Incidents of the fight with Mosby.
Fairfax Court-house, June 2, 1863.
the sun glistens on a twelve-pound brass howitzer, which, with its limber, occupies a position directly in front of General Stahel
The story of the gun is this: Made in the year 1859, it was used by the Union
troops at Ball's Bluff, where it fell into the hands of the rebels, and since that time has done service in the rebel army.
had been whipped several times by Stahel
's cavalry, this gun was furnished him to redeem his laurels.
On Friday night last, Mosby
, with about one hundred and seventy-five men and the howitzer, camped at Greenwich
Early Saturday morning they made a hurried march toward the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, which they struck about one and a half miles this side of Catlett's Station.
Here they concealed themselves in the woods, placed the howitzer in position, and awaited the arrival of the train from Alexandria
, carrying forage and stores to Bealton.
As the cars came opposite the ambuscade, a rail adroitly displaced caused the locomotive to run off the track.
At this moment a ball from the gun went through the boiler and another pierced the smoke-stack.
The guard upon the train were scared by hearing artillery, and beat a hasty retreat, leaving the train at the disposition of the rebels.
Had any resistance been offered, it is believed that the train could have been saved and all the rebels captured.
As it was, the guerrillas destroyed the cars, ten in number, and then, anticipating a visit from Stahel
's cavalry, made off in the direction of Auburn
Meanwhile, Colonel Mann
, of the Seventh Michigan cavalry, who was in command of the portion of Stahel
's cavalry at Bristow
, hearing the firing, started with portions of the Fifth New-York, First Vermont, and Seventh Michigan, to learn the cause.
Taking the precaution to send the Fifth New-York, Captain A. H. Hasbrouck
commanding, across the country to Auburn
to intercept the retreat, he followed up the railroad until the sight of the burning train told that portion of the story.
Leaving the burning train, Colonel Mann
followed the track of the retreating foe, and soon heard the sound of cannon toward Greenwich
, indicating that Captain Hasbrouck
, with the Fifth New-York, had either intercepted or come up with the enemy.
As it afterward proved, they had come upon their rear, and had been fired upon from the howitzer.
Owing to the nature of the ground, the Fifth New-York was unable to deploy, so as to operate effectively, and the enemy again started on the run, closely followed by Captain Hasbrouck
and his command.
pressed on to reach the scene of the firing.
Learning the particulars of their escape, he divided his force, sending Lieutenant-Colonel Preston
, with part of the First Vermont cavalry, to reenforce the Fifth New-York, and with the balance he struck across the country, again hoping to intercept them.
Finding themselves so hotly pressed, the enemy, when near Grapewood Farm, about two miles from Greenwich
, took position at the head of a short narrow lane, with high fences on either side, placing the howitzer so as to command the lane, strongly supported by his whole force.
The advance of the Fifth New-York, about twenty-five men, under Lieutenant Elmer Barker
, coming up, the Lieutenant
determined to charge the gun, fearing if he halted the rebels would again run away.
Gallantly riding up the narrow lane, with almost certain death before them, these brave men, bravely led by Lieutenant Barker
, dashed with a yell toward the gun. When within about fifty yards the rebels opened fire with grape upon them.
The result was three men were killed and seven wounded. The rebels immediately charged, led by Mosby
, twice wounded in the leg, continued with his handful of men to contest every inch of the ground, and himself crossed sabres with Mosby
But numbers told, and several of the Fifth New-York were made prisoners.
This gallant fight of Lieutenant Barker
afforded Colonel Preston
an opportunity to come up with the First Vermont. Lieutenant Hazleton
was in advance, with about seventy-five men, and charged bravely up the lane, the few boys of the Fifth New-York, who were left, joining the Vermonters.
Again and again the gun dealt destruction through the ranks, but nothing could check their impetuosity, and the brave fellows rode over the gun, sabring the gunners, and captured the piece.
, of the First Vermont, was shot dead by the side of the gun; his brother, a corporal in the same regiment, although his arm was shattered, struck down the gunner as he applied the match for the last time.
and his men fought desperately to recover the gun, but in vain.
Meanwhile Colonel Preston
had charged across the fields upon their flank, and the enemy fled in all directions, taking refuge in the thickets, with which they are so familiar.
One party attempted to take away
the limber, but it was speedily captured and brought in. The long chase in the hot sun, the desperate fight, and the jaded condition of the horses, prevented further pursuit, which, with the enemy so widely scattered, and with their knowledge of every by-path and thicket, would have been almost fruitless.
Captain B. S. Haskins
, an Englishman, and formerly a Captain in the Forty-fourth Royal Infantry, who was with Mosby
, was so badly wounded that he has since died.
, formerly of the regular army, who was in charge of the gun, was also dangerously wounded and paroled on the field, as he could not be removed.
Our loss was four killed and fifteen wounded. The rebels had six killed, twenty wounded, and lost ten prisoners. All the Fifth New-York who were taken by the rebels were re-captured.
The result of this fight is more disastrous to the rebels than the previous engagements.
The Southern Confederacy will not be apt to trust Mr. Mosby
with other guns if he cannot take better care of them than he has of this one.
The enemy was beaten by about the same force, in a position chosen by themselves, and defended by a howitzer.
Their killed and wounded outnumber ours, and the howitzer is ready to be turned against them at the earliest opportunity.
The conduct of officers and men is highly commended by Colonel Mann
in his official report to General Stahel
, and the gallantry of the charges of the Fifth New-York and the First Vermont is deserving mention.