War of the Rebellion: Serial 015 Page 0624 OPERATIONS IN N.VA., W.VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

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afterward we received your order to take position on the left of the brigade.

In the mean while the engagement had been opened and was being continued by the artillery of the opposing forces. When the attack was made upon the right wing the Twenty-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers was by your order moved from the left to the extreme right, and before we had got into position we received a volley of musketry from a large body of the enemy in our front, which was not distinctly visible, on account of a fog arising from the damp ground. This fire we promptly returned, and before we could discern the enemy in front we saw a brigade, consisting of as near as my observation serves me, four regiments closed en masse on our right flank and rapidly approaching our rear. Colonel Murphy promptly changed the front of the regiment perpendicularly to the rear and facing the advancing force. This movement brought us in a gully, with the enemy in front and a ridge of rocks thickly studded with bushes in our rear. We received their fire for some minutes and promptly returned it. For a moment the enemy seemed to stagger, but it was only for a moment; for, feeling confident in their great strength, they charged down the hill upon us, with deafening cheers. Colonel Murphy gave us the order to retire (which order was received through Lieutenant-Colonel Morrison, of the Twenty-seventh Indiana Volunteers, who states that he received it from Lieutenant Scott, your aide-de-camp), which was executed at first in good order, but we found it impossible to preserve our ranks while climbing up these rocks amidst the fire of the enemy.

We were allowed no time to rally and reform our men until we had passed through the town and retreated several miles toward this place. While retreating through the town the citizens poured volley after volley upon our men, who were tired and foot-sore from the fatiguing march of the previous day. We continued in retreat with your brigade until 9 o'clock p.m., when we had reached the Virginia shore of the Potomac River. There we rested for the night, and on Monday morning, the 26th instant, transported our men and trains across the river in safety. We found numerous officers and men missing, but many have since rejoined their regiment, having taken to the woods and crossed the river under many difficulties.

Colonel John K. Murphy acted coolly and calmly during the engagement. He had lost his horse upon the field,and being advanced in age, was unable to make a successful retreat. He was captured by the rebel cavalry in the streets of Winchester after bravely attempting a resistance.

Very respectfully,


Captain Company E, Commanding Twenty-ninth Regiment.


Commanding Third Brigade.



Near Williamsport, May 29, 1862.

The statement that Lieutenant-Colonel Morrison received the order to retire from Lieutenant Scott is incorrect, as has been proved to the satisfaction of Lieutenant-Colonel Morrison.


Colonel Second Massachusetts Regiment, Commanding Third Brigade.