War of the Rebellion: Serial 044 Page 0549 Chapter XXXIX. THE GETTYSBURG CAMPAIGN.

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most of his force to the left of the town, to dismount it, and send it forward as skirmishers, to endeavor to get possession of the town, thus cutting off the enemy's retreat toward Hedgesville and Williamsport, and to report to me what force, if any, he discovered in and to the left of the town. At the same time, Lieutenant-Colonel Carter was directed to take the best position for his artillery to enable him to silence the opposing battery, which was annoying us. Without halting, the infantry was put in a position for a direct attack-the Alabama brigade on the right, supporting the artillery, which had already opened, Ramseur on the left, Doles and Iverson in the center, Daniel in reserve. Before these preparations had been completed, however, the enemy's battery had been nearly silenced, and, fearing he would retreat, I ordered Ramseur's brigade and each of the other in turn to advance with speed upon the enemy's position. Notwithstanding their fatiguing march, the troops exhibited great enthusiasm, and rapidly occupied the town and the enemy's position. Ramseur's brigade, being in the lead, pursued the enemy at almost a run for 2 miles beyond the town, but, quick as it was, the dismounted cavalry and a squadron or two on horseback, under General Jenkins, were ahead of them, and, after a few shots, compelled the enemy to abandon all his guns, with perhaps one exception. Five of his pieces, with their caissons and most of their horses, were thus captured. Nothing was seen of the Federal infantry after the attack began, nor was it known for some hours after their retreat that it escaped by the Shepherdstown road, while the cavalry and artillery fled by way of Williamsport. This latter fact, together with the darkness, prevented the cavalry from discovering that the force had divided. Could the division have reached the town an hour or two earlier, thus giving me time to seize the principal roads leading into Martinsburg, I feel certain that I would have captured the whole force. Under the circumstances, however, nothing was proper excepting a direct attack, as to have awaited daylight would have lost to us all the artillery and the stores, which we secured by moving ahead without delay. General Jenkins continued the pursuit of the enemy that night nearly to the river, capturing many prisoners. Many others were taken in town by the infantry. The enemy endeavored to burn the stores accumulated at Martinsburg, and to a large extent succeeded in doing so, but left in our hands some 6, 000 bushels of fine grain, some commissary stores, about 400 rounds of rifled artillery ammunition, and small-arms and ammunition in small quantity. With the artillery were captured two excellent ambulances. After recalling Ramseur from the pursuit, and putting a regiment of Doles' brigade in the town as a guard, the appropriate officers were set to work gathering prisoners, who were concealed in the houses of many of the Union families of the town, and taking inventories of the supplies. On the 15th, the troops were allowed to rest until after 10 a. m., when, for the first time, I received information as to the progress of events at Winchester, and about the same time learned that General Milroy with his shattered command had passed Smithfield, en route for Harper's Ferry, and had already gotten out of my reach. General Jenkins' gallant brigade, under his impetuous leadership, had already succeeded in crossing the Potomac above Williamsport, and, after driving off the small force of that place, had advanced into Pennsylvania.