of cattle, and as many horses, (beside those impressed by the soldiers,) one ambulance filled with chickens, and a four-horse wagon, loaded with tents and camp equipage, were captured by Col. Wyndham and sent to the rear. The standing tents and all other property not carried away were destroyed. While Col. Wyndham was engaged at White's camp, Col. Cesnola, of the Fourth New-York cavalry, advanced with his command, consisting mainly of the Ninth New-York cavalry, under the immediate command of Major Knox, to Berryville, accompanied, as the previous advance had been, by Gen. Stahel, and followed closely by Col. Wyndham, with a small portion of his command not otherwise engaged, as a reserve force. The town was found to be occupied by a part of White's command, the Fourth, Seventh, Twelfth, and part of the Seventeenth Virginia cavalry. By direction of Gen. Stahel, Major Knox, at the head of two hundred men, charged through the principal street of the town, driving a superior force before him. In this affair, Gen. Stahel and Col. Cesnola participated, and were in the advance with Major Knox. Arriving at the westerly outskirt of the town, Col. Cesnola, with a portion of the Ninth New-York, pushed forward in pursuit of the Seventh Virginia cavalry, which had opposed his entrance into town, and drove them, pell-mell, to a point within four and a half miles of Winchester. As there was a respectable force, including infantry, artillery, and cavalry — at Winchester, Col. Cesnola concluded that the country beyond might be unhealthy for his men, and, with several prisoners captured, fell back to the main body. While this movement was being executed, another portion of our men were briskly engaged in Berryville. Soon after Col. Cesnola advanced, the rear of Major Knox's command was attacked by the Thirteenth Virginia cavalry, coming down a road leading into the village from a northerly direction. Gen. Stahel directed Major Knox to wheel to the right and charge upon the rear of the Thirteenth, which movement was executed promptly and successfully. At the same time, the rear company faced about and resisted the attack in that direction with their sabres, carbines, and pistols. Just at the opportune moment, Capt. Heintz, of Gen. Stahel's staff, appears upon the scene of action again. He saw the hazardous position in which the detachments in the village were placed, and with twenty-five or thirty scattered men he had collected, charged upon the Thirteenth regiment at about the same time Major Knox executed his second movement upon its rear. The men under Captain Heintz put their horses upon the full gallop, and went into the fight with a yell. The rebels were so situated as not to be able to see the exact force coming upon them — a panic seized them, and they fled out of town and scattered in every direction. While this was transpiring in town, squads of rebel cavalry made their appearance in the rear and on the northerly side of the road leading to Snicker's Ferry. Most of them wore blue overcoats, and for nearly an hour one squad was within long rifle-range of a squad of Union troops, and each supposed that the other belonged to the same army, until a member of the first Virginia cavalry, (Union,) named Reid, rode up to the other squad, when, after a few words, they ordered him to surrender. This he refused to do, and wheeled his horse to escape. A volley was fired at him, but he escaped uninjured. As soon as the volley had been fired, he raised himself from the leaning posture he had assumed alongside of the horse to avoid the shots, made several gestures of contempt toward the rebels, and joined his comrades. The horse was badly wounded, but was brought back. A sergeant of company F, Ninth New-York cavalry, at about this time, through the agency of an intelligent negro, discovered where Major White, of the rebel battalion, had been an hour before. He got together half a dozen men and proceeded to the place indicated — the house of a Mr. shepherd. he was about thirty minutes too late — the bird had flown. The house and premises were thoroughly searched, and nearly an hour's time was consumed in the performance of this task. All this time a rebel squad of twenty-five men was within two hundred rods of the house, but for some reason, best known to themselves, they did not attempt to cross three stone walls and a ditch that intervened. Toward night Gen. stahel, having accomplished the special object of the reconnoissance, ordered his command to fall back, which was done in good order — the rebel scouts following closely the rear-guard. As the expediency of returning to Chantilly by the way of Aldie — the infantry, under Col. Von Gilsa, left at that point, having gone back to Chantilly, and the place being convenient for a rebel force from the Valley to concentrate--Gen. Stahel decided to move in a north-easterly direction as far as Leesburgh. Encamping at Mount Gilead Saturday night, on Sunday morning early he moved on to Leesburgh, and crossing Goose Creek, after a long and fatiguing march, arrived in chantilly the same night. Just before Gen. Stahel crossed the shenandoah, Captain Dahlgren, of Gen. Sigel's staff, with twenty-five men, was sent off to the right from Middleburgh. He went to Mount Gilead, Circleville, Goose Creek Church, and the Leesburgh pike, and arrived at Snicker's Ford at about three of clock P. M., bringing three of White's scouts and two other men. Hearing that there were scattered squads of rebels hanging upon the flanks and rear of the force in front, he got together all the men who could be spared from the command, guarding the river at the ford, and crossed over in pursuit. While thus engaged he met the returning column and fell back with it. As compared with the number of shots fired, and the important results attained, the losses of the day were trifling. Only one Union soldier was killed, and, so far as is known, fifteen were wounded. A number of men are missing, but it is supposed they were taken prisoners. Four of the enemy--one an officer — are known to have been killed, and not less than thirty were wounded
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Rebel reports and Narratives.
Doc . 91 .- General Sherman 's expedition.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.