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[585] otherwise rendering it unserviceable for immediate use.

Leaving Frederickshall on Monday, they crossed the Central Railroad and divided into two detachments, one moving in the direction of James River Canal, and the other of Ashland, where it spent Monday night.

The force penetrated yesterday (Tuesday A. M.) to the farm of John A. Seddon, Secretary of War, in Goochland County; burned his barn and stable, and it is reported by escaped men that his dwelling-house was in flames. They burned all the flour and saw-mills in the vicinity, including the Dover flour-mills and barns, and the mills of Stanard & Morson; destroyed a number of freight and other boats in the canal, and did considerable damage to the iron-works at Mannakio. The only damage done to the canal beside the destruction of boats, was cutting the lock at Simpson. General H. A. Wise was at the time on a visit to his son-in-law, whose farm adjoins that of Secretary Seddon, but fortunately became apprised of their approach in time to make his escape. He arrived in the city yesterday.

The other detachment, that came to Ashland, was accompanied by a battery of artillery, and approached on the Brook turnpike, about six miles north-west of the city, yesterday morning. They were promptly met and kept in check, and finally handsomely repulsed, by a portion of engineer troops under Colonel W. H. Stephens, who manned a few sections of light artillery. A duel ensued, and shots were exchanged for about two hours. The enemy then withdrew in the direction of Mechanicsville, burning the trestle-work of the Central Railroad across the Chickahominy in their retreat. Our loss in the fight on the Brook road was one killed and six or seven wounded, but we are unable to learn their names. Neither the force nor the loss of the enemy is yet ascertained, as they carried their dead and wounded with them. We captured two prisoners, who were committed to Libby Prison.

During the retreat of this column they threw two or three shells at the dwelling-house of the Hon. James Lyons, which exploded in the yard without damage. They stopped the carriage of Mr. John P. Ballard, took out both the horses, and carried off the horses of Mr. Goddin. The latest report we have from. this retreating column is, that they had halted five or six miles from the city to take refreshments. They are probably endeavoring to make their escape by way of the White House. We omitted to mention a report that they saluted Camp Lee with a few shells, but this lacks confirmation.

The detachment that went to Goochland, according to the statement of an escaped prisoner, included a large body of negroes, mounted and armed. They seized and brought with them a considerable number of negroes as they passed through the country, as well as a large number of horses, which were brought into requisition whenever others were exhausted and gave out. Before leaving the Central Railroad they impressed into service a negro guide, to pilot them to the vicinity of the city, where they intended and expected to arrive last night, to effect a junction, probably, with a column from the direction of Ashland. The negro, however, intentionally or ignorantly piloted them in a wrong direction, and they landed in Goochland, as above stated, about daylight yesterday, for which they hung him yesterday morning.

It is reported that a detachment from this column went to the river at Mannakin's Ferry, it was believed with the intention of crossing it, if practicable, and coming over on the south side. Whether they succeeded or not we have not learned. Some of the privates expressed regret at the burning of houses, but said they acted under orders. A negro belonging to Stanard was captured, and, after being with them all day, feigned sickness, and being sent off under guard, three of our pickets galloped up and captured the Yankee, and released the negro.

About three o'clock yesterday afternoon, the enemy advanced toward the city by the Westham or River road, evidently the same force that went to Goochland. They formed into line of battle not far above the city, and, from the brisk firing of musketry heard in that direction about dusk, it is supposed that a fight occurred. The enemy were afterward reported to have been repulsed. Several prisoners were brought in about eight o'clock last night. Up to the late hour of writing this we learned no particulars.

The body of raiders is under command of General Kilpatrick, celebrated in connection with the raid of last spring, over very much the identical route. Besides the general destruction of property, one of the principal objects of the raid was evidently the release of the prisoners in this city, but the plan miscarried by the treachery or ignorance of this negro guide. It is not to be supposed that it would have been successful, had it been otherwise. The whole force is estimated at about two large brigades, and whatever the object, they have won a title to considerable boldness, to say the least of it.

Later.--Last night at about a quarter past ten o'clock, brisk artillery-firing was heard in the direction of Meadow Bridges or Mechanicsville, which continued half an hour. It proceeded, doubtless, from the column that retreated in that direction. It was reported that a skirmish occurred earlier in the night on the Westham road, in which the enemy charged Hurley's battalion and the Twenty-eighth Virginia regiment, who were in charge of the main body, and were repulsed. We heard of no casualties.

An official communication received last night, expresses the opinion that Meade is advancing against General Lee. The same opinion is entertained in a high official quarter. If Meade means fight, it may begin to-day, the weather permitting, though it may be only a demonstration in favor of the raid on the city.

Another account.

Richmond, March 4, 1864.
In concluding our report yesterday, we stated

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