Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 08.djvu/14
Southern Historical Society Papers.
ment; but, after eight o'clock in the morning, I received from you a written order in these words: "Wait for Jackson's notification before you move, unless I send further orders." Up to this time my brigade was in the open fields near the banks of the stream, and in full view of the enemy's pickets on the other side. To deceive them as to my purpose, I now marched it back half a mile in the direction of my camp at Brooke church and masked it in the woods. At a few minutes before 10 o'clock A. M., I received from General Jackson a note informing me that the head of his column was, at the moment of his writing, "crossing the Central railroad." In less than ten minutes my column, which had been resting on its arms for six hours, was in motion and soon reached the north bank of the Chickahominy.
Placing the Seventh North Carolina regiment (Colonel R. P. Campbell) at the head of the column, with a section of Colonel Marmaduke Johnson's battery, and throwing forward the picket companies of that regiment, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Haywood, as skirmishers, I turned sharply to the right and directed my course down the river. The enemy retired before us, and offered no resistance until we approached Atlee's station, on the Central railroad. At that point a stand was made, but they were forced to flee precipitately, leaving behind a cavalry guidon, which fell into the hands of the Seventh regiment, and much personal baggage. Thence onward they resisted our advance at every favorable point, but with no other effect than to retreat without checking my march. Near Crenshaw's the road on which the column commanded by Major-General Ewell was advancing, and that on which I was advancing, approached within one-fourth of a mile of each other. The heads of our columns reached this point simultaneously; and after a short personal interview between General Ewell and myself, we proceeded on our respective routes. After dislodging the enemy from several ambuscades, with only a small loss to my command, I reached Meadow Bridge road, where I learned from stragglers that Major-General Hill had crossed the Chickahominy without opposition, with the remainder of the division, and gone on towards Mechanicsville, then distant about one and a half miles. A courier from the General soon assured me of the correctness of the information, and having drawn in my skirmishers, I made all haste to join him at Mechanicsville. My brigade reached the field about sunset, and halting it I rode forward over the field to report to the General for orders. I did not