War of the Rebellion: Serial 015 Page 0611 Chapter XXIV. OPERATIONS IN SHENANDOAH VALLEY.

Search Civil War Official Records

ment was again changed to counteract this movement. A strong position was taken behind a stone wall, where we waited, expecting the advance of the enemy every moment, but he, taking advantage of the fog and no doubt being satisfied with the morning's work, withdrew to a safe distance. When the fog lifted they were seen in great force about a half or three-fourths of a mile from us, near their batteries, with a line of skirmishers in front, coming on with great caution.

About this time, the right wing of our army having given way, were ordered to retreat, which order we obeyed in good order under a heavy fire of shot and shell. The aim of the rebel batteries was wonderful, but not more so than the escape of the men, who seemed to bear charmed lives, only 1 man being wounded. We continued our retreat, keeping to the right of the pike. The rebels, being considerably in advance of us on the pike, kept up a brisk fire with their artillery, as opportunity offered, for several miles. When near Bunker Hill their cavalry made a dash at our rear, but were handsomely beaten off and so badly used that they troubled us no more during the day.

We continued our march, reaching the Potomac at Dam Numbers 4 about dark, a distance of 45 miles from Winchester. Here we hoped to be able to ford the river, but found it impracticable. We again resumed the march, proceeding up the river about 1 1/2 miles, where we found a ferry-boat capable of carrying about 30 men. With this and a small boat by daylight on the morning of the 26th we were all crossed over without panic, confusion, fear, or loss of life.

Owing to the scarcity of commissioned officers Sergeant Casey, of Company A, had command of the rear guard of skirmishers, which duty he performed most admirably and with great credit to himself, as did most of the detail and several volunteers. We were the last regiment on the field, and the pursuit on the pike was pushed with such vigor that we found ourselves considerably in the rear of those on the pike, which made it necessary for us to avoid Martinsburg, which was done under your immediate direction with consummate skill.

Officers and men behaved with admirable coolness during the entire engagement, and during the retreat with wonderful and deliberate energy. Many instances of complete exhaustion occurred, and in several cases the men have shown great skill in eluding the scouts and in many cases made a defense successfully.

I would be delighted to make a special mention of some cases of valor and skill, but my heart is too full gratitude to all, both officers and men, to disparage one by a more favorable mention of another. The men who were compelled to drop to the rear from exhaustion are coming in singly and in squads.

The reports at the present time show: Killed, none; wounded, 2; missing, 79; and there are strong hopes of reducing this number considerably.* About 60 men have crossed at Harper's Ferry, and all have not yet reported.

We have great reason to be grateful to kind Providence and applaud the skill and energy of our commanding officers for the miraculous escape of our men from utter annihilation.

E. F. BROWN,

Lieutenant Colonel, Commanding Twenty-eighth Regiment New York Vols.

Colonel D. DONNELLY,

28th N. Y. Vols., Commanding 1st Brigadier, 1st Div., Dept. Shenandoah.

---------------

*See revised statement, p. 553.

---------------