Army of the Potomac.
[our own correspondent.]
Probably more facts concerning the battle of Leesburg
are known in Richmond
A great many rumors are in circulation, but genuine facts, well authenticated, are hard to obtain.
Although I have nothing new to communicate, I cannot refrain from going over previous statements, cutting them down a little from the lofty dimensions they have obtained.
The first story was nearer correct than any other, as the latter relations are very much exaggerated and falsified.
I do not allude so much to the published account as I do to the rumors and reports current here and at Centreville
Although I was not allowed the privilege of conversing with the prisoners, their statement came to me through a gentleman who did. Col. Milton Cogswell
, the man from whom the most was expected, on account of his superior intelligence and education, proved the least friendly of all. He was an old army officer, and was at one time, if I am correctly informed, commandant at West Point
He was born in the State of Indiana
, was appointed a cadet from that State, and entered the United States army as brevet second Lieutenant
in the 4th infantry, July 1st 1849. On the 15th of August, 1855, he was made a first Lieutenant
in the eighth regiment of infantry.
During this fight he had no command, but was captured while on special duty, probably as an engineer.
It is reported here that Col. Cogswell
has expressed the wish that he be speedily exchanged, in order that he may again enter the war against us. Col. Lee
, of the 15th Massachusetts regiment, is very communicative, and gave a very fair account of the fight.
All the prisoners seem to tell different stories, and to endeavor to suppress the truth as much as possible.
One thing I notice in these prisoners that has not been seen in those previously captured, and that is an impertinent and self-assured air, as much as to say that their captivity will not be long after the "Grand Army" gets in motion.
They feel confident that we are to be conquered, and that the Southern States
will soon become subjugated provinces of the North
No former prisoners have been so confident or so hopeful even of success.
Judging from a comparison of the different stories, I should say the force of the enemy was considerably over-rated.
All the prisoners, some six hundred and fifty in number, are from four regiments, the 15th and 20th Massachusetts, the 42d New York.
,) and Baker
. Three men, two of whom were brought in this evening, were from Rhode Island
, and belonged to the 3d Rhode Island battery, company B.
It is very probable if many other regiments had been on the field some few would have been captured from them.
The prisoners state they did not have above four thousand men this side the river, but they acknowledge a large force ready to cross.
At the risk of carrying coals to Newcastle
, I will repeat what I have heard of the affair to- day, premising that I have no idea that it is correct in every particular.
It can be compared with other statements which the reader will probably find in this same paper, and then he can draw his own conclusions.
fell back to Goose Creek
on Saturday, and on Monday morning the Federals
commenced crossing in boats, and at once advanced towards, the town.
The distance from Leesburg
to the river, I am told, is about three miles, and before the enemy had reached the town the 8th Virginia was sent forward to meet them.
This regiment was partially relieved by the 18th Mississippi, which advanced to the front and bore the brunt of the fight during the day. To give a better view of it, I may say that the enemy landed in squads or companies from their boats and immediately marched into the interior.
The first squad was encountered by the 8th Virginia about a mile and a half from the river, and were driven back.
Another was met by the 17th Mississippi and also driven back.
The largest and principal portion of the fighting men was met by the 18th Mississippi, the members of which fought "more like devils" than human beings, driving everything before them, and inflicting severe loss upon such of the Federals
as stood their ground before them.
As fast as men could be landed from the boats they were marched up, but the fierce charges of the Virginians and the volleys from the deadly Mississippi
rifle made sad havoc among them.
The 8th was posted at the Northeastern
part of the town, and from here to the river fought their way, making many dangerous but successful charges with the bayonet and the bowie knife.
In one place a portion of the Massachusetts
men became entangled in a morass and were thrown into confusion.
They were fiercely attacked and at once laid down their arms.
also had many such hand-to-hand encounters during the day, and fought until night, and until the enemy was either killed, captured, drowned, or driven beyond the Potomac
The whole affair seems to have been a succession of skirmishes always resulting in the defeat of the Federals
, occurring as frequently as the men could be landed from the boats in sufficient force.
The general results of the battle, as they are given to-day, are as follows: The force of the enemy landed on this side was about four thousand, consisting of the 15th and 20th Massachusetts, the California
and the Tammany regiments, and three pieces of the Rhode Island battery.
Their loss in killed will reach one hundred, and their wounded three times as many.
These were immediately put upon a large scow, or flat, and sent across the river, but they were overturned, and by this means quite three hundred were drowned.
It is said that the river was black with floating bodies, and that the shrieks of the drowning was terrible.
When night came it was found that we had about six hundred prisoners, all, or nearly all, of whom are now in Richmond
Our force consisted of the 8th Virginia, the 17th and 18th Mississippi, and the 13th regiment from the same State.
This latter was held in reserve, and took no active part in the fight.
Our loss is estimated at one hundred, and eighty.
The highest number reported as killed is forty- five.
I may here add that the enemy had upwards of 12,000 men on the opposite side of the river, but was unable to set them across, in the face of the terrible fire that was opened upon every boat.
None of the prisoners seem to know the object of the expedition.
Some think that a general advance was contemplated, and such blame McDowell
for not supporting them.--My own opinion is, that the enemy supposed Gen. Evans
had withdrawn his forces, and that Leesburg
could be easily occupied and fortified.
By holding it they have the control of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad.
The statement that six pieces of artillery was captured was The prisoners in the that they had but three pieces along.
The from a courier who counted the pieces and the caissons together, as he saw them standing after the fight.
, probably the grandest rascal in the whole Northern army, was shot early in the day, and fell, with five bullets through his breast.
This information is given by Col. Cogswell
, who saw him fall.
There is nothing of unusual interest at this point.
Every person is very much interested in getting news of the fight, and no one can go into the streets without being cross questioned to the extent of his knowledge of the affair.
The presence of the prisoners was quite cheering, and as good a show for the boys as a circus, or a horse-race.
seemed to care little about being gazed at, and lounged around the grounds smiling and chatting with each other, or bartering their hats and fine overcoats to our men.--They were started off at half-past 9 last night for Richmond
It is reported this evening that our pickets have been driven in beyond Fairfax
, and that the Federal
scouts are advancing slowly.
I do not learn that they are coming in any force.
The general opinion here is that McClellan
will be forced to fight within a few days, unless, indeed, the mind of the people can be diverted by an attack elsewhere — at Newburn
, N. C., or some other similar point.