War of the Rebellion: Serial 090 Page 0482 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter LV.

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after daybreak. I was ordered to mass in rear of the First Brigade. The First Brigade was soon after ordered to cross on the right, and I was ordered to advance to the creek and cover the Reserve Brigade, which had crossed in front and was engaged with the enemy. I also, by order of General Merritt, directed one section of Taylor's battery, supported by the Fourth New York Cavalry, to move to the right and take position on the hill covering the ford where General Custer was endeavoring to force a crossing. The section rendered valuable service at that point. About 2 p.m. I was ordered, with the remainder of the brigade, to cross on the left, advance, and, if possible, gain the Winchester pike, and endeavor to effect a junction with Lowell and Custer. I crossed the river without opposition, met the enemy's cavalry half a mile from the river, charged with Seventeenth Pennsylvania, and drove them for a mile, having crossed a bridge and run, I was suddenly attacked on my right flank a column of the enemy's infantry, which I had broken through as they retired from Custer's front. My men were momentarily thrown in confusion, and the rebel cavalry, seizing the opportunity, rallied, charged, and forced us back to the bridge. I immediately formed the First New York Dragoons across the road, and, after a sharp fight, succeed in checking them. It was here the gallant Captain Thorp, of the First New York, was killed. I now ordered up the Ninth New York Cavalry, and with that regiment and First New York again advanced. My skirmishers eagerly up the rebel cavalry as they rapidly retired, and the latter faced about and again charged them, driving them in on the gallop. I at once ordered the Ninth New York to charge and the First New York to support. The wild cheers and gleaming sabers of the gallant Ninth, as they dashed at the "chivalry," so dismayed them that, barely meeting the shock, they whirled and broke for the woods on their left, leaving a lieutenant-colonel and a number of prisoners in our hands. Reforming, I again advanced in line, with the Ninth New York in advance, the First New York on the left and rear, and in a direction facing the enemy's batteries, which were firing rapidly. At this time a line of infantry emerged from the woods on our left front. They were in some disorder, and I was at first mistaken as to their identity, supposing them to be our own troops, as I was not aware we had gained the enemy's rear. General Merritt at once ordered me to charge, which I did by changing front obliquely to the left, the evolution being splendidly executed by both regiments at a gallop, when, like a whirlwind, they dashed on the unfortunate infantry, who were vainly endeavoring to form. It was a terrible scene. Right on, over and through the rebel lines dashed the wild troopers, slashing right and left, pistoling those who had again seized their guns after surrender, and taking prisoners by the score. The rebel batteries redoubled their fire, which they distributed impartially alike to friend and foe. The brave Colonel Gibbs, of the First, and Nichols, of the Ninth, led their regiments in gallant style, and won unfading laurels in this, one of the grandest charges ever made in this war. The charge resulted in the capture of 3 battle-flags and over 300 prisoners, and the total rout of the division attacked. It cost the lives of the gallant Major Ayres, of the Ninth New York, and Captain Wright, brigade inspector on my staff, soldiers whom the brigade could ill spare. Our loss otherwise was comparatively slight, in view of the desperate nature of the charge and the terrible fire of the enemy's batteries. The First and Ninth were halted to reform, and the Sixth and Fourth New York were ordered to charge on the left of Custer's brigade. In this charge the Sixth New York, numbering less