War of the Rebellion: Serial 005 Page 0478 OPERATIONS IN MD.,N.VA., AND W.VA. Chapter XIV.

Search Civil War Official Records

picket of cavalry at Dranesville, and that the picket supposed by you to be near the river behind Dickey's had left. I then determined to send three companies of the Tenth and 20 cavalry with the foraging party to Gunnell's, between the pike and the river, and with the remainder of the force proceed to Dranesville, satisfied that, though I might be exceeding the letter of my instructions, should I find the enemy and pick up a few you would not object. This I did, though Colonel McCalmont, hearing that there was a large force on our left, remained with his part of a regiment, and that detained the two regiments behind him. I had sent for them, but was obliged to enter Dranesville with my artillery and cavalry and a small advance guard only on the road, the First Rifles and Colonel Jackson's regiment flanking this column in the woods on the right and left. The cavalry picket in town fled and scattered and remained in small squads watching.

While waiting in Dranesville for the regiments in the rear to come up, I posted my artillery and cavalry and Jackson's regiment of infantry and a couple of companies of the First Rifles so as to cover the approaches, and sent for Colonel Kane's regiment to occupy the road in our then rear, my front being towards Centreville. This I did because from the occasional appearance of a few mounted men on a slope behind some woods in a hollow to my left and front, and a broad mass of smoke in that neighborhood, I felt pretty sure there was a force there preparing some mischief. As soon as Colonel McCalmont came up with his regiment [the Tenth], followed by Lieutenant-Colonel Penrose [the Sixth], and Colonel Taggart with the Twelfth, and while preparing to resist any attack and to cover my foraging party, I learned that the enemy in force had approached on the south side of the Leesburg pike with field pieces and infantry, and had driven in my pickets, wounding 2 men. Thinking they would attack on both sides of the turnpike as I returned eastward, I ordered [to meet this expected attack] Colonel McCalmont's regiment on the left or river side of the road in the woods, left in front, and if the enemy showed himself on that side to bring his regiment forward into line; Colonel Jackson's regiment [of which and its gallant colonel I cannot speak in too high terms] I ordered to flank the road in the same way on the right of the road in the woods, and do the same if the enemy showed on that side. Between these flanking regiments I ordered the Kane Rifle to meet the enemy behind us in the road, the cavalry to follow, and the artillery I took with me to post them and answer the enemy's artillery, which had opened fire on our then right [the south], directing the rear guard to cover the column of the Sixth and Twelfth Regiments of Infantry in the road from cavalry.

The artillery went at a run past the station I selected for them, capsizing one of their pieces. I brought them back, told the captain where to post his guns, and then went to remove the cavalry, then exposed in the road swept by the enemy, whose attack was from a thickly-wooded hill on our right flank [the south]. Their force I saw was a very bold one, very well posted, and the artillery was only about 500 yards off, with a large force of infantry on both its flanks and in front, covered and surrounded by woods and thickets. Moving east with the cavalry, which was of no use here, I came to a place in the road covered towards the enemy by a high bluff and dense thicket, which thicket i intended to occupy with infantry. Here I left the cavalry surrounded by dense forests, wherein they could neither fight nor be hurt. The accompanying sketch will show the ground.*

As I had at first thought the enemy would attack on both sides the


*Not found.