the tempestuous fire of his infantry and artillery to cease, as the safety of his cavalry as we closed upon them would demand it, and that the chance of cutting our way through and rejoining our column was the most feasible course to adopt. On we dashed amid clouds of dust, and as we neared them, true to their guerrilla tactics, and apparently not daring to meet the shock of the charge that was so closely threatening them, they fell back around a barricade of wagons drawn up in the center of the road, with a passage on each side next to the fence, which they manned, ranging themselves along on the sides of the road near this obstruction, intending no doubt in the collision which seemed imminent to cut us upon our flanks, which would have proved very disastrous. In this they were foiled. Quickly discovering their stratagem, I ordered the head of my command to oblique right and left, and on we rushed to a hand-to-hand encounter. We succeeded in forcing them back at the point of the saber, leaving several of their number weltering in their blood upon the pike, and as far as my knowledge extends without suffering any loss at this point, when I received a saber blow from one of two assailants (the other having fallen) on the side of my head, which deprived me of consciousness. I had fallen from my saddle to the ground, but soon recovered, to find myself surrounded by foes and a prisoner of war.
I find from data in my memorandum of that (May 24) date that it was now over three hours since our advance guard had been fired upon by Ashby's pickets in the advance of Jackson's column. I was now taken into the custody of one of Ashby's lieutenants, who marched me to Front Royal, a distance of some 14 miles, which place we reached a little after 9 o'clock p. m. The next morning (May 25) I found among the prisoners taken only 16 of those engaged with me in the charge upon the enemy's cavalry, 2 of whom were wounded, but nos seriously.
On the morning of May 26 all the prisoners taken to Front Royal and vicinity who were able to walk were marched to Winchester. Privates Marcus Hoskins, Company E, John Farley, Company E, and myself, being considered as unable to be removed at this time, were left at Front Royal, where, on the 30th of May, at 10.30 a. m., we were recaptured by the Rhode Island cavalry under Major Nelson, of General Shields' division, having been a prisoner in the hands of the rebels six days.
In justice to our captors I feel it my duty to say that every attention and care were shown to our sick and wounded by their surgeons, and that no act of cruelty was perpetrated by them on any of our prisoners while we remained in durance among them.
I have the honor to be, with high esteem and respect, your most obedient servant,
WM. D. COLLINS,
Major First Vermont Cavalry.
General N. P. BANKS,
Commanding Fifth Corps d'Armee, Dept. of the Shenandoah, Va.
Numbers 22. Report of Brigadier General Alpheus S. Williams, U. S. Army, commanding First Division, of operations May 24-25.
HDQRS. FIRST DIVISION, DEPT. OF THE SHENANDOAH,
Williamsport, Md., May 27, 1862.
MAJOR: Pursuant to department instructions I have the honor to
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