War of the Rebellion: Serial 005 Page 0224 Chapter XIV. OPERATIONS IN MD., N. VA., AND W. VA.

Search Civil War Official Records

Numbers 5. Reports Brigadier General Henry R. Jackson, C. S. Army, and response from Secretary of War.


The enemy attacked us at 8 o'clock this morning in considerable force, estimated at 5,000, and with six pieces of artillery of longer range than any we have. After a hot fire of four and a half hours, and heavy attempts to charge our lines, he was repulsed, evidently with considerable loss. We had no cavalry to pursue him on his retreat. The loss on our side has been inconsiderable. A fuller report will be given through the regular channels, but for several days my correspondence with General Loring has been interrupted. The enemy's force was much superior to ours, but we had the advantage in position.


Brigadier-General, Commanding.



COLONEL: In my note of the 3rd instant I gave you a brief account of the attack made that day upon pour position by the enemy. Advancing along the turnpike with a heavy column, composed of infantry, artillery, and cavalry, numbering, at a safe estimate, from 6,000 to 7,000 men, he drove in our advance pickets at an early hour in the morning. About 7 o'clock he encountered the main body of the advance guard, re-enforced to about 100 strong, and posted on the right side of the turnpike, 1 mile from our line, by Colonel Edward Johnson, of the Twelfth Georgia Regiment, who took command in person. You will find this position designated upon the accompanying map by the capital letter E.

It is but justice to this superior office and to the gallant band whose movements he directed to say that it would not have been possible for so small a force to have been more skillfully handled, or to have exhibited more obstinate courage in the face of numbers so overwhelming. They held of it a galling fire in check for nearly an hour, pouring into the head of it a galling fire, not withdrawing until six pieces of artillery had opened briskly upon them, and full battalions of infantry were outflanking them on the right, and then retiring in such order and taking such advantage of the ground as to reach our camp with but trifling loss. To this brilliant skirmish, in which Colonel Johnson had his horse killed under him, is doubtless to be ascribed in a measure the exhilarated spirit manifested by our troops during the remainder of the day. Before taking leave of it and referring to formed dispatches, I would beg once again to direct to Colonel Edward Johnson the special attention of the commanding general, not simply for this peculiarly brilliant service, but for his gallant, and efficient conduct throughout the entire engagement. So soon as it had become apparent that the enemy contemplated a systematic attack upon our camp, I disposed of my entire force to meet it. To convey a correct idea, not simply of that disposition, but of the subsequent action, I must pray reference to the accompanying map, for which I am indebted to Lieutenant-Colonel Barton, of the Third Arkansas Regiment.

As I have already reported to you, our position is not by nature a commanding one. The causes of its weakness are the necessity of