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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam)
Page 820 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA.

[CHAP. XXXI.

Cavalry, was mortally wounded at the head of his regiment. To the service he was a brave and devoted member. In him one of the brightest ornaments of the State has fallen.

This fire was kept up with terrible effect upon the enemy, and the position of the artillery being somewhat endangered, Early's brigade was sent to me by General Jackson as additional support. The enemy had advanced too far into the woods near the Dunkard church for the fire to be continued without danger of harming our own men. I accordingly withdrew the batteries to a position farther to the rear, where our own line could be seen, and ordered General Early to rejoin his division, with the exception of the Thirteenth Virginia Infantry, commanded by Captain F. V. Winston, which was retained as a support for the artillery. The artillery opened from its new position, at close range, upon the enemy with still more terrible effect than before. The Thirteenth Virginia Infantry, being within musket range, did telling execution. Early's division now pouring a deadly fire into their front, while the artillery and its support were bearing so heavily upon their flank, the enemy soon broke in confusion, and were pursued for half a mile along the Williamsport turnpike. I recognized in this pursuit part of Barksdale's and part of Semmes' brigades; and i also got hold of one regiment of Ransom's brigade, which I posted in an advantageous position on the extreme left flank after the pursuit had been checked by the enemy reserve artillery coming into action. Having informed General Jackson of what had transpired, I was directed by him to hold this advance position, and that he would send all the infantry he could get in order to follow up the success. I executed this order, keeping the cavalry well out to the left, and awaiting the arrival of re-enforcements. These re-enforcements were, however, diverted to another part of the field, and no further engagement took place on this part of the field beyond a desultory artillery fire.

On the next day it was determined, the enemy not again attacking, to turn the enemy's right. In this movement I was honored with the advance. In endeavoring to pass along up the river bank, however, I found that the river made such an abrupt bend that the enemy's batteries were within 800 yards of the brink of the stream, which would have made it impossible to have succeeded in the movement proposed, and it was accordingly abandoned.

The commanding general having decided to recross the Potomac, the delicate and difficult duty of covering this movement was assigned to Brigadier General Fitz. Lee, while I was directed to ford the river that afternoon with Hampton's brigade at an obscure ford, and, proceeding to Williamsport, cross the river again at that point, so as to create a diversion in favor of the movement of the army. Hampton's brigade did not reach the ford until dark, and, as the ford was very obscure and rough, many got over their depth and had to swim the river. The duty assigned to Brigadier General Fitz. Lee was accomplished with entire success, and he withdrew his command safely to the south side of the Potomac on the morning of the 19th.

Hampton's brigade crossed the Potomac a short distance above Williamsport, while a part of the Twelfth Virginia Cavalry dashed across the river immediately at Williamsport, chasing a few of the enemy's pickets from the place. I was also aided in this demonstration by a battalion of infantry under Captain W. W. Randolph, of the Second Virginia; also by a detachment of the Eleventh Georgia, and, it may be, by small detachments of other regiments, and a section of the Salem Artillery and one of the Second Company Howitzers. The bridge over the canal was destroyed, but a very good road was constructed without


Page 820 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam)
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