Correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch
Mathias' Point — engagement There — the enemy routed--nine Yankees certainly killed, &c.
Port Conway, Va., July 1.
Our hitherto quiet little county, which has almost grown proverbial for the peaceable and law-abiding character of its citizens, and so free from public commotions of any sort that it has been regarded by some of our neighboring counties as comparatively insignificant, has suddenly become the theatre of important military operations.
Point Mathias, fifteen miles below and in sight of Aquia Creek
, has for some time past been nursed by the enemy with steam-tugs, and occasionally with ships of a larger growth; but no serious attempt was made by the vandals to land and obtain a foothold possession of the Point
, until a few days ago. On Thursday last, a company of 75 Yankees landed under the guns of a steamer, and undertook the erection of a battery a few yards from the edge of a high bluff that overlooks the Potomac
for many miles either way. While these men were thus engaged, the guns of the steamer were constantly employed in throwing balls, bombs and grape-shot, in every direction through the surrounding country.--About six o'clock in the afternoon, a detachment of our troops, composed of the Sparta Greys
, Capt. Gouldin
, and the Potomac Rifles, Capt. Cox
, were sent forward to drive off the invaders.
Through a constant shower of grape shot and ball, these gallant Southerners moved forward to the execution of the perilous work assigned them.
The Greys taking the lead, soon came upon the enemy, and with their well-armed and steady rifle, soon succeeded in dispersing, and finally in driving off, their cowardly foes.
Upon the appearance of the retreating Yankees
upon the shore, and of our troops in close pursuit of them, the steam tugs began to move off, their remaining crew being evidently frightened at so near an approach of our rifles — The Yankees
upon shore, alarmed at this cruel desertion of their steamers to which they were fleeing for safety, cried out lusty in their distress, and only succeeded in bringing the tugs about by a threat to desert and join the Southern
The Sparta Greys kept up their fire upon the enemy all the while, killing a number, which were seen to fall from the boats.
One small boat, containing some three or four men, was completely cleared and afterwards seen floating down the river.
We could not ascertain correctly the extent of the damage sustained on the other side; but this we know, that not a man on our side received the slightest injury.
We know, too, from a reliable source, that at least nine of the enemy were killed, while a large number were badly wounded.
, in their hasty retreat, left upon and near the shore a number of sand bags, picks, spades and other implements useful in the erection of batteries, besides many cartridge boxes and a valuable rifle.
Thus ends the ‘"first chapter of Mathias
."’ The second, if called for, will be just like it, only a little more so.
Before I close, allow me to notice briefly a paragraph which appeared in a letter from this county in your issue of the 24th June The writer, in referring to a cavalry company that recently organized in the county, but which afterwards disbanded on account of circumstances beyond their control, not only does injustice to the worthy officer who acted as captain during the existence of the company, but indirectly casts an imputation up on its members, which I feel called upon to repel.
The company was originally formed as a guerilla force, and during its formation was regularly drilled as such by Dr. Richard H. Potts
, an officer in every respect qualified for the duties, except, perhaps, in that his physical condition was not adequate to the full performance at once of active service.
The company were all apprised of this by the Doctor
himself, and although it was desirable to have a man to lead us who was capable of greater endurance, yet, in view of his superior knowledge of tactics, the company, by a large majority, elected him captain.
This was a temporary election, held while the ranks were yet unfilled.
Subsequently, when more than the requisite number had been obtained, and at a full meeting of the company, Doctor
P. was unanimously chosen as the commanding officer
The first election was not unanimous, and some members at the time withdrew; but their withdrawal was owing to the fact that their favorite was not elected, and he left, as he publicly avowed at the time, because he was not chosen captain.
The company, many weeks after this, disbanded because there was no provision for guerilla service; and, when offered as regular cavalry, were rejected because there was already a sufficiency of that service in the State
And yet your correspondent states that the King George Cavalry
were disbanded for want of a qualified captain.
The sixty men who composed the company were of a different opinion.