War of the Rebellion: Serial 031 Page 0711 Chapter XXXIII. RAID ON DUMFRIES AND FAIRFAX STATION, ETC.

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enteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry across the river. I immediately got out all the available force in camp and led them to the ferry, where the enemy were reported to be crossing. On reaching it, I found them moving off, and, leaving there a small force, I hastened to Selectman's Ford, but finding all quiet, I returned to camp, not wishing to cross the ford at night while ignorant of the enemy's numbers.

The next morning I set out with detachments from Companies D, K, L, F, and C; in all about 150 men. Major Reinhold, of the Seventeenth Pennsylvania Cavalry, took 100 of his own men and crossed with us. On reaching the opposite side, Lieutenant Byles went out to reconnoiter; he returned and sent me the information that the enemy numbered upward of 8,000 and had artillery. I have since learned from Dr. Weidman, who generously gave himself up to the rebels, in order to attend to the killed and wounded, that they had six guns. The rebels had come into Occoquan by two roads. I resolved to follow up the traces of one body in order to learn their route, and guard against similar incursions. A march of some 5 miles brought us to the road from Wolf Run Shoals to Brentsville. Here I learned that 10 Confederate cavalry had been seen in that neighborhood an hour previous. The track left the Wolf Run Shoals road and led into a thick wood, through a very narrow road, where the column was compelled to march by twos. I sent 2 men forward, with orders to ride on one-half or three-quarters of a mile and reconnoiter; on coming up, they reported all quiet. I led the advance, composed of some 20 men, about 10 being carbineers. At a point only about 200 yards from where the scouts had come in, a field began on the left of the road; the left flank of the column was thus uncovered as it marched on, and the entire advance had come out of the woods, when I saw the rebel pickets on some rising ground ahead, and was fired at. Turning round, I ordered the carbineers to advance and deploy as skirmishers, and that the main body should be brought up ready to charge. The carbineers did not obey my command nor that of Lieutenant Eckert, commanding the advance guard, but halted in a confused crowd. I fired the first shot from my revolver, and was seconded by some few men in the advance, among whom I must speak of Private Wilson and Sergeant Merket, Company K. Major Reinhold informs me that he conveyed the order to the main body himself. Through some fatal misunderstanding, however, they halted. The fire from the rebel pickets was almost immediately succeeded by a yell and a charge from a field in front, and on the right, which the rising ground concealed from view, through the field on our left, thus cutting off the entire advance, including Lieutenant Eckert and myself. The main body attacked just when coming out of the woods, and, unable to adopt any formation suitable to make or receive a charge, was driven back in disorder. Lieutenant Leche fell, dead, while gallantly striving to rally his men. Four distinct rallies were made in the field on the road to the ford, but the overwhelming numbers of the enemy who came in by various roads, on every side, rendered useless the gallantry of officers and men. So closely did the rebels follow us that they cut off many of our men at the ford. At attempt was made to hold the ford, and Lieutenant Maxwell, First Michigan Cavalry, who by chance was present, rendered efficient service. Under his direction a heavy fire was poured into the advance of the rebels, and they were driven back, thus giving Lieutenant Jones, with a body of 25 men, an opportunity to cross in safety. Lieutenants Maxwell, Jones, and Walker headed the men most nobly, and for a time kept the enemy at bay. Their superior numbers soon overpowered us. They brought down dismounted men armed with mus