« ZurückWeiter »
REPORT OF BRIG.-GENERAL MILROY.
purpose of obtaining accurate information of their
strength and position. BATTLE AT MCDOWELL, VA.*
For this purpose the following troops were placed at my disposal :
The Twenty-fifth Ohio Volunteer Infantry; the
Seventy-fifth do.; Thirty-second do.; Third Vir.
ginia do. ; and Eighty-second Ohio. GENERAL: I have the honor to report to you
The regiments were by no means full, various the result of the engagement
of the eighth inst., companies of each being detached for special duty. near McDowell on the Bull Pasture Mountains. The number of privates, non-commissioned officers, As an apology for the delay in transmitting this and officers, actually engaged, are reported to me report, I would state that the officers and men
as follows: of my command have, since the occurrence of the Twenty-fifth 0. V. I., 469; Seventy-fifth 0. V. engagement, been constantly occupied in active 1.
, 444; Thirty-secondo. V. I., 416; Third Va. field duty, leaving no time for the preparation of V. I., 439. Total field-officers, company officers, the details by the company and regimental com
and privates of this brigade engaged, 1768. The manders from which alone a correct report could exact number of the Eighty-second O. V. I. enbe made.
gaged, is not known to me, but has been doubt. Upon the seventh day of May, I was first ad- less reported to you. vised by my scouts and spies that a junction had
Under my order, the Twenty-fifth Ohio and been made between the armies of Gens. Jackson Seventy-fifth Ohio regiments, (the former under and Johnson, and that they were advancing to the command of Lieut.-Col. W. P. Richardson, attack me at McDowell. Having, the day previ- and the latter under the command of Col. N. C. ous, sent out a large portion of the Third Vir. McLean and Major Robert' Reilly,) advanced in ginia, Seventy-fifth Ohio, and Thirty-second Ohio the most gallant manner, up the face of the regiments to Shaw's Ridge and upon the Shenan
mountain, and attacked the enemy in their doah Mountain for the purpose of protecting my
fronts. Numbering less than one thousand men, foraging and reconnoitring parties
, I immediately unprotected by any natural or artificial shelter, ordered my whole force to concentrate at Mc- they advanced up a precipitous mountain-side, Dowell
, and, expecting reõnforcements, prepared upon an adversary protected by intrenchments for defence there. In the afternoon of the seventh and the natural formation of the mountains, and, inst., a large force of the rebels was discovered unsupported, drove them (at least twice their descending the west side of the Shenandoah numerical strength) over the crest of the mounMountain, along the Staunton and Parkersburgh tain, and for one and a half-hours maintained, unturnpike. I ordered a section of the Ninth Ohio aided, whilst exposed to a deadly fire, the posibattery, (Capt. Hyman,) on Shaw's Ridge, to tion from which they had so bravely driven the shell them and endeavor to retard their progress. officers and men of the regiments. The Twenty;
foe. Too much praise cannot be awarded to the This they did with such effect as to cause the enemy to retire beyond the Shenandoah Moun- fifth led the advance, and were rapidly followed tain; but, observing another heavy force crossing and supported by the Seventy-fifth, both acting the mountain on our right, some two miles dis- with the coolness of veterans and the determinatant, I deemed it prudent to fall back and con- tion of patriot soldiers, willing to sacrifice their centrate at McDowell.
lives for the good of the Republic. Upon the next morning, (eighth inst.,) the ene
At about four o'clock in the afternoon, perceiv. my was seen upon Bull Pasture Mountain, about ing that the enemy's force was being constantly one and three quarter miles distant from Mc- increased, I ordered the Eighty-second regiment Dowell, on my right and front. I commenced O. V. I., of your brigade, the Thirty-second Ohio, shelling them, and sent out parties of skirmishers and Third Virginia to turn the right fank of the to endeavor to ascertain their numbers. About enemy, and, if possible, attack them in the rear. ten o'clock A.M. your brigade arrived. Desultory They obeyed the order with the greatest alacrity; firing of a section of Hyman's battery, and occa
but the enemy, observing the design, and having sional skirmishing, engaged the attention of the a much superior force, in a handsome manner eneiny during the morning. Major Long, of the changed his front to the rear.
