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Report of General Edward Johnson of capture of Winchester.

headquarters Johnson's division, August 18th, 1863.
Major A. S. Pendleton, Assistant Adjutant-General:
Major — In obedience to orders, headquarters Second army corps, August 13, 1863, I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of my division “from the time of leaving Fredericksburg for Winchester until it crossed the Potomac.”

The division left camp near Hamilton's crossing June 5th, 1863, and moved in the direction of Winchester, crossing the Blue Ridge at Chester Gap. Nothing occurred worthy of particular note during the march, which was steady and regular, the command being in good condition and excellent spirits.

At daylight of the morning of the 13th ultimo, the division left its camp at Cedarville, moving on the Winchester and Front Royal turnpike. The enemy's pickets were discovered four miles from the town about 12 M. The Second Virginia regiment, Colonel Nadenbousch commanding, was detached from the “Stonewall” brigade and deployed as skirmishers on the left of the road. This regiment advanced handsomely, driving the enemy to a stone fence near the junction of the Millwood and Front Royal roads, behind which they made a stand. After a sharp skirmish they were driven from this position.

At this juncture they advanced a battery to an eminence on the right of the road, and opened fire upon our skirmishers and the woods in the vicinity. Carpenter's battery, Lieutenant Lambie commanding, under the direction of Lieutenant-Colonel Andrews, was put in position on the left of the road and behind a stone fence, from which it opened an accurate fire upon the enemy's battery and supporting infantry — the effect of which was to explode a limber, killing three men and a number of horses and put the enemy to precipitate flight upon the town.

The “Stonewall” and Steuart's brigades were formed in line of battle in a ravine to the right of the road, out of sight and range of the enemy's guns; J. M. Jones' and Nicholls' brigades to the left in a body of woods. Later in the day the brigades to the right of the road were advanced under cover of woods to a position nearer, the town, where they remained until the following morning.

When General Early advanced on the left, a body of the enemy's [201] infantry, retreating, became exposed to view, and were fired upon by two rifle guns of Carpenter's with good effect, greatly accellerating their speed. This attracted the fire from the fortifications north of the town upon the battery and such portions of the infantry as were necessarily exposed, which was maintained in a desultory manner until nightfall. The casualties in my command during the day's operations were, happily, few; two men killed and three horses disabled.

The following day--14th--was occupied in engaging the enemy's attention upon the right, while Early was putting his command in position on the left for the main attack upon the fortifications. For this purpose, the “Stonewall” brigade, Brigadier-General J. A. Walker commanding, was moved across the Millwood pike to a range of hills east of and fronting the town, and between the Millwood and Berryville pikes. Steuart's brigade was posted in the rear and within supporting distance of Walker. The Fifth Virginia regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel H. J. Williams commanding, was thrown forward as skirmishers, encountering the enemy on the crest of the hills above mentioned, and driving them to the edge of the town, from which position, sheltered by houses and fences, they kept up a brisk and continual fire upon our line, which occupied the stone fence at the western base of the hills and within easy musket range.

About 4 P. M. the enemy advanced a considerable force against the right of our line of skirmishers, compelling it to fall back and capturing ten men. Lieutenant-Colonel Williams, Fifth Virginia, who had commanded the skirmish line during the day with conspicuous gallantry, was severely wounded in this engagement. The reserve of the skirmishers was immediately ordered forward, and succeeded in driving the enemy back and recovering their former line. The only casualties during the day occurred in the Fifth Virginia, the only regiment engaged--three killed, sixteen wounded and ten missing.

About nightfall I received an order from the Lieutenant-General Commanding to move by the right flank with three of my brigades and a portion of my artillery, to a point on the Martinsburg turnpike, two and a half miles north of Winchester, with the double purpose, I suppose, of intercepting the enemy's retreat and attacking him in his fortifications from that direction. Steuart's and Nicholls' brigades, with Dement's and portions of Raines' and Carpenter's batteries, under Lieutenant-Colonel Andrews, were immediately [202] put in motion, and Brigadier-General Walker, whose line was nearest the enemy, was ordered to follow, after having advanced his skirmishers to the town to conceal his movement and ascertain the position of the enemy. J. M. Jones' brigade and the remainder of Andrews' battalion, under Major Latimer, were left in reserve and for the purpose of preventing the enemy's escape by the road on which we had advanced.

After moving some distance on the Berryville road, I was informed by my guide that I would be obliged to cross fields, over a rough country, in order to carry out literally the directions of the Lieutenant-General; and, moreover, that near Stephenson's, five miles north of Winchester, there was a railroad cut, masked by a body of woods and not more than two hundred yards from the turnpike (along which the enemy would certainly retreat), which would afford excellent shelter for troops in case of an engagement. The night was very dark, and being satisfied that the enemy would discover the movement and probably escape if I moved to the point indicated by the Lieutenant-General, I determined to march to Stephenson's by the road which led by Jordan's Springs. Halting the head of the column at a small bridge which crosses the Winchester and Potomac railway a few hundred yards from the Martinsburg pike, I rode forward with my staff and sharpshooters to reconnoitre the position and assure myself of the whereabouts of the enemy. I had gone but a short distance when I distinctly heard the neighing of horses and sound of men moving, and in a few moments ascertained that I had opportunely struck the head of the enemy's retreating column.

