Numbers 4. Report of Captain William M. Flanagan, Third Ohio Cavalry.
HEADQUARTERS THIRD OHIO CAVALRY, March 3, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to report the part sustained by the Third Ohio Cavalry in the recent skirmish of March 1, at Bradyville.
Pursuant to orders from brigade headquarters, the Third Cavalry marched at daylight on the 1st instant. On arriving at the Bradyville pike, which lies but a short distance from our camp, I was ordered by the colonel commanding to place my command in the rear of the Second Brigade. I marched in this order until near the village of Bradyville, and in sight of the enemy, who were in large force and strongly posted in the woods, on advantageous ground, on the south side of town. On forming a line of battle, the colonel commanding the brigade, with promptness and energy, ordered me with my command to take the left of the line. I objected somewhat as to the possibility of forming at that juncture at the left, as it would throw my command upon an impracticable, steep, stony side-hill. The colonel told me it must be accomplished. The enemy commenced about this time to send showers of leaden hail upon us, doing us, however, but little injury.
As the officers and men of the Third seemed anxious for the affray, I ordered them to ascend the hill, which they did as promptly and quickly as the nature of the ground would admit. After getting my command in line, I noticed at this time that I could gain a strong position on the opposite side of a deep ravine that lay between my command and the edge of town; but to gain this position I would have to pass through an open field about 150 yards wide, and which would have exposed my command more to the enemy's fire. The colonel about this time ordered me forward. I commanded the "forward," and with a yell, as if the infernal regions had broken loose, we gained the desired position. We then opened a brisk and active fire upon the enemy, who returned it with a stubborn and determined spirit, holding us in check some ten minutes; but under our regular fire they were compelled to fall back a short distance to the top of a hill and in the woods, where they dismounted and secreted themselves behind rocks, trees, logs, and every place that would afford them shelter. In this position they awaited our approach. We then left our position in the village, and marched in line of battle to the woods on the south side of town, to the point the enemy had recently occupied. We had hardly reached their former position before we were greated by a galling fire from the secreted enemy, wounding 3 men and killing 7 horses. This was the trying moment; but the gallant Buckeye boys of the Third never flinched. The enemy held us in check some twenty minutes, but their fire was kept up with spirit and energy. The colonel commanding brigade was present and in the front rank; ordered us to charge, and charge we did, though a little promiscuously, driving the enemy in utter confusion through the woods, capturing 15 men before they could mount their horses. The pursuit was continued some time, the enemy flying at breakneck speed over hills, rocks, and hollows, throwing away their arms and every incumbrance that impeded their flight. We were finally ordered to cease pursuit, which we did reluctantly. Bivouacked 1 1/2 miles south of Bradyville for the night. At 4 o'clock on the following morning we took up the line of march for camp, where we arrived about 4 o'clock p. m. of the 2nd instant.