On Saturday morning, the brigade was ordered to bring up the rear and to destroy such public stores as could not be removed. Captain
Cowles, First North Carolina, was detailed to burn the railroad depot and a store in which a large supply of arms was found. As soon as the brigade left the town, Captain [W. H. H.] Cowles fired the depot, destroying a very large amount of arms, ammunition, clothing, &c. Many revolvers were taken by the men and quite a large amount of clothing brought off.
Following in the rear the division, no matters of interest occurred during the march of Saturday and Saturday night.
On Sunday morning, when I reached Barnesville, orders were sent from General Stuart that I should place gun in position to command the road from Poolesville, while the other gun, which two of my regiments, was sent to the front. The pickets of the enemy appeared in Barnesville while I held this position, but no advance was made on me. The firing in front had been going on for some time, when I was ordered up. Moving rapidly toward the river, I sent the gun that was with me to the ford, while I placed the South Carolina regiment and Phillips' Legion so as to cover our march to the river. As soon as the two brigades in advance of me, together with all the led horses and wagons, had crossed the river, General Stuart ordered me to put my command across. We were under the fire of the artillery of the enemy while their sharpshooters were engaging mine. Placing one gun so as to command all the approaches to the ford, and calling in my skirmishers, I moved my column to the river and commenced the crossing. Large bodies of the enemy (infantry and cavalry) appeared in my rear, but were held in check by the gun I had put in position and my rear guard. As soon as my leading regiment had crossed, I sent the gun over under cover of a fire from one of the guns of Lee's artillery, and brought my rear guard down to protect the crossing of this last-mentioned gun. All passed over in perfect safety and without the slightest confusion. Not a man or a horse was lost, and the passage of the whole command was made rapidly and quietly. About 290 horses were brought over by my brigade and about 60 of my own horses left, broken down.
I was most ably aided during this expedition by my officers, while the conduct of my men met my entire approbation.
Besides the officers commanding regiments whom I have named as having assisted me so materially, I beg to commend the conduct of Captain Macfie as provost-marshal, and that of Captain Cowles, who, after destroying the stores in Chambersburg, acted with his company as a rear guard until we had crossed the Potomac, rendering in this position most important services.
Lieutenant Phillips, who first crossed the river into Maryland, conducted the affair most successfully and behaved with great gallantry. On this as on every other occasion the members of my staff-Captain [T. G.] Barker and Lieutenant Hamilton-discharged their duties admirably and assisted me greatly.
To the officers and men of my command I have only praise to bestow,
for all deserved it. Hoping that the have been fortunate enough to obtain that of the general commanding, I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
P. S.-I should mention that about 280 wounded men were found in