War of the Rebellion: Serial 044 Page 0130 N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., PA., ETC. Chapter XXXIX.

Search Civil War Official Records

have the artillery horses taken from their carriages, the team horses from their wagons, and to have them mounted by the artillerymen, teamsters, and such infantry as could not march, and ordered them to go out with the cavalry . At the same time he ordered that the guns should be spiked after all the troops had passed out except the company in charge of them, and be left in the fort. These were verbal orders, and I delivered all of them myself, I think, to the commanding officers-to General Elliott and Colonel Ely . I did not delivered them to Colonel McReynolds, but I think Major McGee, aide-de-camp, delivered them to him . Members of General Milroy's staff were busy from that hour assisting me in getting the troops ready for the retreat. MY recollection of the order of retreat was that the Twelfth Pennsylvania Cavalry should go in advance on the Martinsburg road until they reached the road leading to Summit Station ; that there they should take the Summit Station road to Harper's Ferry, via Charleston. The next in order was:First Brigade, under General Elliott; Second Brigade, under Colonel McReynolds, of First New York Cavalry. I think the Thirteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry and First New York formed the rear guard. At 2 o; clock the troops commenced marching out in the order designated.

Question. Was or was not the retreat properly conducted?

Answer. Really, I am unable to make any criticism ; it was not a success in all particulars, because we lost in strength one entire brigade, Colonel McReynolds', which was lost to us on the retreat-that day, I mean. While on the retreat, some 3 miles from Winchester, general Milroy stopped on the roadside with his staff, saying that he would remain there until the troops passed him as that was now the place of danger. He had been there but a few moments, when we heard a few shots in advance. He then rode rapidly to the front with his staff . Passing Colonel McReynolds, the General remarked to him in person, "Move up rapidly with your command, colonel . "We then passed on to the front, and when we arrived there he discovered what we supposed to be the enemy's pickets, on the right of the Martinsburg road. It was not yet daylight. I noticed a column of cavalry moving down to the right of the road parallel with the enemy's picket line . At the same time I observed two regiments of infantry moving off to the left of the Martinsburg road. They were part of our troops. General Milroy ordered that those two regiments of infantry be brought back to the Martinsburg road, at the same time ordering two companies of the Eighty-seventh Pennsylvania Infantry to be deployed as skirmishers, and for the balance of the regiment to acts as their support. I observed some confusion among our troops in the rear, they were running, and firing some random shots among themselves. It was not yet daylight, and the regiments were so broken up at that place, that I could not distinguish them. They had been thrown into confusion by the artillery and team horses, which were unmanageable, owing to their riders being generally without saddles and bridles. I have learned since that they were the One hundred and sixteenth Ohio and Twelfth Virginia Infantry; the One hundred and sixteenth Ohio belonged to the First Brigade and the Twelfth Virginia to the Second . We succeeded in restoring order among their men, and I then returned to the general, and found a portion of our forces engaged with the enemy. Just at that time, I think the Eighteenth Connecticut, One hundred and twenty-third Ohio, and Eighty-seventh Pennsylvania were formed in line of battle on the left on the Martinsburg road. These regiments were ordered by the general to charge the enemy, in support of our troops who were engaged. They did so; were repulsed twice, I believe ; but one of the regiments, the One hundred and twenty-third Ohio, gained a position, the orders recoiled. They rallied again immediately, and were send back the third time ; at that time we succeeded driving the enemy's right flank . At that time I discovered a portion of our own troops on our right flank falling back from the timber were they were engaged . The troops on our left having gained a passage, were passing out the martinsburg road. I did not see the general at that time. Just before that I saw him dismounted. It was very soon after the theirs charge had been made. I rode back, of ny own accord, to the troops on our right, whom I found in command of Colonel Ely and Colonel Wilson . I ordered them to march by the left flank, following a ravine running parallel with the Martinsburg road until they came to its head, and then to follow the retreating column . I left them then, and rode rapidly to the troops who were already moving off in retreat, where I found the general, and told him what I had done . He remarked that he had sent a like order to them. Those two regiments, the Eighteenth Connecticut and the One hundred and twenty-third Ohio, were cut off, and a large portion captured. I think that must have been the results of a very tardy movement, as they were not far from the rest of the column. From there to Harper's Ferry we met no enemy, and had no further casualties. The third brigade did