At the fifth mile-stone from Winchester on the Martinsburg road, the column of which we were the rear, excepting the First New York Cavalry (the Third Brigade formed the rear), was attacked in front by the rebels with infantry and artillery . As my men were totally unarmed, and m, any riding the off saddles without stirrups, I thought the best plan was to make a dash through the woods on the right and left of the rebel line, and join at Harper's Ferry. Forty went to the right with Lieutenant Ewans, of the battery, and myself, and reached Harper's ferry. I turned over, by order of the commanding general there, to the quartmaster 33 horses and equipments, nearly complete. The balance had given out of the road, and were forced to be left. About 40 men went to the left with Lieutenant Alexander, of the battery who escaped broke through in small detachments, and those who have come in report their horses as having given out, and having been left with (our courser) the harness, &c., which was on them. Whether I could have brought off my guns safely is a question which, of course, I cannot determine, though I think it is doubtful now. I had to obey the orders of my commanding general, and certainly cannot be blamed for so doing. Had the issue rested with myself, I should, of course, have prepared to bring the guns off at all hazards, as I could not be worse off than losing them, and might save them. How far that course would have influenced the safety of the remainder of the command, was a questions for the commanding general (who must regard the welfare of the whole) to determine.
I have the honor to remain, your obedient servant,
F. W. Alexander,
Captain Baltimore Battery, Light Artillery.
General W. F. Barry Inspector of Artillery.
Record of a COUrt of Inquiry convened to investigate the evacuation of Winchester and Martinsburg.
Proceedings of a court of Inquiry, convened by virtue of the following order:
Special orders, No. 346
War Department, Adj. General 's Office, Washington, august 4, 1863.
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VIII. By direction of the President of the United States, a court of inquiry is hereby appointed to meet at Washington on the 7th day of August, 1863, or as soon thereafter as practicable, to investigate the facts and circumstances connected with the recent evacuation of Winchester by the command of Major General R. H. Milroy, U. S. Volunteers, and the evacuation of Martinsburg by the command of Brig. General D. Tyler, U. S. Volunteers. The court will report whether the orders of the General-in-Chief in regard to the evacuation of Winchester were complied with; and, if not, by whom they were disobeyed. It will also report whether the retreat of the command was properly conducted, and the public prop-