nonading commenced northwest of Dumfries, and I therefore marched to join our forces at the latter place.
At about 1 p.m. Colonel Meysenberg came up and informed me that he had sent the night before, with orders to report to me, 500 men of the Seventeenth Pennsylvania Lancers. The lieutenant-colonel of that regiment reported to me at about 5 o'clock in the afternoon, at Dumfries.
From Dumfries I returned by your order, at 8 a.m. on the 29th, to my post. Lost none; captured from the enemy 7 prisoners, partly with horses and arms; among them Captain J. W. Bullock, Fifth Virginia Cavalry (wounded), and a surgeon and 3 men, of the same regiment, and 2 of a North Carolina regiment.
From what I could learn from the inhabitants, I believe the enemy made but little in their raid upon Dumfries, but had experienced a reverse. The enemy's ambulances were filled with wounded. The officers said nothing about their "fun at Dumfries," but hurried on their men as fast as possible; nevertheless, I am obliged to say that an excellent opportunity to strike a heavy blow upon this daring cavalry has been allowed once more to pass unimproved, mainly for this reason, that our cavalry, with a few honorable exceptions, nowhere did their duty. At the time that I was with my infantry and a few of the brave First West Virginia Cavalry at Trent's Church, about 15 miles northwest of this post and 11 miles west from Dumfries, Colonel Di Cesnola was yet with his cavalry in my camp; Captain Barrett, with his detachment of the Sixth Ohio, between the Chopawamsic farm and Dumfries, and the 500 of the Seventeenth Pennsylvania Lancers somewhere south of the Chopawamsic; that is to say, all our cavalry sent out to my support kept that night either within or very near to our lines, and left the infantry to pursue the enemy. In fact, the infantry was everywhere 10 miles in advance of the cavalry.
On the evening of the 27th instant, Colonel Di Cesnola went so far as to send an order (copies Nos. 4 and 5), recalling the 50 men of the First West Virginia Cavalry, whom I had with my infantry, by order of General Schurz (copy Numbers 1.), and who had been under my command for eight days. As a matter of course, I took no notice of Colonel Di Cesnola's order. Of the 500 men of the Seventeenth Pennsylvania Lancers, I heard nothing until all was over. Captain Barrett, of the sixth Ohio Cavalry, disobeyed my verbal order, sent to him by his orderly, to rejoin me on the road to Trent's Church. He preferred to remain where he was, and to enter Dumfries after a part of my infantry, with the artillery, had appeared before that place.
There is no doubt but if I had marched on with part of my command, without waiting for orders, soon after I had received information of the enemy's movements, I would have arrived between 6 and 7 o'clock in the evening at Keyes' farm, cutting off the enemy's line of retreat, and I therefore beg to be allowed to act in future in such an emergency upon my own responsibility. Another circumstances proved of considerable inconvenience to the movements of the detachment at Dumfries;
was not provided with the countersign, and therefore did not allow any one to come in. I took the scouts nearly three hours before they were allowed to enter Dumfries.
I have further to report, that on the 28th and 29th instant I passed into and out of Dumfries without meeting outposts, and Adjutant Klenker, of my staff, captured some prisoners within cannon-shot of that place. A wide field for investigation is left by the fact that the enemy's cavalry, about 2,000 marched undiscovered, with four pieces of artillery, from Fredericksburg around the right wing of the army,
46 R R-VOL XXI