War of the Rebellion: Serial 031 Page 0740 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA.

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[CHAP. XXXIII.

Numbers 21. Report of Lieutenant Colonel James W. Watts, Second Virginia Cavalry.

JANUARY 3, 1863.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the detachment of the Second Virginia Cavalry, under my command, during the late scout within the enemy's lines:

On reaching Dumfries, I was ordered to take position on the right of the enemy at a ford, and to charge the infantry upon the enemy's battery so soon as Colonel Rosser had engaged them on the left. In endeavoring to reach this position, my column moved parallel to the line of the enemy, and under a raking fire of artillery for more than half a mile, and was near the ford of the Quantico, when I observed sharpshooters on the bank of the stream, and a regiment of infantry moving down to their support. I at once placed my column under cover about 500 yards from the battery, and, before Colonel Rosser engaged the enemy, received orders to await further orders. I did not move my column until after dark, thought the enemy continued to shell my command for some time. My only loss was 3 horses killed.

On the next day (Sunday) my detachment was in rear of the First Regiment, and, when that regiment charged the enemy's cavalry and reached the thick underbrush, a portion of my detachment succeeded in reaching the front, and pursued at the heels of the enemy, firing continually his rear until within half a mile of the Occoquan, when, by order of General Lee, or General Stuart, I halted until the column (very much scattered) closed up.

In this charge I am unable to say how many of the enemy were killed, wounded, and captured by my command. A number fell who were either killed or wounded, and many prisoners were halted, who were carried to the rear by the those followed us. At this point, having been slightly wounded, I ordered Captain [H. C.] Dickinson to take charge of my command, who crossed the Occoquan with the Fifth, First, and Third, and continued the pursuit to the enemy's camp.

During the evening of Sunday, while the brigade was at the enemy's camp, Captain Dickinson was ordered to support a picket of the Third Regiment on the road leading to Manassas. Following the road about a mile, he met the enemy, and, receiving a volley, he charged, and drove them at full speed. The pursuit was continued some 3 miles, capturing a wagon and team and 3 prisoners. The enemy being fresh, my men, with jaded horses, could not catch the retreating column.

My loss during the scout was 1 man in Company A slightly wounded, and 3 horses killed. I append a summary of the articles captured:

Horses................................................. 25

Pistols................................................ 24

Saddles................................................ 12

Sabers................................................. 6

Prisoners (about)...................................... 30

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

JAS. W. WATTS,

Lieutenant Colonel, Commanding Detachment of Second Virginia Cavalry.

Captain J. D. FERGUSON,

Assistant Adjutant-General.