Doc. 45.-skirmish at Patterson's Creek. Col. Wallace's official report.
Cumberland. Finding it next to impossible to get reliable information of the enemy yesterday, I united the thirteen, and directed them, if possible, to proceed to Frankfort, a town midway between this place and Romney, to see if there were rebel troops there. They went within a quarter of a mile of the place, and found it full of cavalry. Returning they overtook forty horsemen, and at once charged on them, routing and driving them back more than a mile, killing eight of them, and securing seventeen horses. Corporal Hayes, in command of my men, was desperately wounded with sabre cuts and bullets. Taking him back they halted about an hour, and were then attacked by the enemy, who were reinforced to about seventy-five men. The attack was so sudden that they abandoned the horses and crossed to a small island at the mouth of Patterson's Creek. The charge of the rebels was bold and confident, yet twenty-three fell under the fire of my pickets, close about and on the island. My fellows were finally driven off, and, scattering each man for himself, they are all in camp now. One, Corporal Hayes, of Company A, was wounded, but is recovering. One, John C. Holdingbrook, of Company B, is dead. The last was taken prisoner, and brutally murdered. Three companies went to the ground this morning, and recovered every thing belonging to my picket, except a few of the horses. The enemy were engaged all night long in boxing up their dead. Two of their officers were killed. They laid out twenty-three on the porch of a neighboring farm house. I will bury my poor fellow to-morrow. I have positive information gained to-day that there are four regiments of rebels in and about Romney, under Col. McDonald. What their particular object is I cannot learn. The two Pennsylvania regiments are in encampment at State Line, nine miles from here, awaiting further orders. They have not yet reported to me. They hesitate about invading Maryland. The report of the skirmish sounds like fiction, but it is not exaggerated. The fight was really one of the most desperate on record, and abounds with instances of wonderful daring and coolness.