to be got to the rear. It was now discovered that the enemy, with his greatly superior force, enveloped the troops on our right, and that they had been driven back. The First Brigade moved back up the hill, when I was ordered by Major-General Crook in person to hold the enemy in check long enough to enable one of our batteries, which was very much exposed, to withdraw, and then to fall back slowly, bearing to the right of Winchester going north, and protect the line of retreat on the Martinsburg road. From this time until we reached Bunker Hill the First Brigade covered the retreat on the right of the road going north. The enemy frequently pushed forward his cavalry, making strong efforts to reach the road. Their attempts were steadily repulsed, so that our trains and artillery were given ample time to withdraw. Two pieces of artillery, abandoned for some cause, supposed to belong to our cavalry, were hauled off by hand by two companies of the Thirty-sixth Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry and saved. Throughout the action and retreat the number of stragglers from my brigade was small, and the conduct of men and officers generally was conspicuously good.
The Thirteenth Virginia Volunteers, Colonel Brown, was never in a general engagement before. The officers and men of this regiment, under the circumstances, I deem worthy of special commendation.
On the 25 the First Brigade again acted as rear guard until the command reached Martinsburg. A short distance south of Martinsburg a line of battle was formed, the First Brigade holding the left, facing south. Some light skirmishing and artillery firing occurred here. The enemy were easily held in check until Government property was removed from Martinsburg. The whole command was then moved through Martinsburg to the Williamsport road. Soon after the rebels occupied Martinsburg, when we were ordered to return and support the cavalry in retaking the town. The First Brigade was formed in line of battle in advance of the infantry command, and, supporting the cavalry charge, in conjunction with the other infantry of the command, reoccupied Martinsburg without serious opposition. After holding the Williamsport road, the First Brigade being relieved as rear guard by other troops. The chief loss of the brigade was sustained early in the battle of Winchester on the 24th.
The loss was as follows:
Twenty-third Ohio Volunteer Infantry: Killed, 6; wounded, 58; left on battle-field, 72; total loss. 136.
Thirty-sixth Ohio Veteran Volunteer Infantry: Killed, 9; wounded, 103; left on battle-field, 24.
Fifth Virginia Volunteers: Killed, 4; wounded, 30; left on battle-field, 11.
Thirteenth Virginia Volunteers: Killed, 14; wounded, 50; left on battle-field, 15.
Total: Killed, 33; wounded, 241; left on battle-field, 122.
Of those left on the battle-field the greater part were killed or wounded. Total loss, 396.
Among the killed were many excellent officers and men.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. B. HAYES,
Lieutenant C. B. HAYSLIP,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, Second Div., Army of West Va.