War of the Rebellion: Serial 031 Page 0019 Chapter XXXIII. RECONNAISSANCE TO SNICKER'S FERRY, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

adjutant-general, and ordered him at once to take charge of the prisoners, to take from them their papers, arms, and horses, if any, and gave him sufficient force to keep in check the prisoners, who were becoming every moment more numerous. Lieutenant Wight acted very wisely in making his headquarters on the other side of the Shenandoah River, and I have been quite satisfied with the manner in which he carried out and even anticipated my orders.

With my command, which, by detachments, was decimated so much as to represent scarcely 100 men, I met you, who ordered me to take the town of Berryville by assault, and, with yourself at our head, we charged through the main street of Berryville, scattering in every direction whatever we met with. When arrived at the outskirts of the town, I formed line of battle, and then yourself took command of a portion of the Ninth New York Cavalry and charged toward the right side of the wood, and I, with the balance of my command, charged to the left, on the road which leads to Winchester. I met three squadrons of the enemy drawn up in line of battle, covering a large building containing commissary stores, as if awaiting my arrival. I did not give them [an opportunity] to see the difference in numbers, but charged upon them. They broke and ran, not liking our sabers. I pursued the enemy to within 5 miles of Winchester, but the horses gave way, and I was obliged to leave them behind, so when I returned to Berryville I had with me but 1 officer and 9 men.

When I charged on the left, I passed through a small camp, and discovered a large building containing commissary stores. I succeeded in capturing it, but the small force I had did not permit me to detail any more men from it, so I continued to charge on the flying squadrons. Seeing that the enemy did not want to have a hand-to-hand fight with us, and, having better horses than ours, I would not be able to capture them, I contend myself with firing at them, dismounting about a dozen of them, wounding some, and the balance keeping the open field. Halting my command, I immediately detached a squad of men, under Captain B. J. Coffin, to take possession of the commissary stores. During the halt, to give my horses a short rest, orders came from yourself to reform at once, as my rear was menaced.

I beg leave to state that all the officers and men of the different regiments under my command have proved themselves zealous in the discharge of their duty, and I have no word of reproach to address to anybody.

The Ninth New York Cavalry fought with bravery, and, if they had had more drill and discipline, the men would have certainly been worthy of the name of veteran soldiers.

I recommend Captain B. J. Coffin, of the Ninth New York Cavalry, as a good and brave officer, and also Lieutenant Herrick for his bravery. More knowledge of the art of war would make him a splendid officer. I have a word of praise also for Major Knox, who commanded the Ninth New York Cavalry. He has done as much as could be done by a citizen soldier.

On the third day of the expedition, by the strategical march through Leesburg, instead of Aldie, my command arrived safely in camp at Chantilly.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Colonel Fourth N. Y. Cavalry, Commanding First Cavalry Brigade.

Brigadier-General STAHEL,

Commanding First Division, Eleventh Army Corps.