War of the Rebellion: Serial 044 Page 0112 N. C., VA. W. VA. MD., PA., ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

known to General Milroy's command? Was it conducted according to the order, and was it an orderly retreat?

Answer. The order of retreat was to put the brigades in numerical order elliott in the advance, Ely in the caenter, and I in the rear. It must have been o'clock in the morning when the retreat was ordered. There was some little disorder in my brigade, caused by the wagon horses getting in among the infantry. I saw no disorder in advance of me, nor any other disorder in my own brigade, and that I have mentioned was corrected immediately. So far as the movements in the vicinity of the point of attack during the retreat are concerned, they could not be considered orderly. The retreat from that point would be impossible to describe. The men broke and scattered in every direction. They went to the left and right of the road, and even, I have heard, back toward Winchester. The last persons on that field were myself and two orderlies.

By the Judge Advocate:

Question. Was Battery L, fifth U. S Artillery, properly posted and properly supported at the time it was captured?

Answer. I think it hat a good position., It was in front of me. It was supported by what I supposed to be a regiment of infantry. I was not familiar width the troops at Winchester, only getting there the night before. I noticed its repulse by the rebels, and its handsome recovery. There was a tremendous pressure upon it . Nearly all their horses were killed or disabled. It held an important position. There were many important positions around Winchester, but we had not force sufficient to command them. There were points that ought to have been covered if we had a sufficient force for the purpose.

By the court:

Question. In your opinion, was or was not the retreat conducted properly, and the public property suitably cared for/

Answer. I have already answered as to the retreat. As to the quarter master's and commissary stores and property, I have no knowledge. I know the wagon train was left in the road, on the outskirts of the town, the horses having been unhitched. As to the guns, I suppose they were spiked. The ammunition in my fort I ordered to be destroyed, and was informed that it was. I think that, under the circumstances, there was a suitable disposition of the publica property, excepting that I should have taken my battery and all the ammunition that I could have carried away.

Question. Do you know what instructions Major General Milroy had with reference to the holding or evacuation of Winchester?

Answer. there was something said about that in the council of war. I think General Milroy remarked that his power was discretional, but I am not positive. I saw a dispatch from General Halleck, which spoke in very light terms of holding Winchester . I think there were conflicting dispatches received from General Schenck's headquarters. I think that I recollect of a dispatch from Colonel Piatt to General Milroy, which was afterward countermanded by General Schenck. I paid Very little attention, however, to these matters.

Question. What was the object, as he generally understood on the command, of the position at Winchester?

Answer. It was generally understood to be a running command. It was viewed generally as a position to run from, if attacked by a heavy force with artillery one not to be held obstinately. I have heard General Milroy speak of his dissatisfaction in not being allowed to made advances when he thought it advisable, and that he was merely to run at the approach of a superior force of the enemy.

Question. Was there not a large force of the enemy posted in the direction of the Berryville road during the attack on Sunday afternoon?

Answer. from my observation, I conclude there was not. I must be mistaken.

Question. If you had moved your battery off to the turnpike road, could you, after the conflict, have taken it to Harper' Ferry?

Answer. I think so. I think we could have whipped any force I saw. I used this very expression to Captain Alexander at that time. The enemy's fire was very expression to Captain Alexander at that time. The enenmy's fire was very inaccurate. Our infantry drove their infantry several times.