War of the Rebellion: Serial 057 Page 0063 Chapter XLIV. ACTION AT JONESVILLE, VA.

Search Civil War Official Records

turnpike, and proceeded with my command to rejoin the brigade, then encamped at Little War Gap.

The brigade having moved previous to my arrival at the latter place, I followed and joined the brigade on the evening of January 2 on the north bank of Clinch River. Owing to the swollen condition of the stream and the extreme darkness of the night a number of my men failed to cross, and remained on the south side of the river.

My command was halted on the morning of January 3 with the remainder of brigade for the purpose of reforming. I there ascertained that many of my men had straggled from the line of march on account of the severe cold and their naked condition, many being entirely without shoes. I could not muster more than 100 effective men. One man froze in the saddle and several others were frosted.

I was ordered to follow the Twenty-seventh Virginia Battalion Cavalry. I entered the Jonesville and Cumberland Gap turnpike some 300 yards below the enemy's camp at Jonesville, Va. We moved up at a gallop in column of fours, well closed on the Twenty-seventh Battalion, which halted on the summit of the hill and opened a light fire upon the enemy, at the same time dismounting. The road ahead being blocked, and having no orders but to follow the Twenty-seventh, I dismounted a portion of my command and formed on the left of the turnpike. We pursued the enemy across the field some 100 yards, capturing a number of prisoners. The enemy turning his battery upon us in open field and at short range, my command fell back a short distance, where I succeeded in rallying all, except such as were guarding prisoners to the rear. By your orders I then moved by the left flank and succeeded in carrying a hill heavily timbered and occupied by a few of the enemy's skirmishers and overlooking his battery. Shortly after my occupation of this hill Lieutenant-Colonel Cook came up with a detachment of the Eighth Virginia Cavalry and took command of the whole. The enemy with a small force made an attempt to retake the hill, but were repulsed and pursued by us to within some 250 yards of his main body, when he opened upon us with grape and canister, and thinking it impracticable to attempt to drive him from the Milburn house, near the center of his lines, we fell back to the summit of the hill, where we remained, exchanging a few occasional shots with the enemy till about 3.30 p.m., when Colonel Cook was withdrawn with his detachment. In some twenty minutes after I was ordered to move forward upon the enemy, who had evacuated the Milburn house, and then occupied the hill directly toward Jonesville and in my front.

In making this move the enemy fired several volleys into my advancing line, which was informally drawn on account of the nature of the ground over which we had to pass; and at this time of the engagement I sustained my only loss, which was 4 men severely wounded, none killed.

I continued to advance, and when within 150 yards of the enemy he ceased firing and the engagement on my part here ceased.

Respectfully,

JAMES R. CLAIBORNE,

Major, Commanding Thirty-seventh Virginia Battalion Cavalry.

Brigadier General WILLIAM E. JONES,

Commanding Cavalry Brigade.