Army of the Potomac.
[from our own correspondent.
the fight at Louisville
--in Vices of Washington
taken--the burning of Mary Hall's house
--facts and incident, &c.
Munson's Hill, Sept. 17.
In my last letter I gave an account of the fight at Lewinsville, and said that I hoped to get additional particular of the affair.
Since that time I have visited the out posts, and have been over the ground upon which the battle was fought, but find that the facts as previously stated were substantially correct.
As will be seen by the date of my letter, I am now very near the enemy a lines, and in full view of Washington
, Arlington Heights
, and the Potomac
As I sit here writing in the camp of they Washington Artillery, surrounded by the members of the corps, who are quietly smoking their cigarettes beneath the beautiful September moon, I cannot do better than recall some of the incidents of the battle in which they were so recently engaged.
The fight at Lewinsville, although seemingly small and hardly to be ranked in the same list with the great battles which have been fought heretofore, was one of the most brilliant and satisfactory engagements that has yet taken place.
During the fight, six prisoners were taken, four from the Indiana
and two from a most regiment.
From Lieut. Hancock
I that the force of the Federals
was from twenty-eight hundred to three thousand men, embraced in four regiments, accompanied by a company of cavalry and eight pieces of artillery.
This force crossed the Chain Bridge
early in the morning; and proceeded to Lewinsville, with the intention of erecting field fortifications on the hill near the cross roads. A. scouting party under Lieut. Hancock
led the advance, which was followed by a corps of engineers.
They were all well armed, and had every instrument, and appliance that heart could wish to make their mission successful.
Lewinsville, they took possession of all the roads and posted their forces to command every, approach to the place, the battery and a large body of infantry being upon the main road over which, they firmly believed, our forces would advance upon them.
Two or three companies of riflemen were deployed as skirmishers, scouts were sent out, sentinels posted, and thus, in positions of their own choosing, the Federals
began their work.
So much I learn from Lieut. Hancock
, of Indiana
, and what follows is a statement made by Capt. Rosser
, a very brave and talented young officer, who has been assigned to the command of the second company of the artillery, who acted under Col. Stuart
, of the Virginia
cavalry, of whom I have much to say hereafter.
Early in the day our pickets were driven in, and word having been brought to Col. Stuart
by the couriers, he at once sent Capt. Rosser
with his battery to the point.
At the same time a battalion of the 18th Virginia Regiment, consisting of three hundred and five men, with a promptitude, that did honor to their bravery and valor, sent forward to announce themselves ready to engage the enemy no matter what his force might be. All was ready in a few moments, and our little force marched through the fields by by-ways, carefully avoiding the main roads, by which it was expected, and which the enemy's pickets were so vigilantly guarding.
So-cautiously did they proceed that the artillery were within seven hundred yards of the Federals
before their presence was observed, and before the alarm was given our battery was wheeled into line, the guns unlimbered, and should sent whizzing into their ranks.
The infantry were deployed as skirmishes and took possession of the neighboring thickets and corn fields from which they kept up an incessant firing, and running here and there, dodging in and out the wood, constantly changing position, produced the desired effect of making the Federals
believe an immense force had been brought against them.
Meantime the battery was also changing position and firing with great rapidity in order to produce the same effect.
The rifle cannon were used in a splendid manner, and were invariably aimed with skill and precision, and the howitzers also were worked with celerity and did perhaps as good a price as they have ever done before.
Every shot fell close by the frightened Federals and made them scatter in every direction.
Finding the growing hotter every moment, and that a large force was about to be upon them, the enemy began a retreat, which came a rapid flight.--Their artillery, supposed to have been Griffin
's battery, has been used constantly through the engagement, but for some reason or other all their projectiles went far over the heads of our little band, or fell in the fields immediately in front of them, No injury was done, and when the retreat began, and the enemy was pursued beyond the positions that had been occupied by them, it was found that not a man had been injured nor had there been a single accident or casualty to mar the pleasure of the little victory.
with his field piece pursued the flying Yankees
as far as prudence would allow, and then returned to the very spot they had so confidently taken possession of early in the day. On passing over the field it was found thickly strewed with hats, knapsacks, canteens, haversacks and guns.
Two dead bodies by the wayside, portions of a skull and pools of blood were seen, showing that the loss was severe, and fragments of projectiles scattered plentifully around indicated the accuracy with which the Washington Artillery used their pieces.
Two men were found mortally wounded, who were carefully attended to by the surgeon of the Artillery.
During the engagement, Colonel Stuart
was everywhere riding along the advanced line, constantly under fire and in very exposed positions, cool, collected, displaying to the admiration of his men that daring bravery, which, more than anything else, encourages soldiers to deeds of heroic action.
Finding the work of the day ever he refried with his force to Munson's Hill, after posting a strong picket guard in the position wrested from the enemy.
Fortunately for the Yankees
they ran away from our daring little band.
Instead of pursuing them into the thickets where they would have found masked batteries enough to have frightened every man into a lunatic.
