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On October 3d, 300 infantry, of the Twenty-sixth New York, were ordered to fall upon a body of Confederate cavalry at Pohick church, 12 miles from Alexandria, and capture them. Instead of obeying orders, this force, as soon as it got beyond the Federal pickets, as General Slocum reported, ‘was converted into a band of marauders, who plundered alike friend and foe.’ The same day an expedition to Springfield Station drove away the Confederate pickets and brought away 32 carloads of wood and ties. On the 4th Gen. N. G. Evans tried his artillery on the Federal battery on the Maryland shore near Edwards' ferry, to which reply was made. On the 15th a small body of Confederate cavalry attacked and routed the Federal picket near Padgett's tavern, on the Little river turnpike.

On October 16th, Col. Turner Ashby, who held the front of Harper's Ferry, determined to punish the Federal forces that had for several days been making incursions into Virginia, seizing wheat and committing other depredations, their larger force enabling them to push back his smaller one as they advanced. Ashby had in his command some 300 militia, armed with flint-lock muskets, and two companies of cavalry. He asked General Evans to co-operate with him from Leesburg by sending a force to Loudoun heights, which could prevent the sending of Federal reinforcements across the Potomac, and could drive the enemy from the shelter of the houses at Harper's Ferry. Ashby was reinforced, on the 15th, by two more companies of McDonald's Virginia cavalry, Captain Wingfield's, mounted and armed with minie rifles, and Captain Miller's company, about 30 mounted and the rest on foot, armed with flint-lock guns. He also had a rifled 4-pounder, and a badly mounted 24-pounder, which broke down during the engagement and which he had to spike and abandon. His force, on the morning of the 16th, was 300 militia, parts of two regiments commanded by Colonel Albert of Shenandoah and Major Finter of Page; 180 of McDonald's cavalry, Captain Henderson's men, under command of Lieutenant Glynn; Captain Baylor's mounted militia, about 25 men, and Captain Hess', also about 25 men. Captain Avirett had charge of the rifle gun and Captain Cornfield of the 24-pounder.

Ashby attacked in three divisions, drove the enemy

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Turner Ashby (4)
Angus W. McDonald (2)
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