War of the Rebellion: Serial 015 Page 0619 Chapter XXIV. OPERATIONS IN SHENANDOAH VALLEY.

Search Civil War Official Records

Numbers 34. Report of Colonel Silas Colgrove, Twenty-seventh Indiana Infantry, of operations May 25.


Near Williamsport, Md., May 26, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor of making the following report of the part taken in the action of the 25th instant at Winchester, Va.:

At an early hour in the morning, about 5.30 a.m., I received orders from Asst. Adjt. General C. P. Horton to form my regiment into line of battle on the extreme left of the brigade, which order was promptly obeyed, the left of my regiment resting on the turnpike. My regiment while occupying this position became the target of the enemy's sharpshooter from the rifle pits on the top of the hill and from the top of a tree standing on the brow of the hill. They kept up a constant fire, with but little effect wounding a private in Company H in the leg.

This position was held by the Twenty-seventh Regiment until I received an order from you, stating that the enemy was flanking us upon the right, and ordering my regiment to the right of the Second Massachusetts, which order was promptly obeyed. My regiment was marched by the right flank past the Twenty-night Pennsylvania, Third Wisconsin and Second Massachusetts. It had scarcely gained its position to the right of the Second Massachusetts before we received a very heavy fire from the enemy's left, consisting of two full regiments of infantry, posted in a skirt of small scrubby timber about 150 yards in my front. We received the first fire of the enemy while the regiment was still marching by the flank. I immediately halted my regiment, brought it to the front about 20 paces, to gain the advantage of the ground. These orders were executed by the regiment with promptness and coolness, as if it had been upon parade. I gave the order to fire, which was promptly obeyed, and with telling effect upon the enemy's lines.

About this juncture, the Twenty-ninth Pennsylvania filed past my regiment and took position on my right. My position brought the right wing of my regiment opposite and in front of the right wing of the enemy's left regiment and the left wing of the Second Regiment.

At about this juncture, and before the Twenty-ninth Pennsylvania had fired a gun, the enemy's left regiment from the line of battle formed into column and marched left in front until it had flanked the Twenty-ninth on the right, and then marched by the right flank in column by company, with the evident intention of gaining its rear. From the conformation of the ground I was satisfied that this movement of the enemy, although in plain view of the position occupied by myself, was entirely screened from the observation of Colonel Murphy. I immediately informed him that the enemy had flanked him on the right and was endeavoring to gain his rear. He immediately fell back about 20 paces, gaining a position in view of the enemy and preventing him from gaining his rear.

By a flank movement and filing to the right I brought Companies A and F of my regiment into position, and in connection with the Twenty-ninth Pennsylvania opened fire upon the enemy's left, which checked his flank movement.

At this juncture I discovered that my entire regiment, except Companies A and F, were falling back. As soon as possible I brought them