Two days after this, another, brush occurred near by Munson's Hill, the general results of which were similar to those of Lewinsville.
The tagts, learn them from a volunteer, are as follows:
The burning of Mary Hall's house.
While at dinner on Friday last, Captain Rosser
, of the Washington Artillery, second company, received orders from Colonel Stuart
to take a section of his battery, consisting of a howitzer and a rifle, and to hasten as soon as possible to report himself to Colonel Winder
, of the Sixth South Carolina, who was leading the advance at the time, and when had already led out a portion of his force.
The object of the expedition can be stated in a few words.
Upon a hill known as Hall
's Thrills is a large white house, which has been used for some time as a point of look, out, or observatory, for the Federal
officers and civilians, who with the aid of their powerful glasses, were accustomed spend a great portion of the time in endeavoring to get some knowledge of our strength and position.
It is an eminence commanding a view of Upton's Hill
; but Munson
's is entirely hidden by an intervening height, covered with heavy oak timber.
The house, which appears from our point of view to be a large and rather fine one, is said to belong to Mary Hall, a woman celebrated in Washington
as a dashing Lorette
, and who is reported to have the queenly qualities of a Semiramis united with the frailties of a Phryne.
This house had also been made a rendezvous for the relief pickets.
Parties were constantly ing from it to annoy our sentinels, and to force them back from the lines.
It was deemed necessary, therefore, to destroy the house and to drive away the Yankees
, who clustered around it as thickly as hornets by a disturbed next.
And have previously stated, the artillery, corps were at dinner when Colonel Stuart
's command was received.
Having the harness constantly in harness the battery was on the road in less than four minutes from the reception of the order.
immediately reported himself to Col. Winder
at his bivouac, and the two then made a reconnaissance of the field.
Seeing by careful examination there, would be no immediate opposition, and that a good position could be gained before discovery, the infantry and the battery were moved on together.
Upon approaching the pickets of the enemy the artillery opened fire, under cover of which the South Carolinian, under Col. Winder
, advanced and drove them from the woods, leaving us in possession of their outposts.
Our lines, were immediately straightened and skirmishers sent out to scout the forest.-- Col. Stuart
coming up at this time with a few of his cavalry, it state considered prudent to proceed up the hill and, if possible destroy the house, which was then about a mile away.
The column was ordered forward.
After going, a short distance, the Federals
were men at a distance of a thousand, yards close by the house of it man by the name of Miner
and scattered about in his fields.
Approaching this cautiously, concealed by the dense woods and a thick, undergrowth of butler as the howitzer was run out into the fore its presence; was known un shell thrown seemingly into their very midst — This caused some consternation and instantly the South Carolinas with portions of a Virginia and a Maryland regiment charged in upon them the Yankees
fled before them
About this time a force was seen hurrying towards the left of our line, evidently with the intention of flanking us, but a howitzer was sent to the relief of the left wing, and the Yankees
fell back there.
In Miner's house some prisoners were taken, and among them, found in the cellar, was a minister and four women.
The women were released, but the person was sent to our rear, evidently to the great distress of the weeping females.
Near this house Col. Adame
, an amateur fighter from Mississippi
, saw a Yankee, endeavoring to cut the trace of a harness, in order to get a horse from an ambulance to run away with Col. Adams
advanced upon him, and with his unloaded gun frightened away the Yankee
, and drove the ambulance hastily out of danger.
Two good horses were secured by this feat.
A short distance beyond Miner
's wash house owned by a free negro, in which it was rumored eight Federals were concealed in the cellar, Capt. Rosser
and a Mr. Sanders
, an independent scout, from Mississippi
, went forward to make a reconnoisance, and then returned for reinforcements, but before they could return the Federals
Hall's house, was some three hundred yards from here, and still occupied by the gallant soldiers or the Grand Army
The howitzer was again brought forward and a shell thrown upon the premises, which drove the enemy out after firing a few scattering shots.
The infantry then advanced, and by order of Col. Stuart
the house was fired.
In a few moments it was a mass of smouldering ruins.
Two dead bodies, and one man mortally wounded, were found on the field.
The next morning two more dead bodies were found in the wood — having been killed by the explosion of a shell.
On our side there was ‘"nobody hurt."’
During the skirmish the Federalists sent up their balloon to reconnoitre, where upon our force hastily ran into the thicket and neighboring coppices, to prevent the real force being seen, and afterwards most of the fighting was done from these coverts.
Thus ended this brilliant little skirmish, and having gained the object desired and having no intention of trying to hold the hill, Col. Stuart
withdrew his force.
By it we gained the following points: 1st.
were taught a lesson for their impudence in pressing upon our outposts.
Our line of pickets was straightened and better positions gained: 3d: Their observatory was burned.
To these may be added the fact that the house of a harlot — a den of infamy has been destroyed.
From the point from which I am writing the Potomac
is in full view and occasionally the white sails of ships or the smoke-stacks of a steamer can be seen upon it. Beyond a long and magnificent valley the cupola of the Capitol
is visible. G. M.