It was understood among the troops that the cavalry of the command had received especial instructions to be followed on arriving at Richmond, assigning to each company or squadron some particular duty to perform, such as the capture of Jeff Davis, liberate prisoners at Libby, destroy certain public property, etc.
As previously stated, the column passed through Williamsburg at about half-past ten o'clock Saturday morning, February 6th. The battery continued the march until three o'clock on the morning of the 7th, when it had reached "New Kent Court-House." The infantry and artillery were here halted, and a rest until six o'clock a. m. taken. The night of the 6th was very dark, and, as the battery moved on the road through the woods it was necessary to keep a man with a lantern to the front to enable the drivers to keep in the road. It was impossible to see objects a few feet away, therefore drivers found it wise to keep well closed up. Nothing occurred during the night to vary the monotony of the march of the battery except as the column was passing through "Richardson's Mills" a rocket suddenly shot into the air and a bright light was seen at a distance through an opening in the woods, which were probably signals announcing to the enemy the approach of the force, as, upon the arrival of the cavalry at Bottom Bridge, Chickahominy River, at about daylight on the 7th (the cavalry did not halt with the command at New Kent Court-House), it was found to be impassable, and attempts to cross at the fords were met by a force of the enemy with artillery.
At six o'clock A. M. on the 7th, after three hours' rest, the battery moved with the command towards Bottom Bridge, and, about noon, met the cavalry returning.
The enemy was apparently informed of the move and the possibility of striking a blow "suddenly, silently, irresistibly," was at an end, therefore the command retraced its steps. The battery formed a part of the rearguard on the return march. A small force of the enemy's cavalry followed and was some-what annoying until a gun from the battery was put into action, firing four shells into their midst, which put an end to further demonstrations on their part. The battery reached its quarters at Yorktown at about four o'clock in the afternoon of the 9th of February, and the expedition ended minus the "glorious results " predicted in the general order of Brigadier-General Wistar before mentioned.
- Battery F. First Regiment Rhode Island Light Artillery In the Civil War
by Philip S. Chase,
Providence: Snow & Farnham, Printers, 1892.
|Area of operations- The Peninsula 1864|
Map from the David Rumsey Map Collection