In a debate in the House of Representatives, at Washington
, in April, 1864, Mr. Voorhees
alluded to the affair at Vienna
, which took place in June, 1861, which called forth the following from General Schenck
The gentleman's allusion to the achievement at Vienna, he now refuses to explain with that
ingenious boldness with which he usually expresses himself upon all subjects.
It is all idle to pretend that it was not intended as a sneer and a slur.
The same attack on.me was ventured by one or two other members of this House, but not here; and this is the first time that anybody has ever done it in my presence, or where there was an opportunity to reply or correct.
I wish now, once for all, to speak of this matter myself; and the House will excuse the egotism which the circumstances force upon me.
Early in the war, in June, 1861, happening to be the first Brigadier-General of volunteers ordered across the Potomac, I proceeded with my brigade under these orders to a point where I established my camp on the Loudon and Hampshire Railroad, south of this city, and a few miles above Alexandria.
Brigadier-General Daniel Tyler, of Connecticut, soon afterwards arrived and encamped in the same neighborhood.
He was ordered a few days afterwards, by our commanding General, to proceed with a force of four hundred men up the railroad, in a train of cars, and did so, extending his reconnoissance not only to, but some distance beyond, Vienna.
The next day, or the second day after, I was directed to send, by similar conveyance, one of my regiments up the road to go as far as that point, picketing the line of road by leaving companies at intervals along it, and afterwards to establish the regiment at a crossing on the road to Fall's Church, some seven miles below Vienna.
A train was sent to me for that purpose from Alexandria.
When the cars arrived at my camp the colonel commanding the regiment (the First Ohio volunteer infantry) which I had detailed for that service not having returned from this city, where he was for the day on leave of absence, though he subsequently overtook us on the road, I took the command of the regiment and proceeded on the duty.
When we slowly approached Vienna, having then still three or perhaps four companies remaining, we found a largely superior force of rebels had taken position at a bend of the railroad, who delivered their fire on us with three pieces of artillery.
They were brought there probably from Centerville, in consequence of the alarm given by the expedition of the day before.
The enemy's force was subsequently ascertained to consist of two regiments of infantry, a body of cavalry, and three pieces of artillery.
At that time we had neither artillery nor cavalry attached to our Union brigades.
By the rebel fire, although at first it was believed and was reported that the loss was greater, the casualties proved to be eight killed and four wounded--two of them mortally.
None of us officers or men had ever been under fire before.
But I had no reason to complain of the conduct of any. Our troops were ordered from the cars, rallied, formed, and afterwards, the night then coming on, fell slowly back, marching along the railroad to the point or crossing six or seven miles below, which we afterwards continued to hold.
All the wounded but one were brought away.
So far as my conduct in that matter is concerned, it is not for me to comment upon it.