War of the Rebellion: Serial 002 Page 0089 Chapter IX. ENGAGEMENT AT BIG BETHEL, VA.

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Numbers 5. Report of Captain Judson Kilpatrick, Fifth New York Infantry.

HEADQUARTERS CAMP HAMILTON, June 11, 1861.

SIR: In accordance with your order, I have the honor to submit the following report of my command, acting as the advance guard on the evening of the 9th, and a brief account of my command during the engagement on the following day at the new county Bridge. I left camp with my command at 10 p. m., consisting of fifty men of Company H, one lieutenant (Cambreleng), for sergeants, and four corporals; Company I, Captain Barlett, one lieutenant (York), four sergeants, and two corporals. Crossed the river at Hampton half past 10 p. m., reached New Market Bridge at 1 a. m., threw out scouts in all directions, and waited for the main body, which arrived at 3 a. m.

According to your orders I advanced on the road to new County Bridge, the point where the enemy was report to have made a stand. A little before daylight, when within mile and a quarter for the bridge, we discovered the outlying picket guard of the enemy, and were challenged, "Who comes there? I replied, "Who stands there?" A horseman attempted to leave. Corporal Ellerson, of Company H, sprang in advance, directing him to halt. I, supposing the enemy to be in force, gave the command to fire and charge. In a moment the affair was over; twenty or third shots had been given and exchanged; the officer of the guard was captured and disarmed. At this time, hearing firing in the rear, and supposing that our rear guard was attacked, I returned to follow the main body, under Colonel Duryea, who was advancing by forced march in the direction of the firing, only to discover that by mistake our own forces, coming in different directions, and supposing each to be the enemy, had fired several shots before the mistake was discovered. I again advanced, and at 8 a. m. met with and drove in the picket guards of the enemy. I then detached a portion of my command, made an armed reconnaissance, and found the enemy with about from three thousand to five thousand men posted in a strong position on the opposition side of the bridge, three earthworks and a masked battery on the right and left, in advance of the stream thirty pieces of artillery and a large force of cavalry, all of which information I reported to you at once.

I was ordered to advance and engaged the enemy the enemy in throwing out skirmish on the right and left of the road leading to the bridge. We rapid advanced, supported by the advance guard of Colonel Duryea and three pieces of artillery, under Lieutenant Greble, of the Second Regiment U. S. Artillery. The enemy soon opened fire on us from the rifle cannon in front. We answered his discharges by a cheer and continued to advance, clearing all before us, till we reached a point just on the edge of the woods, where the fire was so hot and heavy that we were compelled to halt,a nd there we remained, as directed by Lieutenant-Colonel Warren, till that gallant officer had made dispositions to turn their flanks. The enemy flanks. The enemy's fire at this time began to tell upon us with great effect. My men were falling one after another, as was the case with the rest of the command.

After remaining in this about two hours, and our object having accomplished-numbers of our men being killed and wounded, having received a grape thorough my thigh, which tore off portion of the rectangle on Colonel Duryea's left shoulder, passed though my leg, and killed a soldier in my rear-I withdrew my men to the skirts of the