War of the Rebellion: Serial 015 Page 0463 Chapter XXIV. ENGAGEMENT NEAR M'DOWELL, VA.

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heights in front, and his batteries in position, expecting momentarily that the enemy would attempt to descend into the valley to attack him under cover of artillery that might be brought forward to command the place from different points.

A little observation served to show at once that McDowell, as a defensive position, was entirely untenable, and especially against the largely outnumbering force that was ascertained to be advancing; and if it had been otherwise there was no choice left on account of an entire destitution of forage. I determined, therefore, to obey, with as little delay as possible, your orders to fall back with the force of our two brigades to this place. Such a movement, however, could not with any safety or propriety be commenced before night, nor did it seem advisable to undertake it without first ascertaining of feeling the actual strength of the rebel force before us, and also, perhaps, taking some step that would serve to check or disable him from full power or disposition to pursue. This was effectually done by our attack of his position on the mountain in the afternoon, and in the night following I was enabled to withdraw our whole little army long the road through the narrow gorge, which afforded the only agrees from the valley in which McDowell is situated, in the direction of Franklin. This with-drawl we effected without the loss of a man and without the loss or destruction of any article of public property, except of some stores, for which General Milroy was entirely without the means of transportation.

i submit herewith the reports of Brigadier-General Milroy and of Colonel James Cantwell,* commanding the Eighty-second Ohio Volunteer Infantry, of my brigade, giving an account of the affair with the rebel forces that day and of the parts severally taken in the fight by the different regiments engaged.

At 3 o'clock, General Milroy, having reported to me that his scouts informed him of re-enforcements continually arriving to the support of the enemy, concealed among the woods on the mountain, and that they were evidently making preparations to get artillery in position for seeping the valley, I consented to his request to be permitted to make a reconnaissance. The force detailed for this purpose consisted of portions of four regiments of infantry of his brigade-the Seventy-fifth, Twenty-fifth, and Thirty-second Ohio and the Third West Virginia-and the Eighty-second Ohio, of mine, the latter regiment gladly receiving the order to join in the enterprise, although the men were exhausted with the long march from which they had just arrived, with want of food, sleep, and rest. The infantry was supported in a degree also by a 6-pounder of Johnson's battery, which General Milroy had succeeded in conveying to the top of one of the mountain ridges on his left. The movement resulted in a very sharp encounter with the rebels, of which details are given in the accompanying reports. To those details, I refer. I will only add, by way of general summing up, that, adding to the 1,768 Milroy's brigade about 500 of the Eighty-second Ohio, which was the number in the action, the entire force we had engaged was 2,268. That these men were opposed to, I believe, not less than 5,000 of the enemy successively brought into action, besides their reserved force of some 8,000 in the rear; that the casualties on our part amounted in the aggregate to 28 killed, 80 severely wounded, 145 slightly wounded, and 3 missing, making a total of 256.+


* Colonel Cantwell's report not found.

+ See revised statement, p.462.