War of the Rebellion: Serial 015 Page 0420 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

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lery, preceded by the Second Massachusetts Infantry, proceeded in the direction of Woodstock, Va., on the morning of the 1st instant. On arriving on the heights near Woodstock the enemy opened fire upon the Third Brigade. I ordered the right and center sections to return the fire, which they did. The enemy, after exchanging a few shots without effect, retreated precipitately. I pursued them beyond Woodstock, when several more rounds were exchanged by my battery and the enemy. A short distance farther on the enemy occupied a strong position, and commenced a rapid fire upon our advancing column as we began the descent near Willow Grove. I put the left and center sections in battery and replied to their fire. The contest was spirited, though short, when the enemy again retired. In the position occupied by the enemy at this point our forces to-day picked up 1 dead rebel, who had been killed by our shells, and from observations since made and from the best information that I could gather from residents in the vicinity and others I am confidently of the opinion that the rebel loss was considerable in both killed and wounded. The enemy kept retreating and firing into us from every convenient eminence, but in every instance I succeeded without much difficulty in dislodging them, at times compelling them to temporarily abandon their pieces.

At Edenburg they retreated across the North Branch of the Shenandoah and took position on an eminence under cover of a piece of woods, and commenced shelling our advancing column. I took position on a hill overlooking the town, when the cannonade became general. In less than half an hour the rebel battery was silenced, and my battery occupied the same position during the night. From the accuracy of our firing I have no doubt but what the enemy sustained some loss at this point, but owing to the great distance, and the fact that the enemy was screened by the woods, it was impossible to ascertain to what extent.

Soon after daylight this morning the enemy opened a brisk cannonade from a point near the position last occupied by them yesterday upon my battery, which was promptly responded to. After firing several rounds they ceased firing. One of their shells destroyed a horse-collar and partially destroyed a horse-blanket in my battery. With this exception we sustained no loss or damage from the enemy's fire of yesterday and to-day.

This morning the enemy used an imported percussion shell, but few of which exploded. The cap is of most ingenious and excellent pattern. On removing the cap of several of them I discovered that no percussion cap had been inserted; consequently no explosion could take place. Whether the omission was accidental or intentional, queries. It may be significant and it may not.

The coolness and courage of my men were highly gratifying to me, while the excellence and accuracy of the firing of the left and center sections, commanded by Lieuts. James H. Peabody and John D. Woodbury, were highly commendable.

I have the honor to remain, colonel, your obedient servant,

GEO. W. COTHRAN,

Captain, Commanding Battery.

Colonel G. H. GORDON,

Second Mass. Vols., Commanding Third Brigadier, General Williams' Div.