MAY 29-30, 1864.-Skirmishes at Newtown, Va.
Report of Lieutenant Colonel Augustus I. Root, Fifteenth New York Cavalry.
HDQRS. DETACH. 15TH AND 21ST NEW YORK CAVALRY,
Martinsburg, Va., May 31, 1864.
COLONEL: I have the honor to make the following report:
In accordance with Special Orders, Numbers 74, I took the command of all the available men of my command, amounting to eighty-three men, and proceeded with wagon train consisting of sixteen wagons, to report to the department headquarters in the field. I proceeded without seeing or hearing or the enemy until my arrival at Newtown, where my rear was attacked by 150 rebels, led by Major Gilmor in person. Immediately wheeled about my command and fought them until they had flanked me on both sides. Seeing there was great danger of losing my whole command, I fell back, with the following loss: Captain R. H. Brett, of the First New York Veteran Cavalry, who fell mortally wounded, since died; 9 enlisted men wounded, and 9 missing; also the loss of the wagons train. Assistant Surgeon Wall, of the Fifteenth New York Cavalry, is missing. I had proceeded about a mile on the road when I met Colonel Reasoner, of the One hundred and sixtieth Ohio Infantry, with 600 men and sixty wagons, on the march to this post. I immediately returned, supported by Colonel Reasoner, in hopes of recapturing the train, but found that the enemy, knowing of the near approach of the infantry, had fired all the wagons except four, which they had taken with them. A small part of the medical stores, forage, and one wagon was saved. It now being dark, the command went into camp for the night.
The following morning the enemy attacked the pickets, killing 2 enlisted men of the Twenty-first New York Cavalry, and capturing 1 sergeant and 1 corporal of the Fifteenth New York Cavalry.
Upon the order of Colonel Reasoner, I returned to this post with mu command.
I cannot speak in too high terms of the courage and bravery of Captain Brett. Although having no command he took his place in the ranks and fought like a hero.
To my officers and men too much praise cannot be given them. The engagement was mostly hand to hand, a number of the men receiving saber cuts, and, in my opining but the overpowering numbers defeated them.
All of which I respectfully submit.
A. I. ROOT,
Lieutenant Colonel Fifteenth New York Cav., Commanding Detach.
Colonel WILLIAM P. MAULSBY,
Commanding Post, Martinsburg, W. Va.
HEADQUARTERS RESERVE DIVISION,
Martinsburg, Va., June 2, 1864.
respectfully forwarded to department headquarters.
This report was called for immediately on the return of Lieutenant-Colonel Root, Fifteenth New York Cavalry, but was handed in too late to be acted upon before his going to the army in the field.
11 R-VOL XXXVII, PT I