Numbers 94. Reports of Brigadier General Isaac R. Trimble, C. S. Army, commanding Seventh Brigade, of operations May 25-June 9.
GENERAL: In compliance with your order I report the losses and principal incidents in the action of yesterday, 25th, at Winchester: The night previous the Twenty-first North Carolina Regiment, Colonel Kirkland, had been employed in advance as skirmishers, and reached a point about 2 1/2 miles from the town. By daylight they moved forward, driving the enemy's pickets before them, and arrived at a point 1 mile from Winchester by 6 a. m., where it was seen the enemy were drawn up in line of battle in the southwest part of the town.
The Sixteenth Mississippi (Colonel Posey), Twenty-first Georgia, (Colonel Mercer), and Fifteenth Alabama (Colonel Cantey), preceded by Courtney's artillery, of six pieces, followed rapidly on the Winchester road, and all reached the hill, a mile from town, about 7 a. m. Soon after the Twenty-first North Carolina was ordered to advance into town, and was gallantly led forward by Colonel Kirkland until he encountered a destructive fire from ambuscades behind stone walls. He continued to advance, under a galling fire, until supported by the Twenty-first Georgia, Colonel Mercer, who, seeing the position of the enemy, was enabled to drive them by a flank movement quickly from their position into the city, as also a battery of the enemy just posted. The twenty-first North Carolina and Twenty-first Georgia were then removed, the latter advancing to an eminence on the east of the town, threatening his flank. Courtney's artillery had taken a position on a hill 1 mile from the town, but after a few shots the fog became so dense as to obscure for half an hour both the town and valley.
At about 8 o'clock the fog dispersed, when the Sixteenth Mississippi was moved down the hill within view of the enemy, and took a position on the east of the town, in readiness to make a movement on the enemy's left flank. This movement, with that of the Twenty-first Georgia, no doubt had an immediate influence in deciding the result of the day, as half an hour after a heavy force of the enemy, supposed to be his reserve, was seen to march in good order out of the town and take a northern direction behind woods and was soon lost to our view.
As the fog rose Courtney's artillery opened a rapid fire on the enemy's batteries posted on a hill in the suburbs of the town. For half an hour the fire exchanged between these batteries was incessant and well directed on both sides, displaying a scene of surpassing interest and grandeur on that sunny but far from peaceful Sabbath.
The battle on the west hills of the town, where General Jackson commanded, had raged incessantly, with the single interruption caused by the fog, and about 9 o'clock a hearty cheer from that scene of conflict told the success made on the right flank of the enemy, who were seen fleeing in brooked masses toward the Martinsburg turnpike.
At this time I received your order to advance on the enemy's flank and cut them off. Had this movement been permitted half an hour sooner (prevented by causes known to you) the retreat of the enemy's reserves would have been completely cut off. The delay of this half hour enabled them to get so far the start of us that it was impossible to get a further view of them during the next two hours, in which time my brigade was marched 9 miles, until recalled by your order.
I subjoin a list of killed and wounded: