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

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Page 6 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter LV.

had been to check them until I could pass the river, where I expected to find Brigadier-General McCausland with his command well in hand, who would hold them while I got in position by him, when I had no doubt of the result. Brigadier-General McCausland was not there. He had slept in the town of Moorefield, three miles distant from his camp, and did not leave there until between daylight and sunrise, and when he did get on the ground his own command was scattered, some up the Winchester road and some down the Moorefield road. I ordered up the Twenty-seventh [Virginia Battalion], Captain Gibson, and with Colonel Peters formed a line to stop their farther advance, which he did for a short time, while I went to get him a support. He was, however, forced back, and both himself and Captain Gibson wounded and taken prisoners. they were left at Moorefield. After this the enemy only followed me, but made no other attack. Beyond Moorefield I got the command in tolerable order, and General McCausland directed me to hold a position while he hurried on the Matthews' with the fragments of two regiments to join the rest of his command, which had gone up the Winchester road, and which he had directed to join him there. They did not do so, and the parts of regiments whose withdrawal this command covered were the only organized parts of his brigade that I have heard of getting off.

The way in which the enemy got in was this, as told by Private Callan, Company F, First Maryland Cavalry, to his brother, my orderly, when both were prisoners - the latter escaped: The scout from the Eighth having passed beyond the picket on the Romney road, about 3 a. m. or very early that morning, every man of it was captured by the enemy. Two men in gray uniform rode up to the two sentinels on outpost, and being challenged replied "They were scouts from the Eighth Virginia." After exchanging a word or two one rode back to pick up something lost from his saddle, and immediately returned with twenty more who captured the whole post. At the reserve they came up and said they were a relief from the Eighth virginia, and some of the men saying to those on picket, "Get your horses, you are relieved." Thus scout, picket, and reserve were captured by the enemy uniformed as Confederates, who then rode in my camp without giving any alarm. A Yankee sergeant, captured by Captain Emack, of my staff, told him that a man who had been in camp to have a stolen horse restored had guided them to the picket and my headquarters.

This great disaster would have at once been retrieved but for the insufficient armament of the command. Besides the First and Second Maryland and a squadron of the Eighth Virginia there was not a saber in the command. In that open country, perfectly level, the only mode to fight charging cavalry was by charging, and this the men were unable to do. The long Enfield musket once discharged could not be reloaded, and lay helpless before the charging saber. With any equal chaced the enemy would at once have been driven saber. With any equal chance the enemy would at once have been driven back. The largest porion of the command remained steady, and after passing Moorefield were held in hand with ease. I reached the Valley with about 300 men missing (150 have come in), leaving that number as my net loss killed, wounded, and missing.

I should have here stopped this narrative, but circumstances which have come to my knowledge render it necessary for me, in justice to myself and this command, to speak more plainly than I had intended to. Brigadier-General McCausland was in command of the expedition. He selected is own camps, routes, and lines of pickets. He always gave me orders when to camp, to march, and to picket, and I always obeyed.


Page 6 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter LV.

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