's raid in Grant
's rear, and capture of a large number of prisoners and cattle, seems to have been a very handsome affair.
He left Petersburg
on Wednesday morning with Barringer
's and Dearing
's brigades of cavalry, and Graham
's and McGregor
's batteries of artillery.
Camping at Duval's mills, eighteen miles from the city, in Sussex county
, that night, he resumed the march on Thursday morning, passing within three miles of Stony creek
, and thence across the Jerusalem plankroad to the Norfolk
The raid was undertaken to secure a drove of cattle grazing at Coggin's Point, in Prince George county
, and the nearest force of the enemy to it was at Sycamore church.
It was determined to attack that force at daylight on Friday morning. The Petersburg Express
All necessary disposition of the troops having been made, General Lee
's division guarding every channel of approach to prevent reinforcements coming from a distance, an attack was ordered upon the enemy just before daylight Friday morning. His left, near Sycamore church, rested upon a hill, well fortified and protected by abattis.
His right, some two miles distant, at Cox's mill
, was protected by a series of breastworks and rifle-pits.
the right, simultaneously, and with like result.
The attack was a surprise to the enemy, and their position was carried with a rush.
The charge of our men at both points is represented to have been faultless.
On the enemy's right, Dearing
's men swept like an avalanche over their works, meeting with a rapid but irregular and momentary fire of musketry, which only served to increase their ardor and enthusiasm.
So sudden and rapid was the assault, that the Yankees
rushed from their tents en dishabille,
and were enabled to make comparatively but a feeble resistance.
took thirty-five prisoners, five or six teams, and the enemy's camp.
Demoralized and panic-stricken, the balance of the enemy fled in great disorder to Sycamore church, where, finding General Rosser
in possession of their works, they immediately surrendered.
On their left, at Sycamore church, the enemy was much more strongly fortified.
He held position on a hill with formidable barricades in his front.
demanded a surrender; but the Yankee
commandant, seemingly conscious of his ability to hold his position, returned a positive refusal, with the additional remark that he intended to fight to the last.
determined to give him a chance, and ordered his men to charge.
They obeyed the command with great cheerfulness and gallantry.
They reached the barricades, pulled them to pieces, leaped over and through them, and reached the enemy's work in face of a heavy fire, which, fortunately, did little execution.
A number of prisoners were taken, including Major Baker
, of the First District of Columbia cavalry, commanding.
As soon as General Rosser
reached their position, the Yankees
scattered in all directions, and fled from the place in the most precipitate manner.
It was here that the men who fled before General Dearing
were made to surrender.
took about two hundred and fifty prisoners and several valuable teams, in addition to the enemy's camp.
The prisoners captured by Generals Rosser
belonged to the First District of Columbia cavalry, commanded at the time by Major Baker
.--They were armed with sixteen-shooters, many of which weapons fell into the hands of the captors and were safely brought off. The camps were prolific of delicacies and provisions.
Oranges, lemons, cigars, crackers, and good things and useful, were found in great profusion, and not a few of them were secured.
Everything not brought off was destroyed, and we learn much more was destroyed than secured on account of a lack of transportation.
The following note to Grant
's chief commissary was found in Major Baker
"I have the honor to report the arrival of two thousand four hundred and eighty-six head of cattle here.
I have this day moved them from Coggin's Point
, as the grazing in this vicinity is the finest in the country.
I only fear it will not hold out long enough.
The cattle are in splendid order.
"J. S. Baker
"Commanding First District Columbia cavalry."
The cattle being secured, and the object of the expedition being accomplished, our forces started on their return home.
were in the advance of the captures, and General Lee
brought up the rear.
The cattle stretched out for a distance of four or five miles, but were moved and guarded in the most systematical manner.
The captured wagons were loaded with seed oats
and other stores captured from the Yankees
Everything progressed favorably until the arrival of the head of the column at Belsches's mill, on the Jerusalem plankroad, eighteen miles from town, where the Yankee General Gregg
, commanding two divisions of cavalry, confronted it.
was drawn up in battle array immediately across Hampton
's road, and it was found necessary to give him battle.
were ordered to attack at once, which they did in the most determined style, forcing the Yankees
back in the direction of Petersburg
one mile and a half. They retreated across a creek at this point, burning a bridge to prevent pursuit.
Here they planted a battery and opened fire upon our troops, while the main body of their forces took a road to the left in order to flank us. They were met by General Lee
, who, after a sharp fight of an hour, completely routed them.
's and McGregor
's batteries were in the meantime brought up and placed in front of the Yankee
battery, and such was the precision of their fire that they soon silenced it, and compelled its removal.
's conflict with the Yankee
cavalry was one of the most decisive of the war. He not only defeated, but routed them, and caused them to retreat in the most shameful confusion.
Cheered by their brilliant success in the capture of cattle, prisoners and stores, and determined to bring them safely into our lines at all hazards, his men went into battle with a will which made them irresistible.
charged time and again, but were repulsed all around with considerable loss.
They were compelled to retire at last, and allow our column to pursue the even tenor of its way.
After the disastrous and ignominious defeat of Gregg
continued his course towards our lines, and arrived in camp without further interruption at six o'clock on Saturday morning. He brought everything safely with him, losing only some twenty or thirty cattle from fatigue.
These cattle were brought through town yesterday afternoon, and have been placed in a position secure from Yankee raiders.
During the return of the expedition from Prince George, General Kantz
followed in Lee
's rear with fifteen hundred men and four pieces of cannon, but he at no time came within shooting distance.
At one time General Lee
halted, and fed and watered his animals.
But we understand from good authority that after the battle at Belsches
turned his troops loose upon the citizens of Prince George and robbed and pillaged them generally in revenge for our success.
This is poor revenge for a brave man to take.
In the fight at Sycamore church and Cox's mill
three hundred fine Yankee horses were captured, which will be put to useful service in the Confederate army.