Eppes
by General Butler
's side at the head of the column, with officers and couriers immediately at their heels.
Passing down the swamp as quietly as mice, protected from view by the darkness and dense thicket, we moved through a level broom sage