The ruse took; they in one body put spurs to their horses and filed to left over in field, clearing the road in front. I made for the horse, unhitched him, mounted, and left, shouting for the men to break for the woods, a large number escaping before the rebels discovered the trick. They fired after me, but i had not time to stop.
It was now near dark. The road was strewn with baggage, broken wagons, horses, &c., for the whole distance to Winchester, as I had passed them over the bridge on hour or two before we retreated, so as to get them in safe; but it appeared the teamsters took a panic, and broke horses, wagons, and everything else up by rapid driving. It was some time after dark that came to a half from finally giving out and getting on wrong road; so I concluded to get in a house near by, and by considerable coaxing I obtained an entrance.
I was now completely broken down-so much so that the gentleman prepared a liniment for me and actually bound up some of my bruises, while the female portion of his family actually screamed with joy at our defeat, &c. I was helped to bed, and all the attention that Mr. Bitzer could bestow upon me was cheerfully done. I could not sleep for my pains, and consequently could hear the rebel cavalry passing up and down the road. This house is nearly 8 miles from Winchester. Next morning, not being able to walk, Mr. Bitzer brought me to Winchester in his carriage, and during the ride he informed me that he was Captain Bitzer, of the Bitzer cavalry, but was captured, paroled, took oath of allegiance, &c. He is a gentleman in all particulars, but his family the reverse.
I was taken to the Taylor house and engaged a room, to wait for you to come to Winchester, as I was informed you were going to remove your quarters, so that I could report to you my condition; but during my stay there, of some two hours, there was a great panic and all kinds of reports, the enemy being within 2 or 3 miles of the city, &c.
I, finding all things looked decidedly squally, concluded that if I did not get ut immediately I would be again captured. By the kindness of the lieutenant-colonel of the Vermont cavalry I was carried to Martinsburg. By being driven over a rough road my bruises pained me the more, and I requiring medical attention and quiet nursing, also a change of linen and clothes, having lost all my clothing, baggage, horse, &c., and being offered by the agent of a baggage train to take me to Baltimore, I concluded to accept of the offer, and from the time I entered the car I took a sleeping bunk, and there remained until I arrived in Baltimore the next afternoon, Sunday.
I now proceeded to Philadelphia, sending immediately for my physician, J. A. Meigs, under whose care I remained until ordered to report back, previous to which I by letter notified yourself and Colonel Gordon of the fact of my being there and my condition.
While in Philadelphia I heard of several of our officers and men being there, all sound and in good health I immediately ordered them back.
The above statement is correctly true and fully corroborated. You have no doubt received a regimental report of those companies ere this.
I am here, unfit for service for some few days. Still, al I believe that the morale of the Twenty-ninth is not as it should be, I await your orders, and remain, your obedient servant,
Lieutenant-Colonel Twenty-ninth Regiment Pennsylvania Vols.