War of the Rebellion: Serial 031 Page 0027 Chapter XXXIII. SKIRMISH AT LEEDS' FERRY, VA.

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darkness of the night. The picket at the point C, as well as the parties engaged in making searches in the vicinity, escaped. Captain Wilson, with 46 of his men, fell into the hands of the enemy, and it is supposed were immediately taken across the river. As the whole party, with one exception, were made prisoners, I found it impossible to ascertain whether the usual precautions against a surprise were taken. Colonel Gregg and Lieutenant Baker think they must have been, as Captain Wilson is one of the best officers in his regiment, and has always hitherto proved himself faithful and vigilant in the discharge of his duties. His party was far from support, being some 20 miles from his regiment, the nearest troops, and he was in an unfriendly neighborhood, where, perhaps, without exception, the citizens closely watched the location of his command and its sentinels, and were eager to disclose the same to the enemy, and to do all in their power to bring about the capture of the party. It is believed some resistance must have been made to the attack, as one of the wounded of the enemy was discovered in Leeds the next day, by a detachment of our troops, and paroled. Colonel Gregg expects to recover nearly all the carbines of the party, as he learns from some negroes that they were left secreted in Leeds by the enemy. The horses and pistols were, doubtless, carried off.

The facts with reference to the disposition of Captain Wilson's command I have gathered from Lieutenant Baker, who was with the captain until late in the evening of December 1.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. WILLIAMS,

Brigadier-General and Assistant Adjutant-General.

Major General AMBROSE E. BURNSIDE.

No. 3. Report of Colonel R. L. T. Beale, Ninth Virginia Cavalry, and congratulatory letter from General Lee.

DECEMBER 2, 1862.

GENERAL: A detachment, under command of Major [T.] Waller, consisting of about 90 men, was sent over the river last night. The artillery, escorted by a squadron under my command, took position on this side, to deter any boats from interfering. Major Waller succeeded in crossing over 60 men only. The expedition was completely successful. The entire picket [49], including captain and lieutenant and 2 of Colonel [John] Critcher's battalion, held as prisoners, were taken and safely brought to camp. About 50 horses were captured, but many lost in crossing.

I have to regret the wounding of R. Byrd Lewis, private in Company C, by some of our own men, but am glad to add it is slight. Nothing new from Potomac. Several scouts now out.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. L. T. BEALE,

Colonel, Commanding.

[Major General J. E. B. STUART,

Commanding Cavalry Division.]