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[312] while it lasted, was one of the sharpest that has occurred during the war, and, as a consequence, the loss of officers and men on both sides is very heavy.

The enemy's pickets were first encountered a little east of the village by companies H and M, of the Second New-York (Harris Light) cavalry, under the command of Lieutenant Dan Whitaker, and were by them driven through the town back to a ridge of hills half a mile to the west, extending across from the Middleburgh and Snicker's Gap road, where the rebel force was in position ready for action. The advance brigade under General Kilpatrick, immediately moved through to the westerly edge of the town. The First Maine, Colonel Douty, was sent off to a point half a mile to the left, and the Fourth New-York, Colonel Cesnola, to the right, to support a section of Andrews's battery placed on a rise of ground north of the Snicker's Gap road. The enemy at this time occupied the hill, as before stated, where they had four guns in position ; a line of their skirmishers occupied a fence on the eastern slope, and a long ditch, just in front of which were half a dozen stacks of hay, thus commanding both Middleburgh and Snicker's Gap roads. A stronger position could not well have been selected.

When the exact position of the enemy had been ascertained by drawing their fire, General Kilpatrick rode up to the Second New-York, (Harris Light,) and said then was the time for them to wipe out the reflection cast upon them for their alleged misconduct in the fight of last week, at Brandy Station. He ordered them to charge into the valley and secure the haystacks; the ditch or ravine at the rear of the position had not then been discovered. Companies H and M, accompanied by Lieutenants Whitaker, Raymond, Martinson, Homan, and Stuart, moved off down the Middleburgh road, the fence to the right was quickly thrown down, and, with a dash, this forlorn hope rushed up to the hay-stacks. For the first time their fire was opened from the ditch a little to the rear of the hay-stacks. This was filled with rebel cavalry — many of them armed with rifles. Captain Grintar, with Lieutenants Mattison and Shafer, and company K, dashed up immediately to the support of these companies, F, I, D, and G, went to the right up the Snicker's Gap road a piece, turned to the left, crossed the field, and reached the scene of conflict in time to take an active part.

The contest for twenty minutes at this point was about as spirited a scene as is often witnessed on a battle-field. The Sixth Ohio, Major Steadman, was sent up the road to the left to support the Harris Light, when the whole command, with the Major at its head, dashed into the fight just in time to decide the unequal contest. The rebels were forced to abandon their position, and all who were not killed or captured, fled precipitately up the hill. They made a short stand behind the fence, when a dash from a battalion of the Fourth New-York, called in from its position behind the battery, together with the other regiments already named, drove them pell mell over the hill. The First Maine, at about this time, was called in from the left, and, with the First Massachusetts, stationed on the Snicker's Gap road, to a position held by the second battalion of the Fourth New-York.

The rebels, at this time, charged down the same road, and drove before them a squadron, when General Kilpatrick ordered the First Maine, Colonel Douty, First Massachusetts, Lieutenant-Colonel Curtis, and a battalion of the Fourth New-York, under Colonel Cesnola, to charge up the road. There was a little hesitancy at first, when General Kilpatrick, accompanied by Colonel Douty, of the First Maine, and Captain Costar, of General Pleasanton's staff, went to the front, and called upon the troops to follow. There was no hesitancy then. The Maine boys gave three cheers for General Kilpatrick, and the whole column made a dash up the road in the face of a terrible fire from carbines, rifles, and cannon, sweeping every thing before them. This virtually ended the fight. The rebels, after a little more skirmishing, fell back, and our forces to-night occupy their position.

Colonel Cesnola was under arrest at the commencement of the action, but set such a gallant example to his men, by leading the first charge without his sword, that, upon returning to the road, General Kilpatrick released him from arrest, and placed upon him his own sword. He immediately after participated in the charge with the First Maine, First Massachusetts, and Fourth New-York, and has not been seen since. A sergeant of the regiment asserts that he saw the Colonel fall, and is sure that he was killed, and some of the rebel prisoners confirm this report. But the report of his death is not generally believed. In this charge General Kilpatrick had a horse shot under him, and Colonel Douty, of the First Maine, was killed. When returning from the charge, the body was found by Captain Vaughn, who had it properly cared for. Two shots struck him, probably at about the same time. The First Massachusetts captured the battle-flag of the Fourth Virginia cavalry.

More than one hundred prisoners were captured, members, principally, of the First, Third, Fourth, and Fifth Virginia cavalry. They say they were under the command of General Stuart. Among the prisoners is one colonel, three majors, and a lot of line officers. The major and sixty men, who were stationed behind the haystacks, were nearly all captured. The major considered his position impregnable, not believing that any cavalry would date make a charge upon the place, swept as the whole field was by three lines of guns.

The meeting of General Gregg's command was entirely unexpected by the rebels. Stuart had arrived thus far on a forced march into Maryland, having marched twenty-five miles this morning, and expecting to be on the road again in the evening. Two regiments had entered the town, and had pressed into their service all the blacksmith tools to be found; and when our advance-guard

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B. J. Kilpatrick (7)
C. S. Douty (4)
J. E. B. Stuart (3)
Cesnola (3)
Dan Whitaker (2)
P. R. Vaughn (1)
Steadman (1)
Shafer (1)
William Raymond (1)
A. Pleasanton (1)
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Grintar (1)
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H. Z. Curtis (1)
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