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Doc. 62.-fight at Brandy Station, Va.

The doings of the First Maryland cavalry.

cavalry camp, near Rappahannock Station, Va., June 10, 1863.
yesterday introduced and ended the most terrific and desperate cavalry fight that ever occurred on this continent — a fight which commenced at sunrise and closed at the setting of the same.

We had learned that Stuart, with a heavy force of cavalry and artillery, was encamped at Brandy Station. It was determined to give him fight for two reasons: to find out the whereabouts of the enemy, and to disturb his plan of a contemplated raid into Pennsylvania. Our success was complete. [289] We found out the whereabouts of the enemy emphatically. We interfered with his purposed raid, for we captured his plan and letters of instruction, which we have now at headquarters, Second brigade, Third cavalry division. General Buford was to cross Beverly Ford and attack the enemy in front, while General Gregg's and Colonel Duffie's divisions crossed at Kelly's Ford, and passing around his rear attacked him there.

Your correspondent was with General Gregg's division. At sunrise we heard the cannonading. of Buford's command. At half-past 7 A. M., we commenced to cross; at ten, we nabbed the enemy's picket; at half-past 10, the Second brigade, Third division, commanded by Colonel Wyndham, struck his main body, and the play began. A section of artillery, supported by the First Maryland cavalry, was instantly thrown to the front and placed in position. As soon as his regiment was formed Major Russell, First Maryland cavalry, led his second squadron to the charge. He routed the enemy's advance, sent it flying over fields and roads, captured an ambulance — which was afterward found to contain a major and all General Stuart's plans and, letters of instruction from General Lee--drove the enemy before him down the Culpeper road, and, alas! charged too far. Before he could rally his men and bring them back, the enemy had brought up two regiments and cut him off, with fifteen of his command. The artillery now opened on both sides. Captain Buckley and Lieutenant Apple led the third squadron First Maryland cavalry into the charge to meet the advancing foe. The Captain was taken prisoner, then rescued by his boys. The Lieutenant was wounded; his men faltered and shivered before an overwhelming force. Lieutenant Erick rallied them and led them to the charge again. He, too, was wounded. Then brave, fearless Captain Creager led on his brave boys of company I. Three times they charged the foe. Twice they were driven back; but in the third charge Captain Creager fell from his horse, wounded in the left breast. Then Lieutenant Kinble took command of company I, rallied the men behind a hill and led them back to the charge. Eight times did that fearless officer and those brave boys charge with shrieks and yells against fearful odds. Lieutenant-Colonel Deems was conspicuous on the field, rallying and cheering on his men.

On our left stood a house around which a body of rebel cavalry had gathered. Lieutenant-Colonel Broderick led his brave New-Jersey boys in a charge by battalions against them. As they closed up, the rebels fell back, when the whole house full of infantry poured a murderous fire from the hundreds of loop holes which pierced the walls of the house. The Lieutenant-Colonel and the Major were wounded, and the boys fell back.

The scene now became terrific, grand, and ludicrous. The choking dust was so thick that we could not tell “t'other from which.” Horses, wild beyond the control of their riders, were charging away through the lines of the enemy and back again. Many of our men were captured, and escaped because their clothes were so covered with dust that they looked like graybacks. Captain Buckley was three times a prisoner, and finally escaped. Sergeant Embrey, of company I, was taken prisoner. He wore a brown blouse. He played secesh orderly to a secesh colonel for a while, and then escaped. Sergeant Hiteshem, same company, was captured, and escaped because he wore a gray pair of trowsers.

Our men fought well and lost heavily. But the enemy met every charge with overwhelming numbers. He had both wings supported by infantry; had three batteries against our three guns.

I was in the fight, and have only mentioned, therefore, what passed under my own eye, and in the dust one man could not see far.

I must not forget to mention that Major Russell, after he found that he was cut off, lost none of his usual coolness, courage, and sagacity. His wit sharpened with the emergency; he reached the rear of the enemy's army. He rallied his fifteen men, and set immediately to work. The enemy moved out of the woods and tried to turn our left flank. The Major had most of his men partly concealed, partly exposed. Every time the enemy moved out of the woods the Major would dash at them with three or four men, and when close upon them would turn upon his horse and call upon some imaginary officer to bring up those imaginary squadrons out of those woods. Then he would retire, always bringing some prisoners with him. When they (the enemy) moved out again he would repeat the joke. At one time he had between forty and fifty prisoners whom he had thus captured. He thus perplexed and checked them until our division had retired.

At length the rebels charged upon him and retook all the prisoners excepting fourteen. The Major turned, fired his pistol into their faces, and again called upon that imaginary officer to bring up those imaginary squadrons. The charging squadron of rebels halted to re-form for the charge, and while they were forming he slid his men and prisoners between two divisions of the rebel cavalry and rejoined his regiment.

Two things probably saved the Major. He lost his hat and took a secesh cap from a prisoner. He looked like a reb. When he returned through the two divisions of rebel cavalry he had so many prisoners and so few men that they doubtless mistook him and his party for their own men moving out to reconnoitre.

This may sound extravagant, but I have the word of the prisoners he brought in (fourteen) and of his own men for its fidelity, and the ambulance he captured, with General Stuart's trunk, papers, letters, and plans, are at headquarters.

The battle soon became a fight for Beverly Ford. We drove the enemy back, secured the ford, and recrossed about sundown.

We accomplished our great design, that is, found out that the enemy was there. [290]

Our regiment has suffered severely, but I cannot yet give you the particulars.

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J. E. B. Stuart (3)
William C. Russell (2)
J. J. Gregg (2)
Frank M. Creager (2)
Abraham Buford (2)
John K. Buckley (2)
Sir Percy Wyndham (1)
Robert Lee (1)
Kinble (1)
Hiteshem (1)
Erick (1)
Embrey (1)
A. N. Duffie (1)
Doc (1)
Devenport (1)
James Deems (1)
Broderick (1)
Apple (1)
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June 10th, 1863 AD (1)
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