The regiments Seventy-third O. V. I., with a party of skirmish- named, however, attacked them briskly, and kept ers, rendered a good service by his efforts in as- up a destructive fire, causing the enemy to waver certaining the position of the enemy.
several times; but fresh reënforcements being In the afternoon, at about three o'clock, being brought up by them, and a portion of the reën. informed by Capt. G. R. Latham, of the Second forcements coming down the turnpike, the Third Va V. 1:, who, with his company, was engaged Virginia became exposed to their fire in its front in skirmishing, that the rebels were endeavoring fire of the Third Virginia, the latter reēnforce
and rear. Unable, however, to withstand the to plant a battery upon the mountain, which would command our whole encampment, with ments joined the main body of the rebels, and your permission I made a reconnoissance, for the the contest became general and bloody.
Whilst the Third Virginia, Thirty-second Ohio, • This battle is also known as the ballle of Bull Pasture Moun. and Eighty-second Ohio were advancing on the
enemy, a six-pounder of Johnson's Twelfth Ohio
battery, under command of Lieut. Bowers, was, De Beck's battery of the First Ohio artillery and with the greatest difficulty, placed in position on about two hundred and fifty men of the first battalthe mountain, on the left of the turnpike, and ion of Connecticut cavalry. gave efficient support to the attack.
With this help I reached Gen. Milroy at two During the engagement, I also ordered two o'clock A.M., on the eighth inst. I was, to use his twelve-pounders of Johnson's Twelfth Ohio bat- own expression, "just in time." I found his tery to be placed upon the pike, but they could regiments of infantry partly in line of battle in the not be placed in position until after twilight. plain at McDowell, covering some of the various
From three o'clock until eight P.M. our small approaches from the mountain, and partly disforce engaged with undaunted bravery a force of posed as skirmishers on the heights in front, and the enemy which could not have been less than his batteries in position, expecting momentarily
and maintained the position from which that the enemy would attempt to descend into they had driver them, displaying courage and the valley to attack him, under cover of artillery zeal which has merited the thanks of the coun- that might be brought forward to command the try and proved them true representatives of the place from different points. American citizen soldier.
A little observation served to show at once, After nightfall the engagement was continued, that McDowell as a defensive position was entirethe fire of our men being guided only by the ly untenable, and especially against the largely flashes of the enemy's musketry, until the ann- outnumbering force that was ascertained to be munition of almost all the men engaged was al- advancing; and if it had been otherwise, there was most wholly exhausted, when having achieved no choice left on account of an entire destitution the purpose of the attack, our forces were recalled, of forage. I determined, therefore, to obey, with retiring in good order, bringing with them their as little delay as possible, your order to fall back dead and wounded.
with the force of our two brigades to this place. Whilst I should be glad to bring prominently Such a movement, however, could not with any to the notice of the Major-General Commanding safety or propriety be commenced before night, the names of the officers and men who distin- nor did it seem advisable to undertake it without guished themselves in the action, I could not do first ascertaining or feeling the actual strength of so without rehearsing the names of all engaged. the rebel force before us, and also perhaps taking Neither officer nor man of those engaged faltered some step that would serve to check or disable in the performance of his whole duty. The him from his full power or disposition to pursue. Twenty-fifth and Seventy-fifth 0. V. I., in their This was effectually done by an attack on his gallant advance, the Thirty-second Ohio in a dar position on the mountain in the afternoon, and on ing bayonet charge, and the Third Virginia in the night following, I was enabled to withdraw their endurance of the most severe fire of the ene- our whole army along the road through the narmy, alike merit his entire approbation.
row gorge, which afforded the only egress from To Brig.-Gen. Schenck, for his advice and the valley in which McDowell is situated, in the counsel, and to the officers and men of the Eighty- direction of Franklin. second Ohio, who so bravely assisted us, I owe This withdrawal we effected without the loss my warmest thanks. R. H. MILROY, of a man, and without loss or destruction of any
Brigadier-General, article of public property, except of some stores, W. G. GEORGE, A.A.G.