Their videttes fired upon us, and I returned to my command to make the necessary dispositions for an instant attack. Along the edge of the railway cut, next to the pike, ran a stone fence, behind which I deployed the three regiments of Steuart's brigade--Tenth Virginia, First and Third North Carolina regiments--on the right, and three regiments of Nicholls' brigade, under Colonel J. M. Williams, on the left.

One piece of Dement's battery was placed upon the bridge, one piece a little to the left and rear; the remaining pieces, with sections of Raines' and Carpenter's betteries (the whole under the direction of Lieutenant-Colonel Andrews) on the rising ground in rear of the position occupied by infantry. Two regiments of Nicholls' brigade were held in reserve as support to the artillery.

My dispositions were scarcely completed when the enemy, cheering, [203] charged with his whole force — the front of my position driving in the skirmishers and delivering heavy volleys. My infantry and artillery fired with such rapidity and effect as to repulse them with considerable loss. At longer range the enemy maintained a heavy fire upon us, until convinced that nothing could be accomplished by a front attack. He detached heavy flanking parties of cavalry and infantry to the right and left, whether for the purpose of breaking our lines and effecting his escape, or driving us out of the railroad cut, is not known; still, however, keeping a vigorous attack in front. My infantry had expended all but one round of ammunition; the ordnance wagons were seven miles in rear. The situation was extremely critical, and nothing could have been more timely than the arrival of the “Stonewall” brigade. Owing to a misconception of orders, for which Brigadier-General Walker was not in the slightest degree responsible, his brigade did not leave its former position until twelve o'clock of the previous night. He was a mile from Stephenson's when the engagement began. Hurrying up his brigade, just in time to meet the flanking party to the right, he pursued them hotly through the woods, beyond the turnpike and into the woods a half mile to the right of the Carter house, where they surrendered as prisoners of war, the cavalry alone escaping. The flanking party (about 300 cavalry and 600 infantry), which moved to the left, under the immediate command of Major-General Milroy (as was ascertained afterwards from prisoners and citizens on the route of his escape), was met by two regiments of Nicholls' brigade — the Second and Tenth Louisiana. Raines' battery was faced to the left and played upon them with fine effect, whilst sections from Dement's and Carpenter's batteries were hurried down the road to intercept their retreat.

The two Louisiana regiments, above named, moved parallel with the enemy's line, a ridge intervening, until they reached a level space, when they opened a destructive fire upon them, killing a considerable number, and with the aid of the artillery scattering them in every direction. Most of them were captured by these two regiments. The person supposed to be Millroy (riding a fine white horse), with most of his cavalry, after a vigorous pursuit, unfortunately escaped. The substantial results of the engagement were from twenty-three to twenty-five hundred prisoners and about one hundred and seventy-five horses, with arms and equipment in. proportion.

Steuart's brigade captured about 900 and Nicholls' brigade the [204] remainder, except 900 captured by the “Stonewall” brigade. Eleven stands of colors were captured, of which the “Stonewall” brigade captured six, Steuart's brigade four and the Louisiana brigade one.

For particulars as to the numbers captured, and the individual instances of gallantry, I have the honor to refer you to the accompanying reports of the brigade and regimental commanders. It will be observed that my force, until the timely arrival of the “Stonewall” brigade, did not amount to over 1,200 muskets, with a portion of Andrews' battalion, J. M. Jones' brigade, and two regiments (Twenty-third and Thirty-seventh Virginia) of Steuart's brigade and a portion of the artillery having been left in the rear on the Front Royal road. The number of prisoners considerably exceeded the whole number engaged on our side, including the “Stonewall” brigade.

Before the closing of this report, I beg leave to state that I have never seen superior artillery practice to that of Andrews' battalion, in this engagement, and especially the section under Lieutenant Contee, Dement's battery--one gun of which was placed on the bridge, above referred to, and the other a little to the left and rear. Both pieces were very much exposed during the whole action. Four successive attempts were made to carry the bridge. Two sets of cannoneers (13 of 16) were killed and disabled. Lieutenant-Colonel Andrews and Lieutenant Contee, whose gallantry calls for special mention at this point, fell wounded here. Lieutenant John A. Morgan, First North Carolina regiment, and Lieutenant Randolph H. McKim, took the place of the disabled cannoneers, rendering valuable assistance and deserving special mention

I feel much indebted to Majors B. W. Leigh, H. K. Douglas and E. L. Moore, of my staff, for their gallantry and efficiency on the field and in pursuit of the enemy; to Surgeon R. T. Coleman, for correcting a misapprehension of orders on the part of my engineer officers, thereby expediting the march of General Walker, who found me most opportunely.

The total list of casualties in the engaged division during the operations embraced in this report, amounted to fourten killed and seventy-four wounded.

I am, sir, very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

Edward Johnson, Major-General.

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