approached they were busily engaged shoeing horses. To-day the command of Colonel Duffle passed through Thoroughfare Gap, after a brief fight, and to-night occupies Middleburgh, five miles from Aldie, and in the rear of Stuart's army. Stuart will have to fight to-morrow at a disadvantage, or, what is more probable, sneak off to-night. Captain Allen, of the Fourth New-York cavalry, came through the rebel lines with this news. During the engagement to-day General Gregg managed affairs in a manner reflecting the highest credit upon his profession. He was fortunate not only in having an efficient staff, but able commanders under him to execute all orders received.
Colonel Duffie's report.
headquarters First Rhode Island cavalry, near Centreville, June 18, 1883.sir: I have the honor to report that on the morning of the seventeenth instant I received from the headquarters of the Second brigade, Second cavalry division the following order. Colonel A. N. Duffie, First Rhode Island Cavalry: You will proceed with your regiment from Manassas Junction, by way of Thoroughfare Gap, to Middleburgh, there you will camp for the night and communicate with the headquarters of the Second cavalry brigade. From Middleburgh you will proceed to Union, thence to Snickersville; from Snickersville to Percyville, thence to Wheatland, and passing through Waterford to Nolan's Ferry, where you will join your brigade. In accordance with this order I left camp on the morning of the seventeenth instant with my regiment, two hundred and eighty strong, and proceeded to Thoroughfare Gap. At this place the enemy was met in force, and being much stronger than my command, I was obliged, in order to pass my regiment on to the Middleburgh road unseen, to make a demonstration on my left flank. This manoeuvre was successful; the enemy retired and I was enabled to gain the Middleburgh road. Nevertheless, they followed in my rear, but at a considerable distance, causing me no uneasiness. It was then half-past 9 o'clock A. M. At eleven o'clock, their skirmishers disappeared, and I proceeded unmolested until four o'clock P. M., when, approaching Middleburgh, my skirmishers again met and engaged the enemy, capturing his first picket in the road. I ordered Captain Allen, commanding the advanced squadron, to charge through the town. By this movement the rear-guard of General Stuart was cut off, and then a brisk cavalry fight ensued between his rear and my advance-guard. This engagement lasted half an hour, when the enemy was completely routed, and forced to retreat in the greatest disorder and confusion, scattering in every direction. Learning that Stuart with two thousand cavalry and four pieces of artillery had left town but half an hour before my arrival, and proceeded toward Aldie, I ordered that the different roads leading into the town be barricaded and strongly picketed, and instructed the officer commanding the outposts to hold the place at all hazards, hoping that after effecting communication with the brigade, which I supposed to be at Aldie, I should receive reinforcements. Captain Allen was selected to carry a despatch to General Kilpatrick, and directed to avoid as much as possible all main roads. The town was held by my command from half-past 4 to seven o'clock P. M., during which time the skirmishers had been constantly engaged. At seven, I learned that the enemy was approaching in force from Union, Aldie, and Upperville. Determined to hold the place, if possible, I dismounted one half of the regiment, placing them behind stone walls and the barricades. The enemy surrounded the town and stormed the barricades, but were gallantly repulsed by my men with great slaughter. They did not desist, but, confident of success, again advanced to the attack, and made three successive charges. I was compelled to retire on the road by which I came, that being the only one open to retreat, and with all that was left of my command I crossed Little River, north-east of Middleburgh, and bivouacked for the night, establishing strong pickets on the river. At ten P. M., having heard nothing from the despatch sent to General Kilpatrick at Aldie, I sent twenty men under an officer to carry a second despatch. I have since learned that Captain Allen succeeded in making his way through the enemy's lines to Aldie. The party bearing the second despatch was probably captured. At half-past 3 o'clock the next morning, eighteenth instant, I was informed by scouts, whom I had previously sent out, that the roads in every direction were full of the enemy's cavalry, and that the road to Aldie was held by a brigade with four pieces of artillery. Under these circumstances I abandoned the project of going to Union, but made up my mind not to surrender in any event. I directed the head of my column on the road to Aldie, when an engagement commenced at once, the enemy opening on both flanks with heavy volleys, yelling to us to surrender. I at once directed Captain Bixby, the officer commanding the advance-guard, to charge any force in his front, and follow the Aldie road to that point where it connects with the road to White Plains. This order was executed most admirably. Captain Bixby's horse was shot and.he himself wounded. We were then in an extremely hazardous position, the enemy being in front, rear and on both flanks, and were intermixed with us for more than an hour, till we reached the road leading to Hopeville Gap. I must freely praise the gallant conduct of the brave officers and men who were fighting side by side with overwhelming numbers of the enemy with the most determined valor, preferring rather to die than to surrender. I returned here exhausted at half-past 1 P. M.