War of the Rebellion: Serial 002 Page 0192 OPERATIONS IN MD., PA., VA., AND W. VA. Chapter IX.

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was to charge upon them. The first information I received of the approach of the enemy, a gun was fired to our left, on the main road, and was immediately followed by another, and, with a short pause, the firing was again commenced about the same point, which was kept up regularly, the balls cutting around very near myself and men. My men were ordered to stand firm and hold their position. At this time some of the men of Captain Stanard's command, who were standing firmly at their piece, called out to their captain for orders, to know what they should do. Captain Stanard was at that time just to my right, standing behind a large tree. I then called out to him to go and man his piece, or order his men what to do. I then remarked to the men of my command that I would ride up near the road and know why it was that they did not return the fire of the enemy, as they were then firing upon us on our flank and rear, and, about the time that I arrived near the line of the infantry the command was given by Captain Stanard to limber up the howitzer, at which time it was moved rapidly off, and just at this time three of the enemy presented themselves in the rear of the cavalry, and were fired upon by them, killing two and wounding the third. The cavalry then dashed out in the direction that the howitzer had gone, thinking that it was a signal for a retreat. This was all done in moment. As soon as I saw they had retreated I rushed into the road, and went in the direction the howitzer and cavalry had gone, calling to the driver of the howitzer to halt his piece. He made no stop. I passe him, and threw myself in front of his horses and halted him. I will here state that the sergeant of the howitzer came rapidly up the road in pursuit of the piece, ordering the driver to carry it back. I accompanied it back down near the scene of action, when I learned that the enemy had fled, and had gotten a considerable distance. As I suppose, they retreated about the time the howitzer was run out. Then, for the first time, I learned that Colonel Dreux had been shot, and that his body was in charge of his men, together with the body of Private Hackett, belonging to the Shreveport Grays. There came up at the same time a private, wounded, whose name I did not know, and he was taken to his camp on the horse of one of the cavalry. I halted my men above Lee's store, and awaited the bodies of the dead. I then accompanied them to the camp at Young's Mills, in company with a portion of the howitzers and some of the infantry, where they were put in charge of the commandant of the post.

I dispatched, soon-after the engagement, a dragoon to you, to report what had taken place. During the whole of the firing none of the enemy were seen by the cavalry except the three that were shot, and there was not a gun fired after the cavalry left. We were surrounded by a dense thicket, that rendered it impossible for a man mounted to see one on foot until he had approached within a few yards. And, notwithstanding the critical situation in which they were placed, I have the utmost confidence in believing that the cavalry would have held their position until the last, if they had not believed that the moving of the howitzer was a signal for their retreat. The whole fire of the enemy seemed to be directed at the cavalry, as no shots, so far as I could ascertain, went in the direction of the infantry. I suppose the enemy learned the position of the cavalry from the noise made by their horses. no command was given during the engagement that I heard at all. In going thus into detail I have given, I think, a full and explicit account. All of which is most respectfully submitted.

WILLIAM COLLINS,

Captain Halifax Catawba Troop.

Brigadier-General MAGRUDER.