Numbers 578. Report of Captain W. B. Newton, Fourth Virginia Cavalry, of action at Aldie.
AUGUST 5, 1863.
COLONEL: In pursuance of an order from brigade headquarters, I have the honor to present the following report of the operations of the second, third, and fifth squadrons of this regiment, in the cavalry action near Aldie, on June 17: Upon reaching Dover Mills, I was notified of the approach of the enemy, and directed to assume command of the three squadrons present, and prepare to receive a charge. The squadrons were accordingly formed in the following order in supporting distance of each other: Second, third, and fifth. Immediately thereafter, I was ordered by Colonel Munford, commanding brigade, to send a squadron to protect a piece, then in position, to cover the road from Aldie to Snicker's Gap. The third squadron [Lieutenant [A. D.] Payne] was detached for that purpose, and ordered to send a picket down the Aldie road. In a few moments, I was ordered to move my whole command up rapidly, to support Lieutenant Payne. Upon reaching the road to Snicker's Gap, I found the enemy in full pursuit of our picket. He was charged in flank by the reserve of the third squadron, under Lieutenant Payne, and handsomely repulsed. Upon receiving orders from Colonel Munford to pursue a portion of the enemy's column which had been cut off by the third squadron, I started in pursuit, when it was brought to my notice that the enemy were charging with a fresh regiment. Wheeling to the right-about, the second and fifth squadrons charged, and drove back the head of his column, but were repulsed in turn. Having rallied within 100 yards of the scene of the first charge, a heavy column was seen approaching from the direction of our rear. Being uncertain as to the character of this force, I deemed it prudent to move across to the Middleburg side of the road, to provide against the contingency of its being a hostile force. A messenger sent to ascertain its character having reported it to be the Second and Third Regiments, I again moved forward. The Second Regiment having moved up the road, the Third on the left of the road, I was directed to bring up my command on the extreme right and in reserve. The Second and Third having driven the advanced forces of the enemy back to a piece of timber in which his reserves seemed to be posted, he pushed forward three fresh squadrons, the most advanced of which attempted to charge the Third Regiment while forming. The second and third squadrons accordingly met the charge, the enemy halting and standing until we got within saber-reach of them, then breaking in confusion. The Second and Third Regiments charging at the same time, a rout ensued, during which 2 squadron-markers and about 40 prisoners were captured by this regiment. With few exceptions, the conduct of men and officers was all that could be desired. The chiefs of squadrons [Captain [Charles] Old. Lieutenants Payne and [L. A.] Davis] attracted my particular attention by their coolness and gallantry.
W. B. NEWTON,
Captain, Commanding Second Squadron.
Colonel WILLIAMS C. WICKHAM.