Today in History:

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


hour behind General McCausland, and the delay could not have affected the result. The enemy were there and disposed of their men to meet attacks at each point so soon as threatened.

Thence we moved to Moorefield, reaching there Friday, August 5, and went into camp, General McCausland on the Moorefield side of the South Branch and this command along the Romney road, the only place I could get grass, my outside regiment four miles and a half from Moorefield, my nearest three-fourths of a mile from General McCausland, who was three miles from that town. The camp was indicated by him, and I received orders, as I did during the expedition, every-where and in every place, where to place my pickets. He designated three roads-the Romney, Patterson's Creek, and Williamsport roads. They were accordingly picketed as he ordered. He directed no scouts along my front and I send none out. He being my commanding officer, having access to all means of information, choosing his own camps, routes, and times of march, I consider it was not my place to send scouts without his order.

At 2 a. m. Sunday, August 7, I received a verbal order by a courier from him, informing me that Averell had passed through Romney the preceding evening with three brigades of cavalry, and directing me to saddle up my command and send out a scout on the Romney road. I instantly sent a courier to each regiment, transmitting the order; it was promptly obeyed by each officer. I, at the same time, sent a scout on the Romney road from the Eighth Virginia Cavalry. This was the first, last, and only intimation I ever received from General McCausland of the proximity of the enemy, and the only order I ever received from him on the subject. The order itself was calculated to assure me that there was no danger of immediate attack. Had he thought it was imminent, he would doubtless have at least ordered me to form and mount my command, if not to take a position to resist attack. My camp was no place to fight in, being a level, with all positions for artillery in favor of an approaching enemy, and had a fight been anticipated I should doubtless have been withdrawn to the fine range of hills on his (General McCausland's) side of the river. About daylight a squadron in Confederate uniform moved by the camp of the First Maryland straight to my headquarters. This who were up and saw them supposed them to be a returning scout or picket, and took no notice of them. They never fired a shot until they reached McNeill's house, where my camp was. Soon after them came a body of Federal cavalry, who rode at once through the camp of the First Maryland to that of the Second Maryland and dispersed both, they being very small, reduced by losses in battle and hard marching to an aggregate for both of not 130 men in camp, the First having twenty-eight men on picket. Major Seeney, Thirty-sixth Virginia Battalion, was rapidly pressed back to my headquarters, when Lieutenant McNulty, with two pieces of artillery, doubly charged with canister, sought to stop the enemy, but his cannoneers were swept from their pieces by a charge in flank. From the back door of my headquarters, they being around me, I galloped to the Eighth Virginia Cavalry to get them to charge, passing around the front of their column to get there. It was then too late; the Eighth were moving off in good order, but neither their colonel nor myself could wheel them in time. Colonel Peters then had the Twenty-first Regiment well in hand, but was unable to check the charge until he had passed beyond the river into General McCausland's camp, where he formed and stopped their crossing for some time, with a loss to them, since ascertained, of 2 majors and 38 men. My object heretofore