CAMP MOUNTED RIFLES,
Williamsburg, Va., January 24, 1864.
COLONEL: I have the honor to report that, in accordance with your instructions received on the evening of the 22d instant, I left camp with 50 mounted men under command of Captain Hill, 40 dismounted men with Captain Harmon, and Captain Barnards company of 38 men joined me at the camp of the One hundred and thirty-ninth New York Infantry. We moved in direction of Twelve-Mile Ordinary, dismounted men taking the advance, marching through the fields, preventing any knowledge of a dismounted party being out- side. The cavalry took the advance beyond Six-Mile Ordinary. The infantry was secreted in the woods this side the Twelve-Mile Ordinary, with instructions to remain until the ensuing evening, guarding the rear, York River, and Diascond roads, and to capture all scouts and parties coming through, and reporting to me the next night at Hickory Neck Church. I made a detour to the left around the Burnt Ordinary, coming in the woods beyond in the rear, and secreting the dismounted men near the church.
Captain Hill advanced directly to Barhamsville, there parted with the 2 men he escorted out; thence scouting in direction of York River, took 2 prisoners with 2 horses, 2 mules, and 1 rifle. On his return he was fired into by an ambuscaded party. He returned the fire, but the woods and night prevented him from distinguishing their whereabouts. Sergeant Eddy was mortally wounded (since dead), Corporal Newby slightly wounded (both of the battery detail). A second volley was poured into him, when near the Twelve-Mile Ordinary; however, without any damage. The cavalry then returned to camp. On hearing the first firing the detachment of dismounted men were placed in position to receive the enemy as they approached the road through the woods, but instead the enemy moved across the woods, coming out upon the Diascond road.
At daylight they were heard approaching from the Ordinary. They came nearly to the woods; then diverged to the right across an open field, apparently making for the houses on the right. A small party secreted in the road, finding that they were moving away, immediately fired, when we made a charge. The soreness from walking so far, proximity to a ravine, and the woods prevented us from capturing them, although to escape they threw away their arms. One of them was wounded. We returned to the bivouac; immediately secreted ourselves in another part of the woods beyond. In about an hour a small party of the enemy returned, fired three or four volleys through the old bivouac, and retired. They were constantly scouting around all day, hunting up our pickets. Once or twice we fired at them. Our ignorance of the roads and by-paths prevented our getting near them. Toward evening we returned to the church, the pickets here capturing 1 of their scouts, who was attempting to crawl in upon us. The infantry met us at dusk. I placed them in the woods, and with Captain Harmons troop scouted through the adjoining woods, searching houses, & c. It being known that we were there, the men being foot-sore, I concluded to return to camp, which we approached by the York River road. One man dressed in military clothes was taken from a house where they were signaling from. His claims not to be a soldier.
The marching was very difficult, and a great deal of praise should be awarded to a body of foot-sore men, who marched so well and acted so bravely. Captain Barnards company of infantry did very efficient service in guarding the roads to the rear.
I remain, Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
EDGAR A. HAMILTON,
Major First New York Mounted Rifles.
Col. B. F. ONDERDONK,
First New York Mounted Rifles.
The Sergent Eddy, who was mortally wounded, was Edwin Eddy, 23, promoted to Sergeant a week before the expedition.