to Hunter's Mill, provided that when I approached Vienna I deemed it safe to do so. The object of the march was to ascertain, if possible, the location of the enemy's pickets, together with that of a force of their cavalry which was supposed to be lurking near the road from Vienna to Hunter's Mill. After leaving the orderlies detailed by Adjutant Douglass at General Porter's headquarters I proceeded to Minor's Hill (General Morell) and after having procured a guide started to Vienna via Falls Church. After marching about 2 mile I placed a guard of 12 men and 1 non-commissioned officer in advance of the squadron about 600 yards to act as advance guard. I also placed at equal distances apart, 2 in each place, 4 men between the advance guard and the main body. With all possible precaution we slowly approached Vienna, stopping at nearly every house on the road and making inquiries of all whom we met relative to the position and proceedings of the enemy. Just before entering Vienna, in accordance with a suggestion from the guide, I placed in the rear a guard the same as in front.
Upon arriving at Vienna, I halted the squadron and went several rods forward to make observations. I saw the road leading from Vienna to Hunter's Mill and conversed with the guide upon the subject of following it. Everything being quiet in and seemingly so around Vienna, we thought it but little dangerous to proceed to Hunter's Mill. After cantoning my men to be vigilant, keeping a watchful eye on both sides of the road and preparing ourselves, we started.
Before proceeding farther, I will state that the position of the officers was as follows: Captain Bell, Company F, in position as captain commanding squadron; Lieutenant Lane, Company M, center of squadron on right flank; Lieutenant Lodge, Company F, with advance guard; Lieutenant Ford, Company M, commanding fourth platoon.
I think we had proceeded about 1 mile on that road when I heard a report from a loaded piece, the report being repeated in quick succession five times. The alarm was at once given, the attack being made in the rear, and ran from left to right like an electric shock. Immediately after a volley was fired by the enemy, and some one in the rear cried out," Run for your lives; they're on us!"
Every one seemed seized with a panic, and a rush was at once made by the rear guard on the left of the squadron, and commencing on the left the horses started at a trot. I looked around (my horse being at a walk) and gave the command "Halt!" just previous to a second volley being fired on us. The enemy was then just behind us, and there was a general cry from the rear," Go forward," at which every one started at a full gallop. It was then utterly impossible to halt the men, so much confusion existing. We were marching in column of twos, the road being very narrow, and hemmed in on both sides with trees, we could only move forward, the enemy following us at full speed. We advanced about 1 mile, when the guide, by a right turn, led us in a new direction. I was then about the center of the fourth platoon, and after turning the corner stopped my horse, all in front running at full speed. I again gave the command "Halt!" and after a few efforts was successful in rallying about 20 men. I was just on the eve of giving instructions, when upon glancing around I observed a much larger body than the other coming from the direction in which we had previously been moving forward, and seeing that an attempt to defend ourselves would prove fruitless, I gave the command to retreat. We did so, the distance between us and the enemy remaining about the same. Firing at will on both sides was very heavy for several minutes. The road on which we were retreating was in miserable condition, and stumbling among the