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Summer campaign of 1863-report of General W. E. Jones.

Headquarters Jones's brigade, Rixeyville, Va., July 30, 1863.
Major H. B. McClellan, A. A. G., Cavalry Divisions:
Major,--I respectfully report the operations of my command from the 29th of June to the 14th of July. At the date first mentioned the Sixth, [116] Seventh and Eleventh regiments of Virginia cavalry left Snickersville and joined Brigadier General Robertson at Berryville. The Twelfth Virginia cavalry having been sent to picket towards Harper's Ferry, was left on that duty. The 30th of June a part of this regiment under Lieutenants Harmon and Baylor surprised and captured a cavalry picket of the enemy on Bolivar Heights. They killed one and captured twenty-one, including two officers, with all their arms, horses, and equipments.

White's battalion, which was detached at Brandy Station, has not been reporting its operations.

The three remaining regiments of the brigade accompanied General Robertson by way of Williamsport and Chambersburg, arriving at Cashtown the 3rd of July. Near this point an order from General Lee required a force of cavalry to be sent at once to the vicinity of Fairfield to form a line to the right and rear of our line of battle. In the absence of General Robertson I determined to move my command at once into position, which met with the approbation of the General who returned to camp before I was in motion. About two miles from Fairfield we encountered the Sixth United States regular cavalry en route to capture our cavalry division train, which must have fallen an easy prey but for our timely arrival. Many wagons in quest of forage were already in a few hundred yards of the enemy. We met in a lane, both sides of which were of post and rail fences too strong to be broken without the axe. The country is open, the fields small and all the fences of the same character as along the lane. No estimate could be made of the opposing force, but knowing a vigorous assault must put even a small force on a perfect equality with a large one until a wider field could be prepared, I at once ordered the Seventh regiment, which was in front, to charge. Before the enemy could be reached he succeeded in throwing through gates, right and left, carbineers, who poured into our flanks a galling fire. The leading men hesitated, the Seventh regiment halted and retreated, losing more men than a glorious victory would have cost, had the onset been made with vigor and boldness. A failure to rally promptly and renew the fight is a blemish in the bright history of this regiment. Many officers and men formed noble exceptions. In their efforts to renew the fight fell the noble brothers Captain and Lieutenant Shoup, the former desperately wounded, and the latter instantly killed. Lieutenant Simpson, of this regiment, on provost guard duty, was in the thickest of the fight from first to last, capturing many more prisoners than he had men. Captains Kuykendall and Magruder also added to their brilliant and well earned reputations. Fortunately the Seventh had a chance in a day or [117] so and cleared its reputation. The Sixth Virginia cavalry (Major C. E. Flournoy, commanding), was next ordered to charge, and did its work nobly. Adjutant Allan and others fell at its head, but nothing daunted it passed the skirmishers, assailing and completely routing one of the best United States regiments, just flushed with victory. The fruits were many killed and wounded, among the latter Major Starr, commanding, and one hundred and eighty-four (184) prisoners taken. It is believed in open country a bold charge of cavalry will in all cases whip a line of skirmishers, and such attacks would soon reduce the Federal cavalry to its former relative standing.

The evening of the 4th of July, when it was reported the enemy were advancing in force on the Emmettsburg and Waynesboro road, I saw that General Ewell's train, then on its way to Williamsport, was in danger and asked to go with my command to its protection. I was allowed the Sixth and Seventh regiments and Chew's battery, but the Seventh was afterwards ordered back and Colonel Ferrabee's regiment (Fifty-ninth North Carolina) allowed to take its place, the latter being then on this road. This narrow and difficult way, rendered doubly so by heavy rain just fallen, was so blocked by wagons as to render it wholly impracticable to push ahead the artillery or even the cavalry. With my staff I hastened on to rally all the stragglers of the train to the support of whatever force might be guarding the road. Arriving, I found Captain Emack's company of the Maryland cavalry, with one gun, opposed to a whole division of Federal cavalry with a full battery. He had already been driven back within a few hundred yards of the j unction of the roads. Not a half of the long train had passed. Dark had just set in. This brave little band of heroes was, encouraged with the hope of speedy reinforcements, reminded of the importance of their trust and exhorted to fight to the bitter end rather than yield. All my couriers, and all others with fire arms, were ordered to the front, directed to lie on the ground and be sparing of their ammunition. The last charge of grape was expended and the piece sent to the rear. For more than two hours less than fifty men kept many thousands in check and the wagons continued to pass long after the balls were whistling in their midst. Some sixty or seventy of Colonel Farrabee's men had got up and were doing their duty well. The enemy, driven to desperation, resorted to a charge of cavalry that swept everything before it. The led horses, wagons, straggling infantry and camp followers were hurled down the mountain in one confused mass. Ineffectual efforts were made for a rally and resistance but without avail until at the foot of the mountain a few joined Captain Welch's company of the Maryland [118] cavalry, stationed at this point, and drove back the advance of the enemy. But this mere handful of men had to yield to the increasing numbers of the enemy. My staff and all my couriers having got separated from me and the enemy having the road in my front, I made through the fields and byways for Williamsport to escape or be useful as occasion might require. Arriving early in the morning all was found in confusion. Every one was anxious to cross the river — too much swollen to ford and the only boat available could not exceed seventy trips in twenty-four hours. To deprive all of the hope of what but a small fraction could obtain was deemed the most expedient means of establishing order.

I assumed command and put fifteen or twenty infantry, the only organized men I could see, to guard the boat and stop the crossing. Officers and men appealed to cheerfully took up arms, posting themselves in buildings to resist cavalry attacks. Soon a respectable defence could have been made, and a rash attack would doubtless have been severely punished. Order being restored, the wounded, and wagons with important papers, were allowed to recommence crossing the river. By evening, two regiments of infantry having arrived from Martinsburg, and General Imboden having got in from the direction of Greencastle with his brigade and some twenty-four pieces of artillery, I determined to make my way, with half a dozen men, through the enemy's lines to my command. This was effected with some very narrow escapes, on the night of the 5th and the morning of the 6th. I rejoined my command at Lightersburg and returned with it by way of Smithtown and Covetown and the old Frederick road so as to participate in the attacks on General Kilpatrick at Hagerstown and General Buford at Williamsport that evening. The brilliant charge of the Eleventh Virginia cavalry (Colonel Lomax commanding) is more fully detailed in the enclosed report.

The evening of the 7th the Sixth United States regular cavalry, making a reconnoisance near Funkstown, fell in with the Seventh Virginia cavalry, which availed itself of the opportunity of settling old scores. Sabres were freely used, and soon sixty-six bloody-headed prisoners were marched to the rear, and the road of slumbering wrath was marked here and there by cleft skulls and pierced bodies. The day at Fairfield is fully and nobly avenged. The Sixth United States regular cavalry numbers among the things that were.

Colonel Marshall's report will give more fully the particulars. The report of Colonel Massie will give the particulars of the affair of the 14th instant near Harper's Ferry, in which we captured one Major, [119] one Lieutenant and twenty-five men, losing Colonel Harman, one Lieutenant and three men. In this campaign my brigade participated in three battles and the affair of Boonsboro. It killed and wounded many of the enemy, and captured over six hundred prisoners.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. E. Jones, Brigadier General Commanding.

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