Before the commencement of the action the battery was in position, pursuant to Colonel Donnelly's orders, on Potato Hill, between the roads to Strasburg and Front Royal, and about a quarter of a mile from town.
About 4.30 a.m. the enemy opened fire from a point where the Front Royal road ascends a slight hill, about 1,800 yards from our position. They did not obtain our range, and their firing from this point was not good. About the same time they opened from some guns on our right, and threw shell into us rapidly and with great precision. We replied to these guns, and also threw spherical case and shell at two or three pieces posted on the Front Royal road at about 750 yards' range, and on the infantry advancing on Colonel Donnelly's brigade through the fields on each side of the road. Under the fire of the infantry and artillery the enemy withdrew. A section in charge of Lieutenant Muhlenberg was then sent to strengthen our extreme left and another section placed in reserve. The enemy again advancing, the section under Lieutenant Cushing opened fire on them and on a battery in their support, but with what effect it is difficult to state on account of the fog and smoke which so generally prevailed. Orders were then received to withdraw toward Martinsburg, which was done in good order, all the caissons being placed in advance after leaving the town.
The practice of the opposing batteries was very accurate, and at one time we were exposed to a severe cross-fire. Notwithstanding this, no injury was sustained in men or material while in position on the hill. Upon reaching Martinsburg the battery was placed in position on the west of town, orders to that effect having been received from General Williams, but it was soon moved off by his orders to the Potomac, without an opportunity of firing.
After remaining for some time near the river I received instructions from Major Perkins to move the battery across. In the fording two pieces were left in the river, the horses being so entangled in the harness that it became necessary to cut them out. The pieces were soon after brought over. The depth of the water being so great the ammunition was wet and rendered almost entirely useless.
After crossing the guns were placed to command the south bank of the river, but were soon withdrawn to the present camp, by order of Captain Scheffler, of General Banks' staff.
Our loss is 1 private killed near Strasburg, Va., 2, wounded, both having been run over on the road this side of Winchester, and bring now in hospital doing very well, and 2 missing, 1 sent to hospital in Winchester on Sunday morning, he having been sick for some time previous, and the acting hospital steward in charge of the ambulance, which was also lost.
I very much regret to state that Dr. Philip Adolphus, assistant surgeon, U. S. Army, attached to this battery, is missing. When last seen he was in care of the wounded, having refused to leave this duty to secure his personal safety.
One horse was killed by a round shot this side of Winchester and in crossing the Potomac 2 horses were drowned. Two sets of harness, three or four buckets, axes, &c., were also lost. On the route from Strasburg no wagons or mules were lost, nor were any tents, stores, subsistence or forage left behind or destroyed.
None of the men left the guns during the action, and all crossed the Potomac together on Monday morning, their behavior in every respect being all that could be desired. Lieutenants Muhlenberg and Cushing deserve mention for their coolness and self-possession. The only regret