War of the Rebellion: Serial 002 Page 0380 OPERATIONS IN MD., PA., VA., AND W.VA. Chapter IX.

Search Civil War Official Records

leaving I received aa message from Colonel Richardson, stating that his brigade was drawn up in column on the road, and that he wished me to pass him with the battery, but to remain near him, and that we would constitute the rear guard. This was accordingly done, but a mass of stragglers collected around the guns, and could not be prevailed upon to pass them or move without them. I was thus constrained to move forward until some 2,000 or 3,000 men interposed between us, when I received a message from Colonel Richardson, stating that a force of the enemy's cavalry and horse artillery was in our rear and threatening an attack. I now drew up at the side of the road-to turn back in such a crowd was impossible-and only by representing that the rear was about being attacked could I urge them forward. On Colonel Richardson's coming up, he stated that the demonstration of the enemy was very feeble, and we saw them no more. It is but just to say that the disorder and mob-like mixture of the volunteers did not appear to proceed from fear, but from sheer fatigue. They were footsore, lame, hungry, and tired, but seemed to be in good heart, and on my representing that it was important that a certain position in our advance should be occupied, some of Blenker's German and of Montgomery's New Jersey regiments formed in good order and took the position indicated. Had we been attacked by any force, I have little doubt that a stout resistance would have been made.

The officers of the battery [Lieuts. E. R. Platt and James Thompson, Second Artillery, commanding sections] performed all the duties devolving upon them with promptness, skill, and gallantry. Their labors in bringing the battery into good condition had been untiring, and to the thoroughness of the instruction they had imparted to their sections before they were dismounted in Texas is mainly attributable the efficiency with which the pieces were served on the field and the successful result of the action.

First Lieutenant Presley O. Craig, Second Artillery, on sick leave on account of a badly-sprained foot, which prevented his marching with his own company, having heard of the sickness of my second lieutenant, volunteered for the performance of the duties, and joined the battery the day before it left Washington. He was constantly and actively employed during the night preceding and on the day of the battle, and his services were very valuable. When the enemy appeared he exerted himself in perfecting the preparations to receive him, and conducted himself with the greatest gallantry when the onset was made. He fell early in the action, whilst in the active discharge of his duty, receiving a shot in the forehead, and dying in a few minutes afterwards. This was the only casualty in the battery.

Cadet John R. Meigs, of the U. S. Military Academy, being in Washington on furlough, also volunteered his services, and was employed actively from the time he joined at Washington until the close of the battle. On the death of Lieutenant Craig, Cadet Meigs performed his duties until the close of the action with spirit and intelligence, and was very useful, after the affair was over, in conveying orders, observing the enemy, and rallying our troops.

Lieutenant Edwards commanded his section with skill and efficiency, and I can indorse the favorable report he makes of his lieutenants, Benjamin and Babbitt, and of the conduct of his men.

The behavior of the men of my battery was all that could be desired. They were cool, collected, prompt, and obedient, and not an instance of misconduct or neglect occurred during the action in the whole battery.