War of the Rebellion: Serial 039 Page 0082 N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXVII.

Search Civil War Official Records

Lieutenant Myers, falling back before a force of about 300 of the enemy's cavalry, who were rapidly advancing. Captain Work concealed the main body of his men off from, but near, the road, and as they advanced along the road charged upon them, throwing them in confusion, killing 3 capturing 3, and wounding 14. Three of our men were wounded, but not dangerously, in the gallant charge, the enemy being fully two to one of our men.

The rebels beat a hasty retreat in the direction of Moorefield. The infantry and artillery came up as rapidly as possible, but the rebels were in full retreat before they arrived, and it being by this time, quite dark, the whole force encamped for the night.

At daybreak the next morning the command started toward Moorefield. A short distance beyond Goings' Ford they found about 200 of the enemy encamped on the opposite side of the river, but at a point where it could not be forded. Captain Moore immediately brought up his section, and sent a few well-directed shells into their camp, causing the rebels to leave precipitately, leaving behind in their flight a quantity of stores, grain, and forage, with the wagons they had captured from Lieutenant Speer.

A small force of the cavalry and 150 infantry crossed the river, the infantry crossing in small boats, and totally destroyed the rebel camp with all their stores, and the wagons, which they could not bring off.

As the infantry could not be made available in a farther pursuit of the enemy, and it not being deemed prudent to go farther with the cavalry alone, the whole command returned to camp, where they arrived during the same night.

Our loss is as follows: In the affair at Burlington we lost 1 lieutenant and 11 men captured, 5 wagons (which were subsequently recaptured and burned by us), and 25 horses. At Purgitsville we had 3 men wounded.

The enemy lost at Purgitsville: Killed, 3; wounded, 14; Captured, 1 officer and 2 men and 4 horses.

It is to be regretted that Captain Work, in command of our cavalry, did not permit the enemy to pass him when in pursuit of Lieutenant Myers, so as to place the enemy between him and the infantry, which was rapidly coming up, and within less than 2 miles of him at the time. Had Captain Work restrained his men for a short time, the whole rebel would have been captured, as escape would have been impossible. It is due Captain Work, however, to say that he alleges his men charged on the enemy without his orders, he being unable to restrain them. And in this connection I feel it due myself to say that the foraging party under Lieutenant Speer left camp without my knowledge and, in direct violation of a standing order, divided his force and hence he, with part of his men, fell an easy prey to the enemy.

I have information which I deem reliable, that the rebels, about 800 strong, 500 cavalry and 300 infantry, are now encamped about 15 miles above Moorefield, on the south fork of the South Branch.

The force that came in contact with us was composed of two companies of the Seventh, two companies of the Eleventh Virginia Cavalry,three companies of Imboden's force, and McNeill's command.

I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Colonel, Commanding Fourth Brigade.

Captain T. MELVIN,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Harper's Ferry.