our second line like an avalanche. They outnumbered us two to one, and came up in three lines in splendid style. When within two hundred yards they raised a cheer, and came on at the double-quick. We met them with seventeen pieces of artillery, loaded with grape and canister, the infantry pouring in a most destructive fire. Their first line was almost annihilated. We charged in turn, and drove them back. Our batteries had to cease firing when we charged. It was then that their numbers told on us. They drove us back in turn. Our guns were worked until the last moment, losing five, the horses having been killed or the wheels broken. Then commenced our retreat, which was conducted in good order. The lesson they learned in charging our second line, made them cautious as they again advanced. The artillery opened on them from our third line, formed in the vicinity of Mount Jackson, and composed of troops which had just arrived, and caused them to pause in front of the hill where our artillery (composed of 6 and 12-pounders), was planted and worked with marked effect on the rebel ranks. We retired a battery at a time, and finally brought all off. Our forces were then quietly withdrawn two miles across the Shenandoah, which was flood-height from the excessive rains. It fairly poured while the battle raged hottest. The bridge was burned after our army had all crossed over, and the day closed upon our men, jaded and worn out with excessive marching and hard fighting, but in the best of spirits, and eager to resume the contest. Colonel Starr, Provost-Marshal General of the department, had a narrow escape. A shell struck the ground under his horse's neck, but fortunately it did not explode. His horse at the same moment was shot from under him, and, in attempting to mount a riderless one, a squadron of our retreating men ran over him — without, however, doing him any serious injury. Among the killed is Captain Boniker, formerly Post Provost-Marshal at Cumberland, who fell at the head of his command. He was universally esteemed and respected by every one in this department. Lieutenant-Colonel Lincoln, Thirty-fourth Massachusetts, was wounded and left on the battle-field. Colonel Wells, of Massachusetts, had a narrow escape. His clothes were pierced with four bullets. Our engagement may be summed up as follows: We underrated the strength of the enemy at Newmarket, and sent out an insufficient force under Colonel Moore. At Rood's Hill he met Imboden, who, on the approach of our force, gradually fell back to Newmarket, skirmishing all the way with our advance, and drawing them after him. At Newmarket he was reinforced by Echols. They evidently intended to draw him into their lines sufficiently far removed from his supports, and then, with an overwhelming force attack and capture his command. In this they were defeated, for Colonel Moore succeeded in holding his ground until the main column under General Sigel arrived. After a severe fight of four hours duration, it was evident they outnumbered us two to one. So we fell back to our supply train, where a portion of our troops were stationed.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Doc . 16 . operations in Tennessee .
Doc . 19 . the siege of Suffolk, Virginia .
Doc . 36 . General Rousseau 's expedition.
Doc . 59 . battles of Spottsylvania , Va: battle of Sunday , May 8 , 1864 .
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.