War of the Rebellion: Serial 039 Page 0041 Chapter XXXVII. SKIRMISH NEAR ALDIE, VA.

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MARCH 2, 1863.-Skirmish near Aldie, Va.

Reports of Lieutenant Colonel Robert Johnstone, Fifth New York Cavalry, commanding Cavalry Brigade.

FAIRFAX COURT-HOUSE,

March 2, 1863.

SIR: Fifty men of the First Vermont Cavalry, front Companies H and M, under Captain Huntoon Woodward, were surprised in Aldie while feeding their horses by about 70 of the enemy. Both captains captured and about 15 men. They saw no enemy but the attacking party.

Major Gilmear has returned with the scouting party left last night. The were to Mddleburg, and saw but 1 rebel. I have anticipated the report of Lieutenant-Colonel Krepps, now in command, which will be forwarded in probably one hour.

ROBT. JOHNSTONE,

Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Cavalry Brigade.

Captain C. H. POTTER,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY BRIGADE,

Fairfax Court-House, Va., March 3, 1863.

SIR: * * * By order of Colonel R. B. Price, I directed, on the night of the 1st instant, a reconnaissance to go in direction of Aldie.

The officer who command this reconnaissance was Major Joseph Gilmer, of the Eighteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry. He had 200 men. The orders to him were to proceed carefully, and send back couriers through the night with information whether they saw any enemy or not.

This last order was disobeyed. They were not to cross Cub Run until daylight, and them try and gain all information possible by flankers and small detached scouting parties.

Major Gilmer went to Middleburg, and, while returning, the vedettes of the First Vermont Cavalry noticed a part of this advance, and prepared to skirmish. The advance fell back toward Aldie. Major Gilmer, instead of throwing out a party to reconnoiter, turned off with nearly the whole of his command in the direction of Groveton, to gain Centreville. The horses returned, exhausted from being run at full speed for miles. A few of Major Gilmer's men left his command, and went along the Little River turnpike toward the Vermont detachment. They reported that the men seen were a part of a scouting party under Major Gilmer, and that no enemy were in Aidie. Captain Huntoon then entered beyond was a rising ground, which hid the guerrillas. While the horses were unbridled and feeding, the surprise occurred. As both the officers have been captured, and as the detachment was not under my command and is not attached to this brigade, I have no means of receiving any official of exact report from them, nor is there any one belonging to that detachment here. All men belonging to this detachment seen to have fought well; the enemy did not pursue them, they fell back in good order.

Major Gilmer, when he returned, was unable to make a report to Lieu-