The battle of Kernstown and the Hampden Artillery.
A member of the Hampden Artillery, writing to a friend in this city, says, ‘"I see it stated in the Dispatch,
of the 3d, that our battery was in the reserve, together with the 18th Virginia.
This seems to imply that we were not in the fight at all, and as we have won but very little glory any way, (much to our misfortune and regret,) would seem to deprive us of even that little."’ As we never intentionally do injustice, either directly or by omission, we think it due to the gallant corps in question, to state the facts as they certainly occurred.
Battery, commanded, at the time, by 1st Lieut James Pleasants
, Captain Marye
being absent on recruiting service, was left with the 42d and 5th regiments, and Shumaker
's battery, on the right flank, which was threatened early in the day by a demonstration of the enemy.
It remained there during the whole of the ‘"artillery duel."’ which raged for many hours on the left flank, and in which, of course, it did not participate.
But, about 4 o'clock the 5th Virginia was ordered off to the left flank, and about half-past 5 the 42d and the Hampden
-Battery were ordered in the same direction.
They hurried off to the scene of conflict, and before they reached the spot, had to pass through an open field commanded by a battery of the enemy.
Their shells flew and bursted all around and about them, but most fortunately — we might almost say, most miraculously — not a man or horse was injured.
As soon as they reached the wooded knoll where the conflict was raging, our other battery was seen retiring down the hill, and at this time our forces were giving way to the enormously superior numbers of the enemy.
Battery was in imminent danger of being taken.
A few yards only separated it from the Yankees
, who were charging on our columns just over the knoll.--Night was coming on, and Gen. Jackson
ordered a retreat.
It was executed rapidly and in the most perfect order.
The 42d, in the meantime, had rushed to the brow of the hill and engaged the enemy's advancing lines.
As, the battery withdrew, the balls were flying around the men, and the whole air was resonant with the thunder of musketry poured in rapid and unceasing volleys.
The 42d (worthy to be ranked with the famous Scotch Highland regiment of the same designation, which lost all but ninety of its men out of nine hundred in the campaign of Waterloo
,) kept back the enemy with the most determined spirit.
In less, than twenty minutes this gallant regiment fired eight rounds to the man — lost, in killed and wounded, nearly one third of their number — again formed in the field below the woods — and by their undaunted courage saved the battery from capture.
It thus appears that the Hampden
battery was not altogether ‘"in the reserve.
"’ It did not, indeed, get into action — but it passed through a raking cross fire of the enemy's battery, to which it was exposed for twenty minutes in an open field, the range of which had been accurately ascertained in the early part of the day by their gunners, at a distance of only four or five hundred yards.--It was exposed also, for a brief space, to the enemy's musketry, and escaped capture by the gallantry of the 42d. Two days after the batteries, its Parrot gun — as fine a place as any in the service — was sent back to Col. Ashby
, under Lieut, Caskie
, and for nearly a week kept upon constant firing on the pursuing Yankees
, greatly to their annoyance and loss.
It was thus employed until it had expended all its shell, of which it had sixty rounds.
If then fell back to recruit its ammunition.
This statement may be relied on as accurate.
It is unnecessary to add, that both officers and men behaved with the gallantry throughout this trying occasion.
Without extraordinary and occasion on the past of the both.
It would have been impossible to extrissts the battery without the loss of a gun or a