for which Gen. Milroy was entirely without the
means of transportation. I submit herewith the REPORT OF BRIG.-GENERAL SCHENCK,
reports of Brig.-Gen. Milroy and of Col. James HEADQUARTERS SCHEXCK'S BRIGADE, Cantwell
, commanding the Eighty-second Ohio MOUNTAIN Depot, Camp FRANKLIN, May 14. /
volunteer infantry of my brigade, giving an acCol. Albert Tracy, A.A.G., Headquarters Moun- count of the affair, with the rebel force that day, tain Department:
and of the parts severally taken in the fight by I have had the honor, in my despatches here- the different regiments engaged. tofore transmitted through you, to inform the At three o'clock, Gen. Milroy having reported General Commanding of my march with my bri- to me that his scouts informed him of reënforcegade from Franklin to McDowell, to the relief of ments continually arriving to the support of the Brig.-Gen. Milroy, who with his force having enemy, concealed among the woods on the mounfallen back to, and concentrated at the last-named tain, and that they were evidently making prepplace, was threatened with attack by the combin- arations to get artillery in position for sweeping ed army of Jackson and Johnson. By leaving the valley, I consented to his request to be permy baggage-train under a guard, in my last camp mitted to make a reconnoissance. The force deon the road, fourteen miles from McDowell, I was tailed for this purpose consisted of portions of able to push forward so as to make the whole four regiments of infantry of his brigade, namely, distance, thirty-four miles, in twenty-three hours. the Seventy-fifth, Twenty-fifth and Thirty-second
I added, however, but little numerical strength Ohio, and the Third Virginia, and the Eightyto the army I was sent to relieve. My brigade, second Ohio of mine—the latter regiment gladly consisting of but three regiments, and with sev- receiving the order to join in the enterprise, alerai companies then on detailed and other duty, though the men were exhausted with the long brought into the field an aggregate of only about march from which they had just arrived, with one thousand three hundred infantry, besides want of food, sleep and rest. The infantry was supported in a degree also by a six-pounder of ardor, and yet with such order and coolness, as Johnson's battery, which Gen. Milroy had suc- they displayed in marching and fighting up that ceeded in conveying to the top of one of the moun- steep mountain-side, in the face of a hot and intain ridges on his left.
cessant fire. From McDowell I fell back by easy The movement resulted in a very sharp en marches, on the ninth, tenth, and eleventh, to counter with the rebels, of which details are given this place, the enemy cautiously pursuing. On in the accompanying reports. To these reports a commanding ridge of ground, thirteen miles I refer. I will only add, by way of general sum- from McDowell
, at the intersection of the road at ming up, that, adding to the one thousand seven that place with the turnpike to Monterey, I stophundred and sixty-eight of Milroy's brigade, about ped from eight A.m. to two P.M., on the ninth, five hundred of the Eighty-second Ohio, which and made my dispositions to receive and repulse was their number in the action, the entire force the attack of the rebels, who appeared in our we had engaged was two thousand two hundred rear, but they declined the undertaking. While and sixty-eight; that these were opposed to, I awaiting the arrival of the General Commanding, believe, not less than five thousand of the enemy, with reënforcements, at this point, on the elesuccessively brought into action, besides their venth, twelfth, and thirteenth, the rebel army reserved force of some eight thousand in the rear. having advanced to within two miles of our posi
That the casualties on our part amounted in tion, we were kept constantly engaged in watchthe aggregate to twenty-eight killed, eighty se ful preparation for an expected attack. I had my verely wounded, one hundred and forty-five slight- batteries and other forces so disposed, as to feel ly wounded, and three missing, making a total of confident of repelling any attack. But we had two hundred and fifty-six.
