War of the Rebellion: Serial 005 Page 0522 OPERATIONS IN MD., N. VA., AND W. VA. Chapter XIV.

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Cook, of Twenty-eighth New York, and Lieutenant Skeels, regimental quartermaster Twenty-eighth New York, were especially active with their fine rifles. I inclose report of Captain Cole.* I have nothing from General Shields' command.

No. 2. Report of Captain William D. Wilkins, Assistant Adjutant-General.

HDQRS. THIRD BRIGADE, GENERAL BANKS' DIVISION,

Bunker Hill, Va., March 8, 1862.

GENERAL: I have the honor to report the result of a reconnaissance made by your orders yesterday afternoon on the Winchester turnpike, for the purpose of ascertaining the position and strength of a camp of the enemy's cavalry, reported upon apparently reliable authority to be situated 4 miles from this place, and also to ascertain whether any defensive works existed on the road for any distance outside the town. The force consisted of Cole's company, of mounted cavalry, a section of Matthews' battery, and the Forty-sixth Pennsylvania and Fifth Connecticut Regiments of Infantry. We met the enemy's pickets of cavalry about 3 miles from this place and drove them before us with our cavalry about 5 miles farther, when, ascertaining at a farm house that they had been strongly re-enforced and that Colonel Ashby was in command, I deemed it prudent to wait for the artillery, and gave the order to halt. At this moment a heavy fire was poured in upon us from a large force (apparently two companies) of cavalry, dismounted, and firing behind stone fences and from a brick house on our left. Hoping to keep them in play until on the arrival of the artillery they might be shelled to advantage, we continued to exchange shots with them for about twenty minutes, the cavalry advancing by sections, firing, and retiring to reload, with great coolness. Here we lost 2 men slightly and 1 dangerously wounded and 2 horses shot. We observed two of the enemy to drop from their saddles, and several of their horses were seen running loose. The artillery, arriving, opened with shell upon the enemy, and about this time our infantry skirmishers appeared on his flanks. We then charged with the cavalry, and, driving the enemy from behind his fences, pursued him about half a mile farther, when, deeming the object of the reconnaissance to be accomplished (having advanced to within 3 miles of Winchester), I directed the cavalry to retire, and the troops arrived at camp in good order. We found no defenses, on the road of any kind for the distance we advanced, but found the turnpike to be very much broken up.

I beg leave to call your attention to the gallant conduct of Captain Cole, who was very conspicuous in leading and cheering on his men and who had his horse killed under him; and to Captain Beman, commissary of subsistence of your staff, who rendered valuable service in bringing up our artillery and infantry supports and in leading our cavalry skirmishers across the field to the left under a heavy fire.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. D. WILKINS,

Captain and Assistant Adjutant-General.

Brigadier General ALPHEUS S. WILLIAMS,

Commanding Third Brigade and other troops at Bunker Hill.

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* Not found.

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