[ September 3 - 12 ]
HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY BRIGADE,
October 25, 1862
Major [N. R.] FITZHUGH,
MAJOR: In accordance with the orders of Major-General Stuart that I should give a report of the operations of my brigade since it joined the division in September, I beg to forward the accompanying reports: I shall confine myself in these papers to such matters as I deem of sufficient importance to deserve mention.
On the morning of ---- I reported to General Stuart, and was at once taken by him to Flint Hill, near Fairfax Court-House, which was found to be in the possession of the enemy. After some firing of artillery and sharpshooters the enemy retired, and were followed by my brigade with two pieces belonging to Stuart's Horse Artillery. The enemy were soon overtaken, when the rifle piece of Captain Pelham opened on them with effect, scattering them in every direction. As soon as the cavalry could be brought forward, I pursued them, taking a few prisoners; but, owing to the darkness, my pursuit had to be very slow and cautious. The enemy placed some guns and infantry so as to command the road, and opened fire from the woods as I advanced. Having no artillery then with me, I withdrew the brigade, having lost one man so severely wounded that he died the next day.
Early the next morning we moved on toward Dranesvillee, taking a few prisoners along the road. From this point we were ordered to Leesburg, where, after halting a few hours, we proceeded to the Potomac, which we crossed on the afternoon of September 5, and marched to Poolesville, where we halted for the night.
The next day we moved to Urbana, in which neighborhood the brigade remained for several days, having various little skirmishes with the enemy near Hyattstown, driving them back on every occasion. Leaving Urbana, the brigade followed the main army to Fredericktown, which place I was directed to hold after our army passed through. My pickets were thrown out on the various roads leading to the city, and I was notified about midday on September 12 that the enemy in heavy force was advancing on the National Road. Having two squadrons on picket at the bridge over the Monocacy (on the road from Urbana) and near that point, it was of the utmost consequence that I should hold the approaches to the city by the National road until these squadrons could be withdrawn. With this object in view, I took one rifled gun to the assistance of the two guns which were on the pike, and placed a squadron of the Second South Carolina Regiment to support the battery. This squadron was under command of Lieutenant Meighan, who had been skirmishing with the enemy since he had crossed the Monocacy. The enemy opened fire on this squadron, killing 2 of the men. Finding that my other squadrons were coming in, I withdrew slowly to the city, sending my guns to occupy a position which would command the road from the city to the foot of the mountain.
In the mean time the enemy had planted a gun in the suburbs of the city, and, with unparalleled atrocity, fired into the city along its crowded streets. This gun was supported by a regiment and a half of infantry and a part of a regiment of cavalry. To secure a safe retreat for my brigade, it was necessary to dislodge this force. I therefore ordered Lieutenant Meighan to charge with his squadron, while I brought the brigade to his support. This order was most gallantly carried out, the squadron, accompanied by the provost-marshal guard of 40 men from the different regiments, under Captain [J. F.] Waring, Jeff. Davis Legion, all under the immediate direction of Colonel Butler, and led by Lieutenant Meighan, charged the enemy, scattered them in very direction killing and wounding many, taking 10 prisoners, among them Colonel Moor, Twenty-eighth Ohio Regiment, and capturing the gun. Unfortunately, five of the horses attached to this gun were killed, so that it could not be removed. In the published accounts of the enemy they admit the loss of this gun and the repulse of their force.
I beg to commend most favorably the conduct of the Second South Carolina Regiment on this occasion. They were ably and gallantly of Lieutenant Meighan, which had never been under fire before, and yet no troops could have behaved better. Captain Waring, with the provost guard, participated in this brilliant charge. So successful was the charge and so complete the repulse of the enemy that no further attempt to molest me was made, and I withdrew the brigade, at a walk, from the city, bringing off my prisoners. Leaving Lieutenant-Colonel Martin with his command and two guns to picket at the gap of the mountain that night, I took the brigade to Middletown, where we bivouacked that night.
The operations of the brigade on the next and the ensuing days I reserve for another report.
I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
[ September 13 - 20 ]
MARTINSBURG, W. VA., October 31, 1862.
