War of the Rebellion: Serial 087 Page 0824 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LIV.

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flags. The artillery was well served and to the last moment, and the firing of the dismounted men was rapid and heavy. Unused to foot service the dismounted men fell back in some confusion, and it was impossible to rally them. On the right was a swamp that united with another in the rear. The road across these swamps, although it had been repaired, was badly cut up again by the supply trains. The leading piece of artillery mired. A regiment of rebel cavalry had succeeded in turning our right and getting in our rear, attacked the retreating men, shot the artillery horses, and the men and officers were obliged to abandon the guns and caissons. In falling back I met a number of the enemy conducting a wagon captured from the First New York to the rear. I ordered the few men with me to attack and recover the wagon, which was promptly done, and it was here that Colonel Haskell, Seventh South Carolina Cavalry, was wounded. His regiment was a few yards farther on in line of battle near Cox's house, which we avoided by keeping in the woods, and soon reached the New Market road, where I succeeded in rallying my command under cover of the infantry, which was just moving out. The Tenth Corps soon met the enemy, and after about one hour's heavy firing the noise of battle died away and the enemy retired. After the repulse of my command in the morning it was not further engaged.

The loss of my command is shown in the summary below. The loss of the two batteries (eight guns and caissons) is serious; but I do not attach any blame to the officers and men. It was the natural result to be anticipated from a spirited attack in superior force, and to the defect of position, which was unavoidable, as the necessary tools to make a road and to finish the entrenching could not be had. The real defect consisted in the advanced position of the cavalry with nothing to rest upon, and a serious obstacle in rear, with avenue of approach from every other direction. This defect was of course fully known to the rebel commander, as he took every possible advantage of it. Had there been any surprise about the attack the entire command must have been sacrificed. Captain M. J. Asch, First New Jersey Cavalry, acting assistant adjutant-general of the division, and Lieutenant Beers, Eleventh Pennsylvania Cavalry, acting aide-de-camp on my staff, I regret to say were captured. The latter was captured whilst returning from carrying a message to the commander of the Tenth Army Corps. I was assisted with the greatest zeal by all the members of my staff and I have no one to reproach except myself, and only for the reason that I did not retire earlier, and that I did not have the foresight to anticipate the seriousness of the attack. I have, however, the satisfaction of feeling that the loss of my division, and the resistance it opposed to the enemy, gave time to the Tenth Army Corps to deploy and prepare for the attack.

The attention of the commanding general is called to the statement of Colonels West and Jacobs, in their reports, that a rebel regiment attempted to desert. I am still at a loss to understand whether this was a ruse or a bona fide intention to desert their cause.

My loss is considerably less than first reported, and is not so serious as was at first supposed. By far the largest is in prisoners, which is due to the fact that the Seventh South Carolina Cavalry (Colonel Haskell) succeeded in turning our right and getting in our rear.