Doc. 83.-rebel attack near Rockville, Md.
Washington, D. C., June 29, 1863.Yesterday morning, at about half-past 9 o'clock, I started from Washington in company with three officers of the topographical engineers. It was our intention to ride through to Frederick, stopping at Rockville for the purpose of taking dinner, but we all knew the liability of well-laid schemes, whether bi or quadrupedal, to go wrong. By the time we reached our first post of cavalry pickets we came up with the rear of a long wagon train, comprising one hundred and fifty vehicles, each drawn by six mules, driven by a very black and picturesque negro. This train must have been at least two miles long, for by the time we had reached the other end, riding leisurely, we were within a mile or two of Rockville. Here, just as we had passed the. last wagon, an excited horseman, coming from the direction of Rockville, halted our party, and in a somewhat con. fused voice gave us the pleasing intelligence that about four hundred rebel cavalry were close at his heels. A short consultation of war resulted  in our making up our minds to retreat. This conclusion was scarcely arrived at when two more men came full tilt past us, shouting that the rebels had fired on them and were close behind. Then came a cavalry soldier, one of the six who formed our paltry guard, leading a riderless horse, whose master (another of our guard) had just been shot. Then came thundering along a second trooper, much excited, and evidently charged with some important mission. He immediately halted all the mule teams, ordering them to turn back. And now commenced a scene of excitement and confusion which none but a maniac could properly describe. Wagons upset by their drivers in abortive attempts to turn them round, others locked together, mule teams inextricably snarled up, and through this jam and mess some twenty or thirty horsemen (your correspondent among the number) galloping like mad. Had the devil been behind us, it would have been impossible to go faster; as fast as the frightened horses could lay their legs to the ground they went, kicking up stones and earth with their heels in the most exciting manner. Two scared farmers led the retreat on powerful horses, and so long as they galloped it was impossible to stop any of the other horses. At last we got sufficiently far from the train to deem ourselves safe, and as the farmers had got out of reach, we pulled up and reconnoitred. Away far back on the road we could distinguish smoke from the burning teams. They were doubtless all destroyed. All the mules were captured, and two ambulances containing officers were likewise gobbled up. At about four o'clock we, the fortunate ones, reached the city, after a six hours ride of nearly thirty miles, very sore and very tired. This bold dash of the enemy caused considerable excitement in the city directly we arrived. Colonel Wyndham was immediately put in command of all the cavalry in and around Washington, with authority to mount and organize all the horseless troopers he could lay his hands on, and to mount a Maine regiment whose time is just up, to act as mounted infantry, provided they would consent to serve in that capacity for a few weeks. The Scott's Nine Hundred (cavalry) marched through town at two o'clock this morning, and the Sixteenth New-York leave for Frederick at three P. M. It is Colonel Wyndham's intention to see if he cannot fall foul of these rebel gentlemen and recover our mules, and take a few hundred prisoners at the same time. The appointment of Colonel Wyndham gives great satisfaction. No officer in the army has a higher reputation for energy, activity, and soldierly knowledge.