no collision, except some skirmishing with my As the enemy closed in and it was ascertained pickets and portions of the infantry advanced on that from the unexpected severity and protrac- the range of hills to my right, as I confronted the tion of the fight, the ammunition of some of the enemy's approach, and which resulted only in the regiments was almost completely exhausted, I en- loss of two men, one of the Fifth Virginia regideavored to get up a supply of cartridges to the ment on the eleventh, and one of the Third regimen, and had three wagon-loads taken some dis- ment Potomac home brigade, on the twelfth, on tance up the Staunton road for that purpose, but our side, and four or five of the enemy killed by the only way it could reach them up the steep our shells. The approaches were so guarded as mountain side was to be carried by hand or in to prevent the enemy from getting his artillery haversacks. I ordered up the road also the regi. into any commanding position, and on the night ment of Virginia infantry, Col. Zeigler command of the thirteenth he withdrew back along the ing, of my brigade, to the relief of the other troops turnpike road to the southward. if needed, and they went, promptly and actively I am, very respectfully, your ob't servant, moved to the field, but it was not necessary to
Robert C. SCHENCK. bring them into the action.
Brigadier-General Commanding. The troops that were engaged, after fighting with a coolness and order and bravery which it is impossible to excel, and after pressing back the HEADQUARTERS SEVENTY-Fifth REGIMENT O. V. I., enemy over the mountain crest and maintaining
CAMP FRANKLIN, May 14, 1862. unflinchingly and under the most galling and GENERAL: I have the honor to submit to you constant fire their ground until darkness set in, a report of the battle of “ Bull Mountain,” which were now withdrawn under the immediate order occurred on the eighth instant, near McDowell. of Col. McLean of the Seventy-fifth, leaving, as I This report would have been sooner made, but believe, not a person behind, for the three men for the constant duty upon which I have been reported missing are supposed to be among the engaged up to last night. This has rendered it killed.
impossible, until the present moment, for me to We took four prisoners of the enemy: His loss devote any time to this report, and is my excuse in killed is thought by all engaged to have much for the delay. exceeded ours. From the prisoners since taken Under your orders, on the afternoon of the I have ascertained that his killed on the field was eighth instant, I marched to attack the confederless than thirty, and his wounded very numerous. ate forces then in position on the top of Bull Among the rebels wounded I learn was General Mountain, having under my command seven comJohnson himself, and at least one of his field-offi- panies of my own regiment, the Seventy-fifth cers. The colonel of a Virginia regiment is known Ohio, and nine companies of the Twenty-fifth to be among the slain.
Ohio, commanded by Lieut.-Col. Richardson, Too much praise cannot be awarded to Gen. The remaining three companies and a part of the Milroy himself, to Colonel McLean, Seventy-fifth seven of the Seventy-fifth Ohio were, at the time Ohio; Col. Cantwell, Eighty-second Ohio; Lieut.- the order was received, separated from the regi. Col. Richardson, commanding the Twenty-fifth ment by your previous orders during the day, Ohio; Major Riley, Seventy-fifth Ohio, and the and had been engaged in skirmishing with the officers and men of their several commands, for advance of the enemy, so that I had not the bentheir steady gallantry and courage manifested efit of their strength in the battle.
The compathroughout the whole affair. No veteran troops nies of my own regiment engaged, with the nun I am sure, ever acquitted themselves with more I bers present of each, were as follows:
COLONEL N. C. MCLEAN'S REPORT.
(bmpany A, Capt. Friend commanding, 86 men. attacking a much larger force than I had anticiF, Capt. Morgan
51 pated, occupying also, a most admirable defensive I, Capt. Fry
61 position, I deemed it prudent to make no further C, Capt. Harris
71 advance, and determined, if possible, to hold on H, Capt. Pilcher
69 to the ground already acquired. In the position E, Capt. Foster
gained my men found partial protection whilst G, Lieut. Morey
60 loading their pieces, by taking advantage of the
uneven nature of the grounds. This, however, Total of Seventy-fifth Ohio engaged, 444 was slight, as the enemy were so placed that
I have not yet ascertained the numbers en- many of our men were wounded by their fire, gaged in the Twenty-fifth Ohio, but have been some distance below the advanced front. Our informed by Lieut.-Col. Richardson that his nine position was one of extreme danger and exposure, companies were incomplete. He will report, him- and the fire of the enemy was heavy; coming self, the exact number in the action.
