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4 Series I Volume XLIII-I Serial 90 - Shenandoah Valley Campaign Part I

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Page 4 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter LV.


No. 2. Report of Brigadier General Bradley T. Johnson, C. S. Army:


HEADQUARTERS JOHNSON'S CAVALRY BRIGADE,
Near Mount Jackson, August 10, 1864.

COLONEL: *

On the 4th [August] at daylight we moved on New Creek, this command in rear. On arriving there I was ordered by Brigadier-General McCausland to occupy a hill on the left with my whole command, post my artillery, and open on an inclosed work which was in our front. I attempted the movement as directed, and found the hills so precipitous that my men could hardly walk up, much less get the artillery there, and after advancing my skirmishers close to the hill designated found a block-house, a palisade work and abatis occupied by a few hundred of the enemy. I could have carried the place with a loss very heavy for my force, but finding that it would be impossible to get artillery there, and when occupied it would be fully 1,200 yards from the inclosed work, and that that work was open in rear and swept by a battery of six guns within short range, making it utterly untenable after being carried by assault, and it being too late for more extended operations, I determined, on consultation with Colonel Peters, who was nearest me, not to attack, I accordingly drew off, reported the facts, and was ordered by Brigadier-General McCausland to cover his withdrawal, which I did. When his advance reached New Creek I was two miles and one-half in his rear. The reason of this was that I marched from beyond Romney, he from the mouth of Mill Creek, making my march fully seven miles longer than his. When I reached the foot of the mountain I found his column, or at least his ambulances, halted, and he having taken a road twenty-five miles from Romney to New Creek, instead of one eighteen miles, as he had led me to believe he would take, having changed the route without informing me, other than the bare order to follow him. I, in the absence of orders, inferred that he intended to break this long march by a halt to graze. He had halted long enough for me to close an interval of seven miles. I, therefore, also stopped, for precisely an hour from the time my rear got into the field until my advance again started. If, as I understand he reports, there were no men in the works at New Creek when he got there he ought to have taken them at once without waiting for me. But he ordered me to place artillery in a place utterly inaccessible for it, with only eleven rounds for two guns, which fact i reported to him when he gave me the order, and without having reconnoitered the position, he directed me to take it. If he had done so he never could have given the order. It is now my deliberate judgment that the post at New Creek can only be taken by assault of superior numbers, and that had I occupied the position designated by General McCausland it would have been unavailing, inasmuch as the square work, the object of his attack, was perfectly commanded by another work in rear, and also by a work on the Maryland side mounted with heavy guns. It was, in fact, only the outpost of the position. the capture of it would have cost many men, only to be driven out instantly with the loss of more. General McCausland, however, errs in thinking there were few men there. It has since appeared by a report that General Kelley was there with the forces he had at Cumberland. I was an

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*For portion of report here omitted, see Vol. XXXVII, Part I, p.354.

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Page 4 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter LV.

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