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Doc. 188.-raid on Catlett's station, Va.


Philadelphia Inquirer account.

Manassas, August 24, 1862.
Friday evening, about eight o'clock, as your correspondent was in camp with the baggage and supply trains of Sigel's First army corps, south of Catlett's Station, an alarm was given that the rebel cavalry had attacked and taken the station, and were advancing upon us. For a time the consternation occasioned by so sudden and unexpected an attack was great, but by the cool and determined behavior of some of the officers and men order was soon restored. The Purnell Legion formed quickly and fought bravely, and, although crushed back by overwhelming numbers, stood their ground until resistance was destruction. The “Bucktails,” under Col. Kane, of your city, covered themselves with glory.

Upon repairing to the station at daylight, we found that last night the railroad train from Rappahannock reached there about eight P. M., and was waiting for a train to come up from Alexandria. In about an hour a cry was heard from the camp, ahead of the train, to “fall in men, we are attacked.” So it was. The rebel cavalry rode up to the engine and ordered the engineer [589] to surrender. He refused, ar d the “chivalry” fired several volleys at him, and at the same time fired into the rear of the train, which had attached two passenger-cars and about fifty passengers in it. The whole train was in an instant surrounded, and all who dared to come out were surrounded and taken prisoners. As the rebels dismounted, the engineer drew the valve and some one separated the train, leaving two car-loads of sick from Warrenton. Just as the train started about thirty men of company B, Purnell Legion, of Baltimore, advanced to the rear of the train and poured a volley into the rebel cavalry who had it surrounded. The rebels fell back, but in a few minutes rallied, and charged most vigorously and took all the men prisoners.

The hospital at Catlett's Station was “sacked,” and all the sick taken out South. The rebels then had their own way, and pillaged and plundered to their hearts' content. Two sutler wagons were plundered of such articles as the scamps wanted, and then burnt. The rebels remained near the station nearly five hours, doing as they pleased. A fearful thunder-storm raged during the whole time of the attack. The lightning was almost blinding, and the thunder was most appallingly fearful. The rain fell in drenching torrents.

While one of the rebel regiments was at work immediately at the station, another dashed upon Gen. Pope's wagon-train, half a mile further up the road. The train was guarded by about two hundred of the Pennsylvania Bucktails, under Colonel Kane, who had reached here the previous day, since being wounded at Cross Keys. The men rushed out and fired a volley in the darkness, the rebels fell back, but advanced again, and, surrounding the whole party, had Col. Kane and some one hundred and forty-nine of his men prisoners. But, Providence favoring, Col. Kane, encouraging his men, sent them out one by one to the rear in the storm, and when all were out followed himself; and, while the rebels were absorbed by the storm, escaped.

The rebels then popped over to Pope's wagons, took all his fancy horses, papers, etc., and burned his two wagons. They also robbed and burned two sutlers' wagons, and three of the supplywagons, with all the equipage of Gen. Pope and others which they did not want. Gen. McDowell's guard lay but a short distance off, and kept up a continuous fire, aided by a few “Bucktails” who had escaped previous to the surrounding. But the rebel fire and charge was too severe, and the men fell back. The rebels took some half-dozen horses from McDowell's train and all his private stores, completely rumaging his mess-chests and wagon.

Another party had crossed the railroad and gone down to Generals Ricketts's and King's supply trains and headquarter wagons. They gave a tremendous shout and charged down into the ravine, where King's wagoners were, upon the outside guarded by some Wisconsin troops, who drew up and fired into the rebel cavalry, killing two and taking two prisoners during a skirmish of nearly an hour. When the fire opened Major William Painter, division quartermaster, Capt. Frederick Gerker, brigade quartermaster, and Capt. D. B. Jones, commissary, ran out, mounted their horses, cheered the men, urging them to stand firm, and were taken prisoners. An hour before daylight a squadron of the brave Col. Allen's First Maine cavalry charged up the railroad, and the rebels at once departed thence for Warrenton. In the commencement of this “break” one of the correspondents of the Inquirer was taken prisoner, but subsequently escaped.

All Saturday morning we heard one incessant roar of artillery down on the Rappahannock. We can learn no particulars. Up to last night there had been no fight, though it is believed the rebels were trying to throw a column of eighty thousand across the Rappahannock, above the railroad, to get in our rear.

Our whole loss is about three hundred prisoners, seven wagons, and a hundred horses, a few killed and wounded. All our wounded and their own were taken off with them.


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John Kane (4)
John Pope (3)
Irwin McDowell (2)
Edward A. King (2)
F. Sigel (1)
Ricketts (1)
William Painter (1)
D. B. Jones (1)
Frederick Gerker (1)
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Catlett (1)
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August 24th, 1862 AD (1)
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