sometimes in tremendous volleys, as if they The enemy were in position on the top of the meant by one fire, to sweep us from the mountmountain, entirely screened from our view, and ain. Most nobly did our troops sustain them. the conformation of the ridge permitted them to selves. Both regiments worked together with deliver their fire with only the exposure of a great coolness, and the men seemed only to be small portion of their bodies, and in reloading anxious to get steady aim when firing their pieces, they were entirely protected from our fire by the without a thought of retiring. We held this pocrest of the hill. The side of the mountain up sition for at least an hour and a half before any which I was compelled to make the attack, was troops arrived to reënforce us, the enemy not entirely destitute of protection, either from trees daring to make the attempt to drive us back by or rocks, and so steep that the men were at times a charge. At about this time the Thirty-second compelled to march either to one side or the other Ohio, under command of Lieut.-Col. Sweeney, in order to make the ascent. In making the ad- and the Eighty-second Ohio, under command of vance, Lieut.-Col. Richardson, by my order, de. Col. Cantwell, came to our aid and took position ployed two of his companies as skirmishers, in in our midst. The fighting continued around order to more clearly ascertain the position and the crest of the hill at this point, until I was instrength of the enemy. As soon as these com- formed that the Twenty-fifth Ohio were out of panies were deployed properly, I ordered Lieut.- ammunition, and that some of my own regiment Col. Richardson to support them with the whole (the Seventy-fifth Ohio) were in the same condiof his regiment, formed in line of battle, which tion, although every man of my own regiment order was executed with great promptness, and started in the action with sixty rounds. The in a few moments the whole of the Twenty-fifth evening, also, was well advanced, so that our Ohio was advancing steadily to the front, up the men could only see the enemy by the flashes of mountain, overcoming the difficult ascent with their guns. The moon was shining, but did not great labor.
give sufficient light to enable the men to shoot As soon as the Twenty-fifth Ohio had advanced with accuracy. Under these circumstances I deso as to make room in the open ground for the termined to withdraw the forces, and so gave the movement, I formed my own regiment, the Sev. order. I formed the Seventy-fifth Ohio in line enty-fifth Ohio, in line of battle, and gave the of battle, under the crest of the hill, sufficiently order for the advance, so that the whole force low down to be out of the worst of the fire, and under my command was within easy supporting marched them down the mountain in this order, distance.
as well as the nature of the ground would perThe enemy did not permit the skirmishers to mit
, so as at any time to be able to face to the advance far before a heavy fire was opened upon rear, and fire upon the enemy in case they should them from the whole crest of the hill. The attempt to follow us. Upon reaching the road, I mountain was circular in its formation, so that halted, and waited until the Twenty-fifth Ohio, when the whole line was engaged, the flanks were the Eighty-second Ohio, and the Thirty-second in a manner concealed from each other. The Ohio had all returned to the road, when we enemy received us with so heavy and destructive marched back to McDowell. The action was a a fire that I was compelled to bring forward, as most severe one, as is shown by the report of rapidly as possible, the whole of the forces under the killed and wounded, already in your possesmy command. I cannot say too much in praise sion. My officers and men alike bore themselves of the conduct of the troops. Under the most most bravely in the action. Lieut.-Col. Constaheavy and galling fire from a well-sheltered ene- ble being sick, was unable to be with us, but my, and without protection themselves, they Maj. Reilly rendered most important and gallant steadily advanced up the precipitous ascent, firing service, during the whole engagement, rallying and loading with great coolness, until the enemy the men and keeping them to their work, when, were forced to retire from their first position to a as was the case at times, the enemy seemed, by second ridge in the rear, which, however, pro- the increase of their fire, to have brought new tected them from our fire equally as well as the forces into the action. I had but one officer one which they had abandoned. At this point wounded, and of them all, so far as they came cur troops were halted, and finding that we were | under my observation, I can speak in the warm
A NATIONAL ACCOUNT.
est terms as regards their gallant conduct during the ridge just as the enemy was making his aptheraction.
pearance near the foot.
