From the Richmond Sentinel, Thursday, 3/3/1864
Our last account represented the column of the enemy that had been repulsed on the Brook Turnpike, as having crossed the Chickahominy in full retreat, and having encamped on Tuesday night near Mechanicsville. They were attacked in camp by Gen. Hampton, who put them to flight, with the capture of seventy or eighty, and a large number of horse. The remainder yesterday made their way down towards Piping Tree Ferry on the Pamunkey.
The column that appeared on the road that comes into the city from the West, lost no time after their repulse on Tuesday night in hastening after their comrades of the other column. On yesterday they crossed the Chickahominy, and at half-past four in the afternoon found themselves confronted at the Old Church by a small of Colonel Bradley T. Johnston's Maryland Cavalry.
The Yankees in desperation, charged through by mere weight of Numbers; with a loss of several killed and wounded, and about thirty prisoners remaining in our hands. They then pursued their way towards the Piping Three Ferry. We had two men wounded, of whom, we are pained to say, Lieut. Ditty was shot in both eyes.
Thus passed away Kilpatrick's second attempt at raiding into Richmond. he has been pretty well hackled by our forces having lost, probably, at least one-tenth of his force in killed and captured. As far as the grand object of his undertaking were concerned, he has reason of feel very foolish. Prisoners say it was the design of the Brooke Turnpike column to attract our whole force, and leave the river-side column to make a dash at Belle Island, and liberate the Yankee prisoners there. They have failed in everything, except some temporary damage to our railroads, the burning of some barns and mills, the seizure of some horses, the hanging of one negro, and the stealing of some spoons. For these he has paid, probably, two hundred and fifty picked men, and he has thoroughly broken down the rest, both men and horses, for a time.
Of the damage to the railroads the extent is not yet known. The Fredericksburg road has had one of its engines re-burnt; it was burnt in the former raid - and three or four small gondolas. The Center road is though to have suffered considerably.
As if waiting for Kilpatrick to get through, Bulter is understood to be moving again. Some of his cavalry appeared yesterday at Tunstall's Station, it is said; and it is alleged that a heavy co-operating column of infantry (twelve regiments), are at the Burnt Ordinary, in New Kent. Perhaps it is well he should come while our hand is in.
SKIRMISH ON THE WESTHAM ROAD.
We have obtained some particulars of the skirmish with the enemy to which we referred on yesterday, on the Plank Road, about three miles West of Richmond, on Tuesday evening. The troops engaged on our side were composed wholly of our city organization, who, on this occasion, had their first encounter with the enemy. The forces of the latter were about five hundred picket men, of five regiments of Gregg's cavalry, with two pieces of artillery. The artillery was not brought into action.
The Tredegar Battalion, Maj.---, was the first to come into collision with the enemy. As the battalion was ascending the hill which descends from Benjamin Green's house, the Yankees, who were coming over it, suddenly appeared close at hand. The meeting was unexpected, and found our men unprepared for it, many of our guns being unloaded. The enemy deployed under the shelter of a piece of wood, and our men got into such line as they could in the open field. Volleys were exchanged, from which the Yankees suffered most, and were made to give ground. They subsequently made a charge under which the battalion recoiled and made a rapid and broken retreat, and took no further part in the operations. The enemy pressed vigorously, making an attempt to cut off the men, but with indifferent success. Some were captured, but afterwards released, as the enemy could not afford to be encumbered with prisoners. Five horses and two head soldiers left on the field show that the fire of our men was not without effect. On our side Lieutenant John Sweeney and private blunt were killed. Much allowance is to be made for the circumstances under the battalion went into action. As it was, the enemy were the greatest suffers.
The enemy's column now came forward with celerity, expecting to find no further obstacle to their progress. The departmental and quartermaster's battalion, who were following the march of the Armory Battalion, suddenly beheld the approach of the enemy. Capt John McAnerny, of company B. Departmental Battalion, who was in command of the whole as ranking officer present, swiftly deployed his lines to the right and left of the road, and had barely time to order out his skirmishers before the cavalry charged him. They charged down on both sides of the road. They came yelling, and rattling their sabres and firing their carbines, their officers vociferating to them to "charge the ---rebels! Cut them down! They are nothing but mellish!" It was already quite dark, and growing more so, so that object were with difficulty distinguished. Our skirmishers' line waited until the enemy were very near, and, pouring in a beautiful fire, retreated to the main line. The enemy pressed on, our men reserving their fire until the word of command, when they delivered it at close quarters and with admirable effect. The enemy was checked and broken, and a couple of volleys more drove him from the field in flight.
