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[398] a half on the Oxford road, while a detachment of equal size was sent one mile and a half on the road leading from Gettysburgh to York, both detachments being under the command of the gallant Major Webber, who from time to time kept me so well informed of the movements of the enemy that I was enabled to make my dispositions with complete success. At twelve o'clock an order was transmitted to me from the Brigadier-General commanding the division by one of his aids, directing me, upon being relieved by a brigade from the Second division, to move with my command and form a junction with the First brigade on the extreme left. On the arrival of the brigade of the Second division, commanded by Colonel McIntosh, I prepared to execute the order. Before I had left my position, Brigadier-General Greg, commanding the Second division, arrived with his entire command. Learning the true condition of affairs on my front, and rightly conjecturing that the enemy was making his dispositions for vigorously attacking our position, Brigadier-General Gregg ordered me to remain in the position I then occupied. The enemy was soon after reported to be advancing on my front. The detachment of fifty men sent on the Oxford road were driven in, and at the same time the enemy's line of skirmishers, consisting of dismounted cavalry, appeared on the crest of the ridge of hills on my front. The line extended beyond my left. To repel their advance, I ordered the Fifth cavalry to a more advanced position, with instructions to maintain their ground at all hazards. Colonel Alger, commanding the Fifth, assisted by Majors Trowbridge and Ferry, of the same regiment, made such admirable disposition of their men behind fences and other defences, as enabled them to successfully repel the repeated advance of a greatly superior force. I attributed their success in a great measure to the fact that this regiment is armed with the Spencer repeating rifle, which, in the hands of brave, determined men, like those composing the Fifth Michigan cavalry, is, in my estimation, the most effective fire-arm that our cavalry can adopt. Colonel Alger held his ground until his men had exhausted their ammunition, when he was compelled to fall back on the main body. The beginning of this movement was the signal for the enemy to charge, which they did with two regiments, mounted and dismounted. I at once ordered the Seventh Michigan cavalry, Colonel Mann, to charge the advancing column of the enemy. The ground over which we had to pass was very unfavorable for the manoeuvring of cavalry, but despite all obstacles this regiment advanced boldly to the assault, which was executed in splendid style, the enemy being driven from field to field until our advance reached a high and unbroken fence, behind which the enemy were strongly posted. Nothing daunted, Colonel Mann, followed by the main body of his regiment, bravely rode up to the fence and discharged their revolvers in the very face of the foe. No troops could have maintained this position; the Seventh was <*>herefore, compelled to retire, followed by twice the number of the enemy. By this time, Colonel Alger, of the Fifth Michigan cavalry, had succeeded in mounting a considerable portion of his regiment, and gallantly advanced to the assistance of the Seventh, whose further pursuit by the enemy he checked. At the same time an entire brigade of the enemy's cavalry, consisting of four regiments, appeared just over the crest in our front. They were formed in column of regiments. To meet this overwhelming force I had — but one available regiment, the First Michigan cavalry, and the fire of battery M, Second regular artillery. I at once ordered the First to charge, but learned at the same moment that similar orders had been given by Brigadier-General Gregg. As before stated, the First was formed in column of battalions. Upon receiving the order to charge, Colonel Town, placing himself at the head of his command, ordered the “trot” and sabres to be drawn. In this manner this gallant body of men advanced to the attack of a force outnumbering them five to one. In addition to this numerical superiority, the enemy had the advantage of position, and were exultant over the repulse of the Seventh Michigan cavalry. All these facts considered, would seem to render success on the part of the First impossible. Not so, however. Arriving within a few yards of the enemy's column, the charge was ordered, and with a yell that spread terror before them, the First Michigan cavalry, led by Colonel Town, rode upon the front rank of the enemy, sabring all who came within reach. For a moment, but only a moment, that long, heavy column stood its ground, then unable to withstand the impetuosity of our attack, it gave way into a disorderly rout, leaving vast numbers of their dead and wounded in our possession, while the First, being masters of the field, had the proud satisfaction of seeing the much vaunted “chivalry,” led by their favorite commander, seek safety in headlong flight. I cannot find language to express my high appreciation of the gallantry and daring displayed by the officers and men of the First Michigan cavalry. They advanced to the charge of a vastly superior force with as much order and precision as if going upon parade; and I challenge the annals of warfare to produce a more brilliant or successful charge of cavalry than the one just recounted. Nor must I forget to acknowledge the invaluable assistance rendered by battery M, Second regiment of artillery, in this charge. Our success in driving the enemy from the field is due, in a great measure, to the highly efficient manner in which the battery was handled by Lieutenant A. C. M. Pennington, assisted by Lieutenants Clark, Woodruff, and Hamilton. The enemy made but slight demonstration against us during the remainder of the day, except in one instance he attempted to turn my left flank, which attempt was most gallantly met and successfully frustrated by Second Lieutenant J. H. Kellogg, with company H, Sixth Michigan cavalry. We held possession of the field until dark, during which time we collected our dead and wounded. At dark I returned with my command


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Alger (3)
Mann (2)
J. J. Gregg (2)
Woodruff (1)
H. C. Webber (1)
Trowbridge (1)
A. C. M. Pennington (1)
McIntosh (1)
J. H. Kellogg (1)
David T. Hamilton (1)
Greg (1)
N. H. Ferry (1)
Stephen Clark (1)
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