Brentsville, proceeded on the road to cross the bridge, the condition of which would permit the crossing only in single file. When the head of the column had reached the opposite side several shots were fired from a thicket of pines a few rods in advance to the right of the road, and being in an exposed position which afforded no chance to oppose the adversary, the head of the column (about eight persons) who had crossed with the officer in charge dashed rapidly forward to a point opposite the thicket, about fifteen rods beyond, where it terminates to a point extending toward the bridge, when Major Larrimer, who accompanied the expedition, and two men fell killed and four were wounded by a volley (apparently from carbines) proceeding from the thicket. This brought the party to a halt, except two officers (the one in command) and one man, who had gone so far and were under such headwy as to make it prudent to go ahead, which they did, passing the enemy masked close to the road on their right. Being thus separated from the officer in command, I assumed command of the party (consisting then of thirteen men) and went back to the terminus of this neck of timber, intending to advance along on its right to endeavor to get a view of the rebels and if possible to cut off t attack them, but the men evinced much reluctance and hesitancy in following, and it was only by force that a party would go dismounted through the thicket to where the major was lying, upon which being done, however, he was found to have been stripped of his boots, and the enemy had gone (apparently retired) to a more elevated position a little farther on, as vedettes could be seen at various points and in different directions. At first I thought to pursue and attack them, but the other officers, Captain Restieaux and Lieutenants Scudder, Schutt, and Quail, denouncing the policy of doing so with so small a party, and considering the diffidence evinced by the men from the beginning, I deemed it expedient to return to Brentsville, where I posted the men and came into camp to report to General Crawford, who ordered out two companies of infantry and all the available cavalry force attached to his headquarters to pursue the enemy. We went this time about five miles beyond Brentsville, encountering no obstacle, when it became dark and we returned to camp, having seen no traces of the enemy beyond where the skirmish had ensued except fresh tracks of horses upon different by-roads, indicating their departure in groups of from three to five each. It is impossible to judge what force they may have had concealed, but I doubt whether those engaged exceeded our own number. Our casualties were 1 officer and 2 men killed and 4 men wounded. The enemy's could not be determined, there being one dead body on the ground and traces (by pools of blood) of some two others having lain and being carried off.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Captain and Provost-Marshal, Third Division, Fifth Corps.
Major R. A. McCOY,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, Third Division, Fifth Corps.
Report of Major Michael Kerwin, Thirteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry.
HDQRS. THIRTEENTH Regiment PENNSYLVANIA CAVALRY,
Bristoe, Va., February 14, 1864.
MAJOR: I have the honor to report that, in compliance with orders from headquarters detailing one commissioned officer and twenty-five