War of the Rebellion: Serial 002 Page 0103 Chapter IX. ENGAGEMENT AT BIG BETHEL, VA.

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the same time one or more companies approached by the road leading from Newport News. These forces were each advancing upon New Market Bridge from opposite directions, thinking I had crossed the bridge with my command. Upon observing their approach with a glass, I quietly retired from my position to a point in the rear three-quarters of a mile. The enemy approached the bridge, and when they suddenly came in sight of each other they (each mistaking the other for me) opened fire, and kept it up for some five minutes before they discovered their error. I was sitting on my horse near the bridge, and saw the firing plainly with my glass, but did not at the time know the cause, although I suspected it. At dusk I took up the march for Bethel Church, the enemy following me, and the next morning the fight opened.

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

W. H. WERTH.

Colonel J. B. MAGRUDER, Commanding Division.

One of the prisoners taken (since dead) stated that in this brush there were six killed and thirteen wounded, and corroborated all the above statements of my report.

W. H. WERTH.

CAMP YORKTOWN, June 13, 1861.

I beg leave to make the following report of the movement of the troops under my command at the battle of Bethel Church on the 10th instant:

By the order of E. B. Montague, major of the Virginia battalion at Bethel, my company, the Chatham Grays, was placed in the redoubt to the rear of the church to defend the right wing in case of a discomfiture. From this point I was detailed, by your orders, to take position at the ford on the creek, about one mile below the bridge. I crossed my command over the open field under a shower of shell and canister, which the enemy poured into us from their battery, but sustained no damage.

A portion of the Fifth New York Zouave Regiment (three companies) was at this time advancing down the opposite bank of the stream for the purpose of crossing the ford, and thereby turn our left flank. I saw the movement, and at once took double quick and made the distance of over a mile in about nine minutes, beating the zouaves, and getting in position at the ford in time to cause them to halt. I obstructed the ford in all conceivable ways by felling trees, &c., and then placed my first platoon on the northwest side, under cover of an old mill-dam, whilst my second platoon I placed in ambush on the opposite side, where the road leading to the ford could have been raked for four hundred yards with deadly effect.

At 10.10 o'clock one naval howitzer, with a detachment from the Howitzer Battalion, reported to me for duty. I at once placed the gun in position one hundred and twenty yards up the creek from my infantry, where I had a beautiful range for grape or canister on a spot in the try, where I had a beautiful range for grape or canister on a spot in the road on the opposite side of the stream over which the enemy would of necessity pass in attempting the passage of the ford. From this point I had the pleasure of getting one good shot at the enemy, which, from the sudden rout of the party at which it was aimed, must have, done much damage. I also threw down all the fences on either side of the creek, and cleared all the undergrowth and large timber, so that after the enemy had passed the range of the howitzer from its first