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[422] force was very perceptibly much smaller than the enemy's, but by a bold front and determined attack, with a reliance on that Help which has never failed me, I hoped to raise the seige of Williamsport, if, as I believed, that was the real object of the enemy's designs. Hagerstown is six miles from Williamsport — the country between being almost entirely cleared, but intersected by innumerable fences and ditches. The two places are connected by a lane and perfectly straight “macadamized” road.

The enemy's dismounted skirmishers fought from street to street, and some time elapsed before the town was entirely clear — the enemy taking the road first towards Sharpsburg, but afterwards turned to the Williamsport road. Just as the town was cleared, I heard the sound of artillery at Williamsport.

The cavalry, except the two brigades with General Fitz. Lee, were now pretty well concentrated at Hagerstown, and one column, under Colonel Chambliss, was pushed directly down the road after the enemy, while Robertson's two regiments and Jenkins' brigade kept to the left of the road, moving in a parallel direction to Chambliss. A portion of the Stuart horse artillery also accompanied the movement.

The first charge was gallantly executed by the leading brigade (Chambliss'), now numbering only a few hundred men — the Ninth and Thirteenth Virginia cavalry participating with marked gallantry. The column on the flank was now hurried up to attack the enemy in flank; but the obstacles, such as post and rail fences, delayed its progress so long, that the enemy had time to rally along a crest of rocks and fences, from which he opened with artillery, raking the road. Jenkins' brigade was ordered to dismount and deploy over the difficult ground. This was done with marked effect and boldness--Lieutenant-Colonel Witcher, as usual, distinguishing himself by his courage and conduct. The enemy, thus dislodged, was closely pressed by the mounted cavalry, but made one effort at a counter charge, which was gallantly met and repulsed by Colonel James B. Gordon, commanding a fragment of the Fifth North Carolina cavalry--that officer exhibiting, under my eye, individual prowess deserving special commendation. The repulse was soon after converted into a rout by Colonel Lomax's regiment, Eleventh Virginia cavalry, Jones' brigade, which now took the road, and under the gallant leadership of its Colonel, with drawn sabres, charged down the turnpike under a fearful fire of artillery. Lieutenant-Colonel Funsten behaved with conspicuous gallantry

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Chambliss (3)
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Fitzhugh Lee (1)
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