War of the Rebellion: Serial 027 Page 0834 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA.

Search Civil War Official Records

[CHAP. XXXI.

was. To find yourself, then, was clearly my next duty. This, in the extreme darkness and amid the intricacies of unknown routes, proved a task of no little difficulty and delay. At length, succeeding, and making known to you the main facts, I was instructed to do no more till morning, when measures would be taken suited to circumstances, and meantime to secure a few hours of necessary rest. Early the next morning I had the privilege of accompanying a force, under General Jackson, sent to punish the enemy; of attending that honored officer and friend in the exposure incident to his command, and of witnessing the destructive chastisement inflicted upon the several thousand that had crossed and remained on the south side of the river. Under the immediate orders of General A. P. Hill, his division made upon that doomed body of the enemy a resistless charge, to their actual extermination. The furious fire of the enemy from beyond the Potomac, though necessarily harmful at first, proved far less damaging than it must otherwise have been, because such direction had to be given their pieces as to spare their own troops receiving the charge.

This severe work having been accomplished, I found that but four of our pieces had been lost. These, their horses being killed and the men being too weary to drag them away, had been spiked and left. They were, next morning, found by the enemy and thrown over the cliffs, before General Jackson's arrival to destroy them.

About noon of this day, Saturday, September 20, returning from Shepherdstown along the Winchester road, about 4 miles on the way, I joined our batteries, commanded by Major Nelson. With others, similarly instructed by myself, he had been diligently engaged the previous evening in causing batteries to be withdrawn in order, as directed, and the anticipated caution of the enemy had allowed them all to get back with no further damage than the leaving of one guns apiece by each of four batteries, as already mentioned.

Captain Maurin, an officer of tried merit, wa, as said, compelled to spike and leave a 10-pounder Parrott; Captain Milledge, a 12-pounder brass howitzer; Captain M. Johnson, also a 12-pounder brass howitzer, and Captain Huckstep, an iron 6-pounder.

The brass howitzer 12-pounder left by Captain Milledge proves, I regret to report, to have been a gun marked with the coat of arms of our own commonwealth, and belonging to the Virginia Military Institute, and to have been, on these accounts, especially valued. The Confederate States Government will, I hope and earnestly recommend, have of it a fact simile made and returned to the Virginia Military Institute.

Besides these losses, we had, in the batteries, 3 men killed and 4 wounded, and of horses, 26 killed and disabled. What casualties occurred in the infantry under Colonels Lamar and Hodges I have not been informed. Those officers have reported, I take for granted, through their division commanders.

That the immense force of the enemy was so effectually kept back and our army quietly relieved from disturbance by the persistent vigor and endurance of our comparatively small repelling strength, and with no greater loss, is assuredly cause for thankfulness to the Giver of good, and occasion for just appreciation of fidelity on the part of officers and men who performed the service.

Major Nelson's cool courage and persistent vigor throughout the day, and in the trying hour at its close, deserve especial mention. His services were of great value. Captains Hardaway, Kirkpatrick, Braxton, Maurin-indeed, every artillery officer from time to time under my eye,