Tuesday, May 27, 1862: “Cloudy and raining,” wrote Minutemen of Attala Private Mike Hubbert. “We had quite a picket fight this morning.”
Six of the Winston Guards, sent out at noon as scouts, according to Private Thomas David Wallace, got into a skirmish with some Federal pickets which “lasted until about 3 o’clock….Toward the last the firing got so hot that our company had to reinforce. Our boys went up in about 100 yards of our scouts and halted in a ravine up the river.”
Hubbert said the Minutemen were also sent to the scouts’ relief:
“The Yankees came at us with renewed strength and courage. A warm little fight opened which, after about an hour’s fighting, resulted in the repulse of the Yankees. We killed 15 of them including one Major.”
Two of the scouts, including Private Joshua L. Moore, a 23-year-old merchant, “were slightly wounded,” according to Quartermaster clerk William H. Hill.
There was more firing between the two sides in the evening “but it didn’t last long,” Wallace wrote in his diary.
The next day, Wednesday, the Griffith Brigade’s 17th Mississippi Infantry Regiment relieved the 13th on picket duty. The latter retired to a supporting distance of about half a mile but stayed in line-of-battle formation.
“Heavy firing on our left,” wrote Hubbert. “which has been going on for three hours, also two balloon ascensions.”
Actually, according to his own reports, the Union’s chief aeronaut, Professor Thaddeus Lowe, had ascended for observations of the enemy on the 27th and again on the 29th.
“To the north, near the Pamunkey River, was the heavy cannonading and musketry, but the distance and heavy woods prevented me from seeing the detail movements. The enemy in and around Richmond are apparently very strong in numbers,” Lowe wrote to his military superiors at the topographical engineers.