MAJOR: I beg to present the following report of the operations of my brigade on the morning of September 13, and the few days subsequent:
As already reported to you, the brigade encamped on the night of September 12 near Middletown, leaving the Jeff. Davis Legion, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Martin, to picket the National road on the gap of the mountain between Frederick City and Middletown.
At daylight on the morning of September 13 the enemy made his appearance and attempted to force his way across the mountain. His advance guard being driven back, he planted a battery on the pike and opened fire on [Lieutenant- Colomel Martin. Captain [J.F.] Hart, with a section of rifled guns, had been sent to [Lieutenant-]Colonel Martin, and he returned the fire of the enemy with good effect, forcing him to change his position more than once. In the mean time skirmishers on both sides had become actively engaged, and the fight was kept up until 2 p.m., when the enemy gained a position which commanded Hart's guns, as well as the road. I ordered the guns withdrawn and placed in position near Middletown. The brigade then took position in rear of them, waiting the approach of the enemy, who soon appeared in force crossing the mountain. A brisk artillery fire took place on both sides, and the sharpshooters of the two forces also became engaged. Having held the enemy in check sufficiently long to accomplish the objects desired by General Stuart, I was directed by him to withdraw my command in the direction of Burkittsville, sending my guns and [Lieutenant]Colonel Martin's command on to Boonsborough.
The First North Carolina Regiment, under command of Colonel Baker, was the rear guard of the brigade during the fight at Middletown, and both officers and men conducted themselves to my perfect satisfaction. They were exposed to a severe fire of artillery and musketry, which they bore without flinching, nor was there the slightest confusion in the ranks. They lost 8 men wounded, and 3 missing. Captain Siler, a gallant officer, was among the wounded, having his leg broken. He was brought off, but, as his wound became painful, he was left at Boonsborough.
Before leaving this part of my report, I beg to commend the conduct of Lieutenant-Colonel Martin and his command while he held the gap of the mountain. The men of Lieutenant-Colonel Martin fought with their accustomed gallantry, and they were able supported by a portion of the North Carolina Regiment, who had been detailed as sharpshooters. Lieutenant-Colonel Martin on this occasion, as on all others, conducted himself as a gallant and able officer.
After withdrawing the brigade from Middletown, I proceeded toward Burkittsille, where I expected to form a junction with Colonel Munford. On the road to this place I discovered, on a road parallel to the one on which we were, a regiment of Yankee cavalry. Taking the Cobb Legion with me, I directed Lieutenant-Colonel Young to charge this regiment. This order was carried out in gallant style, the legion crossing sabers with the Yankees and chasing them some distance. Five prisoners were taken, while a published account of the Yankees now before me admits a loss of 30 killed and wounded. The prisoners taken belonged to the Third Indiana the Eighth Illinois. Lieutenant-Colonel Young, who led the charge, received a painful wound in the leg, and Captain G. J. Wright, whose company was in the advance, was wounded in the arm. Our loss was 4 killed and 9 wounded. Among the former I regret to have to mention Lieutenant Marshall and Sergeant Bardsdale. I take pleasure in calling attention to the behavior of this command. Colonel Young led with great gallantry, and, after his fall, Major Delony. After driving in this cavalry, I moved on to Burkittsville, where we remained during the night of September 13.
On the morning of the 14th I was ordered by General Stuart to proceed in the direction of Knoxville, to cover the front of General McLaws.
We remained here until the morning of the 16th, covering the crossing of the division of General McLaws into Harper's Ferry. Passing through this place, we recrossed the Potomac on the morning of the 17th, and reported to General Stuart near Sharpsburg during the battle of that day.
On the night of the 18th we crossed into Virginia; marched all night. The next day crossed the Potomac at Mason's Ford into Maryland. On the afternoon of the 19th joined General Stuart at Williamsport.
On the 20th in attempting to advance, I was met by a large force of cavalry, which was afterward re-enforced by a division of infantry. As the enemy were advancing in heavy force on the roads leading to the town, General Stuart ordered me to withdraw across the river at night. This was successfully accomplished, and the brigade took position near the Sulphur Spring. Since that time no movement of interest has occurred except the expedition into Pennsylvania, of which a report has already been made.
I have thus given a summary of the operations of my command, as directed to do by General Stuart.
I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Source: OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, Vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam - Serial 27) , Pages 822 -824