Our troops deserve very high praise for making so gallant a debut under circumstances so perplexing and a call so sudden. They repulsed and drove back a greater number of the enemy's picked veterans. Our loss is stated in the following:
OFFICERS - Killed: Captain A. Ellery, Co. D. Wounded: Lieutenant R. A. Matthews, Co. D. slightly; Acting Lieutenant R. A. Tompkins, face and arm slightly.
PRIVATES - D. T. Carter, Co. A, slightly; F. M. Cary, Co. D. slightly in face; J. W. Burson and --- McIndoe, Co. D., both slightly; S. M. Levin, Co. F., slightly in leg; R. B. Green, Co. F, in hand; Miles Cary, Co. K, sabre cut on shoulder; Gray Doswell, Co. K, shot through the thigh (flesh wound). Missing; Private T. Y. Catlett, Co. I.
The fierceness of the charge which the Department Battalion met in line of battle is evidenced by the sabre cuts received. Several of the enemy rode through our lines, and were shot down or captured.
Of the loss of the enemy we cannot speak with positive precision. They collected eighteen of their wounded at Mr. Green's house, in the rear of the fighting. Seven of these they afterwards carried away with them. Four of their dead were picked up on the battle-ground yesterday morning, as also several wounded. Of the latter, three died in a few hours, and another is evidently mortally wounded. Some indication of the casualties is given in the ten dead horses that lay near here.
The loss of the enemy in the two skirmishes may be set down at the killed, one mortally wounded and seventeen disabled by their wounds, of whom ten are prisoners. Besides these a number of prisoners were taken, fifteen horses killed, and several captured. A pretty fair start, for Henley's Battalion fought against a superior force of veterans, in the dark, and without notice, or time to get ready! They had no support from regular troops, for, though some were near at hand, they did not arrive till the fight was over.
After their repulse the enemy went back by the road they had come until they reached the Ridge Church. Here they struck off to the right and made for Hungary Station, on the Fredericksburg railroad, reaching that point about daybreak. They seized a citizen of the neighborhood and demanded that he should pilot them; but leading through a piece of pines he made his escape, and left them to find their way out as best they could. The Yankees unquestionably hung a negro, belonging to Mr. Weems, whom they had as a pilot, but who led them astray by getting lost himself.
As an incident of the fight near Richardson's farm, and of the dankness which prevailed, we may mention, that a Yankee charged the fence just where it passed on the edge of a deep pit of an abandoned ice-house. Horse and rider went in; the former was killed by the fall, the latter drawn out a prisoner the next morning.
A HUNGRY SET.
The prisoners captures represent the raiders to be nearly famished, their rations having given out. On Monday last, a party of eight entered the residence of John B. Young, Esq., and demanded dinner. This happening to be ready at the time, they immediately took seats at the table and eat voraciously. While a squad of them were being escorted to the Libby prison, they got permission of the guard to buy some bread, which they devoured with eagerness.
THE PRISONERS CAPTURED.
Up to six o'clock last evening, one hundred and fifty prisoners had been received at the Libby prison, representing twelve regiments. Among them were Col. A. C. Litchfield, 7th Michigan cavalry; Capt. John A. Clarke, 7th Michigan, and Surgeon S. T. Kinston, 2d New York cavalry, captured near Mechanicsville.
Twelve prisoners were brought down on the Danville train yesterday, having been captured in Goochland county by Lieut. K. G. (unreadable) ___ing officer of that county, and others. They made a show of resistance, but were soon brought to their senses by a shot from the Lieutenant, who killed one on the spot, having previously been shot at twice by one of them.
We understand that about three hundred horses have been captured by our troops and citizens. Most of them, however, are in a very bad condition, their riders having turned them loose and taken others in their stead from our farmers on the route.
A CAPTAIN SLAIN.
One of the Yankees slain by the Henley battalion in the late fight was a captain; one of the prisoners say his name was Smith.
STOLEN SILVER, ETC.
One of the prisoners, on being searched at the Libby prison yesterday, was found to be possessed of two forks and a spoon, of pure silver, and a beautiful China dish, which he said was doubtless stolen by some of the party, but not by himself. On one of the forks were the initials "J. M. M.," supposed to be the property of J. M. Morson, of Goochland county. These articles are in the custody of Major Turner, who will take pleasure in handing them over to the rightful owner.
To the kindness of Major Turner and his accommodating assistants we are indebted for various acts of courtesy.