Picket firing was constant and animated along our whole front yesterday, being much more brisk than on any former occasion, and which at one period gave promise of service engagement.
On the right the discharges of musketry were regular and lively, but towards the centre the engagement between outposts was very warm and animated.
On Tuesday night four companies of the 9th Virginia were sent out to the right of the York River Railroad, above the 6th mile post, and at 3½ A. M., yesterday, the enemy, discovering their approach, opened a brisk fire upon them with musketry and artillery.
Being supported by the 14th and 53rd Virginia, these also were deployed as skirmishers, and the bush fight with little intermission was kept up all day — artillery being occasionally used on both sides.
Towards evening, however, the enemy being largely reinforced, made great demonstrations and hard pressed our pickets, but the 3d Georgia and some other troops arriving on the ground, boldly dashed upon and charged the enemy, driving them from their position fully one mile, and with loss.
It is said that in this irregular bush fight we lost some forty killed and wounded, the enemy having not less than 300 hors de combat.
The conduct of our troops is said to have been bold and spirited, advancing on the enemy with great coolness, and dealing destruction among them with great ardor.
It may be that these continual picket encounters, increasing, as they do, daily in intensity, may precipitate an engagement.
It is said, indeed, that we may look for a severe encounter to-day.--The indications are, however, that it will, if at all, only prove a partial and not a general and decisive one.
The conduct of the Virginians and Georgians yesterday is highly spoken of by those who were immediately upon the ground, and had opportunities of witnessing it.