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[376] opposite sides of the road, and protecting it by the post and rail fence. I stated to the men, if I was not much mistaken, the enemy would soon appear — that they would seem a dark moving mass, and when I gave the command “fire” they must all aim at the head of the column, my object being to crush it in, throw the command into confusion, win time, deliberately to reload, and to give them another plunging volley before they could recover from their confusion. And in that way I said, I counted on whipping the veteran enemy, although our superior in numbers. I had scarcely gotten through with this statement of my plans and purposes, when the enemy appeared. Near the Episcopal church, fifty steps, by subsequent measurement, west of the position we occupied, I first discovered him. He was leisurely advancing, and when within forty yards of us, I gave the command “fire.” It was admirably executed. Another fine volley followed, and a third partially, when the enemy fell back. During this time the enemy fired wildly and irregularly, not only without wounding or killing any of my men, but not even entertaining “The Rifles” with the whistle of a bullet. The result of this affair was the capture on our part of three prisoners, I think four horses, a number of horses killed and wounded, and, according to General McDonald's first official report, (which I have,) one man killed and six wounded, besides a number of arms and fancies, such as photographs of pretty women and the like, picked up after the fight. This whole affair occupied a very short time, during which Colonel Ewell was engaged in getting his courier, and preparing his dispatch to order up the troops from Fairfax Station--it could not have exceeded twenty-five minutes. I repeat that the enemy's passage through town resulted in the casualties as stated — the dispersion of the entire Confederate force, with the exception of some forty to forty-five of the Rifles — that our cavalry, for the reason stated by Colonel Ewell, I suppose, “took no part in the affair” --that in passing through town, as Colonel Ewell officially says, the enemy “did not stop, but passed through toward Germantown,” and was not fired upon, the cavalry, I repeat, taking no part in the affair, and the Rifles being, at the nearest point, two hundred and thirty steps off — that the first collision which took place, was between the enemy, on his return through town, and about forty of the Rifles, and occurred on the street, between the hotel and court-house inclosures, without damage to either, the enemy retreating, and that the final affair took place one hundred and ninety-five steps from the former, resulting in the inglorious retreat of Company B, Second United States Cavalry, before, certainly not more than forty-five young Virginians, but little more, if any, than half the number of their veteran

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R. S. Ewell (3)
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