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September 14.

This evening three squadrons of the First Maryland cavalry, commanded by Major Russell, were ordered to the front to relieve the Sixth Ohio, then engaged with the rebels at Rapidan Station. When it reached the battleground the enemy was forming for a charge. One squadron was immediately dismounted and deployed as skirmishers, and the other two formed in line of battle. Scarcely were they formed when the enemy charged with a full regiment upon the line of skirmishers. These two squadrons promptly charged the enemy and drove him back. The enemy soon rallied and charged again; but Major Russell had his men well in hand, and met the enemy the second time and drove him back again, capturing one officer and one private. The enemy was satisfied with charging. All this time the rebels had four batteries playing at cross-fires upon the Unionists, and yet, strange to say, the only casualties in the regiment of First Maryland cavalry are Captain Joseph Cook, company D, slightly wounded; Corporal Jno. McCowhen, company G, killed; private John Otto, company F, wounded; private John Schmits, company A, wounded, and three privates missing. Never did men charge more gallantly, or behave better than did these sqadrons. They met more than double their number, and twice drove them back and held the field. Lieutenant Bankard, company A, distinguished himself by his cool and gallant conduct.

The following circular was issued this day from the headquarters of the army of the Potomac, by command of Major-General Meade:

I. Newspaper correspondents will be admonished to hold no communication with prisoners of war, whether on their way to headquarters or


[53] temporarily detained in the custody of any guard, or to seek any information from guides, scouts, or refugees, coming from beyond the lines.

II. No newspaper correspondent or civilian, not connected with the army, will be permitted to accompany or remain with cavalry serving in the front, or on the flank of the army.

The cavalry advance of the army of the Potomac, under the command of General Pleasanton, reached the Rapid Ann River, at Raccoon Ford, after considerable heavy skirmishing between Culpeper and that point. No rebel infantry had been met with, though a strong force of rebel cavalry had been constantly driven back by the National forces.

This morning, at about six o'clock, a regiment of Texas Rangers, the Second Texas cavalry, two hundred and fifty strong, under command of Colonel George Madison, charged on the Union picket stationed about one mile south of the town of Vidalia, La., on the road leading along the levee, near the river. The picket — only one lieutenant and six men strong — had to fall back against such an overwhelming power. The musketry firing was distinctly heard in town, where only two companies of the Thirtieth Missouri regiment were stationed. Colonel Farrar, who happened to be present, at once ordered all his men to “fall in,” and was in a few minutes at the place of attack, having only about twenty men, who were first under arms, along with him, the whole force at Vidalia who were fit for duty consisting only of about fifty men. In the doublequick he rushed forward, and was received by a heavy fire of the enemy, who had taken possession of a pontoon train encamped in the southern part of the town, and were just preparing to burn up the wagons loaded with the pontoons. The Union skirmishers opened a brisk fire on the enemy, who was covered by a live hedge, and could not be seen by the men, though the distance was only about twenty yards. Colonel Farrar seeing that the object of the enemy's attack was the destroying of the pontoon trains, ordered a charge at once, and with cheers his men rushed to the guard, where a lively skirmish for about fifteen minutes took place, and he succeeded in driving the enemy back. The Unionists lost two men killed and four wounded. The enemy lost six killed, eleven wounded, and two prisoners, among whom was a Lieutenant Skinner, of the Twenty-sixth Tennessee cavalry, who stated that the strength of his regiment was two hundred and fifty, and that Brigadier-General Majors, with a body-guard of thirty men from a Louisiana cavalry regiment, was near, but did not take part in the charge; that his regiment had crossed Black River near Trinity City, La., on the evening of the thirteenth, to charge on Vidalia for the purpose of burning down the pontoon train; that besides his regiment there were two Texas cavalry regiments, under command of Colonels Stone and Lane, at Black River, seventeen miles distant, and also one Louisiana and one Arkansas cavalry regiment, all under command of Brigadier-General Majors. Colonel Farrar, who had sent notice to Natchez about the attack, at once prepared to have his men mounted to follow up the enemy as quick as reenforcements came. At about eight o'clock two regiments of infantry and a few companies of cavalry had crossed the river and come to his assistance. The enemy was followed up closely and overtaken at Black River, where another skirmish took place, lasting until dark. The enemy was forced to cross the river, and the National forces returned to camp, where they arrived at eleven o'clock P. M.

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