War of the Rebellion: Serial 028 Page 0134 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXI.

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heavy guns on the ridge compelled me to withdraw the cavalry under cover, and advance the infantry skirmishers to protect it, and make the enemy display his force. Some time elapsed after the shelling commenced before the skirmishers were able to come to my support. Those on the right of the road deployed from their cover and made an effective fire; but I regret to say that the Fourteenth Regulars, mishearing or misconstruing the order to move, made a splendidly gallant but disastrous charge in line of battle to the river bank, and only halted and laid down in part, after repeated orders, evidently unheard amid the noise. Several of these brave men fell, dead or mortally wounded; but their charge was apparently understood by the enemy to be an attempt to force the river, and instantly drew the fire of eight guns in position on the crests opposite to the ford, and caused the deployment of one or two regiments of infantry on the opposite bank. The infantry seemed to be drawn in part from behind a ridge on which their guns were placed, and in rear of which I learned there were several regiments. The three objects of my scrutiny being effected, I withdrew the forces from fire as soon as possible, bringing off our dead and wounded.

If I knew the names of all the officers commanding the infantry supporting me, I should be glad to express my thanks for their ready service and efforts to second my wishes.

If it is not improper, I should be glad to bear my testimony to the courage with which my deceased officer, Captain M. C. Pratt, confronted his fate, and to the gallant behavior of my second officer, Captain Casper Crowninshield; also Lieutenant Blagden, Lieutenant Davis, and the men of their command; also Lieutenant Forbes.

I have not been able to obtain an official statement of the killed and wounded in this affair, although I am promised one, if possible, to-night.

I have the honor to be, general, your obedient servant,

HORACE BINNEY SARGENT,

Lieutenant Colonel First Mass. Cav., Commanding, Escort, Fifth Army Corps.

Major-General PORTER,

Commanding Fifth Army Corps.

Numbers 6.

Report of Captain John D. O'Connell, Fourteenth U. S. Infantry, of reconnaissance to, and skirmish at, Snicker's Gap.

FIRST BRIGADE OF REGULARS, SYKES' DIVISION.

Camp in Snicker's Gap, Va., November 4, 1862.

COLONEL: In accordance with instructions, I left camp on the 3rd instant, in command of the Fourteenth Infantry, consisting of two battalions, the first numbering 178, and the second 121, including commissioned officers, making a total of 299, to join a portion of the Second Brigade of Regulars and some Massachusetts cavalry, in command of Lieutenant Colonel Sargent, to make a reconnaissance in the direction of the Shenandoah River. Having formed the line of battle, the Fourteenth Infantry occupying the right of the infantry, the cavalry the road and portions of the wood to the front, the infantry front covered by a line of skirmishers, I was directed by Captain Bootes, Sixth Infantry, senior officer of the arm, to march so that my right would be near the road, and hidden from the enemy. We passed over fields and through groves of timber, meeting with but little resistance until arriving near