Hyman's guns were I have the honor to be,
quickly in position, and soon shells were falling Very respectfully,
among the rebels, who immediately about faced Your obedient servant, and marched back up the mountain. The regi
N. C. McLEAN, ment and battery then fell back to McDowell,
Colonel Eighty-fifth Regiment O.V.1. reaching that place about seven P.M. Brig.-General Milroy.
The men slept on their arms, while the officers
made the arrangements for the next day's battle. A correspondent of the Cincinnati Commercial I confess affairs looked too blue to permit of my
A little after midnight, most of us tried to sleep. gives the following account of this affair : sleeping. We had information that Jackson was
GEN. MILROY'S BRIGADE, May 13, 1862.
coming with nine thousand men by way of North After an exciting week we are at last enjoying with his whole force and part of Jackson's, would a season of rest in our camp here, to which attack us in front. Our force was not half theirs, point the overwhelming numbers of the enemy and our position á poor one; but Gen. Milroy compelled us to fall back. Since about the first said he would not yield a foot to treason, and so of April, when the rebels evacuated Camp Alle- we must fight. gheny, Gen. Milroy, with that energy and fearless By half-past two Thursday morning, all in determination which are his peculiar character- camp were stirring, and by four all had eaten istics, has been botly pursuing them, until they breakfast. Our soldiers watched for the coming were driven beyond the Shenandoah mountains, dawn, and listened anxiously for the signal gun the boundary of Fremont's department. that would summon them to battle. Day came,
In their retreat the rebels destroyed an im- but no attack. We supposed they were only mense 'amount of camp equipage. This was awaiting the advance of Jackson's force from the particularly the case at their camp on the She- direction of North River Gap. By order of Gen. nandoah mountain, where they left considerable Milroy, I took a squad of cavalry, and went in quantities of four, forage, etc.; they burned the direction of North River Gap, to find, if posmost of their tents, the rest they cut so as to sible, Jackson's force. I went out fifteen miles render them unfit for use.
from McDowell, but found no force. On returning On the fifth the Thirty-second Ohio was ad- to camp I found Gen. Schenck had come up with vanced beyond the Shenandoah mountain for three regiments, namely, the Eighty-second and the double purpose of scouting and foraging. Fifty-fifth Ohio, and Fifth Virginia. The enemy The Seventy-fifth Ohio and Third Virginia, with had made his appearance on the hill east of the Capt. Hyman's battery, were encamped at the town, and two companies of his skirmishers had foot of the mountain on this side; the rest of our been driven in by Capt. Higgins's company of force was at McDowell, at which place Gen. the Eighty-fifth. At five o'clock P.M., it was reMilroy had his headquarters. On Wednesday solved to make a reconnoissance in force, to learn morning the cavalry pickets belonging to Capt. the strength and position of the enemy. At Shuman's company First Virginia, were attacked half-past five o'clock, Gen. Milroy moved with and driven in after losing several men and a four regiments
, namely, the Seventy-fifth, Twentynumber of horses. The Thirty-second, under fifth, Thirty-second and Eighty-second. Lieut.-Col. Sweeney, drove the rebels back in The rebels had stationed themselves on the good style, and then fell back across the moun- top of a ridge, in the Ball Pasture Mountain, tain. Unfortunately this regiment was without through a gap in which, at this point, the Struntransportation, and hence lost all their camp ton pike passes. The Twenty-fifth and Seventyequipage and baggage, which was burned by the fifth Ohio took up the mountain on the right, rebels.
while the Thirty-second and Eighty-second took By this time we had learned from our scouts the left. The mountain on both sides is very and from other sources that we were about to be steep and hence, by the time the men had attacked by the combined forces of Johnson marched two thirds of the way up the mountain, and Jackson, numbering some fifteen thousand they were almost exhausted. The Seventy-fifth men, with Ashby's cavalry, and a good supply and Twenty-fifth had climbed two thirds the of artillery. Our forces that were advanced to way up the mountain, and were just crossing a ward the Shenandoah, were immediately ordered little ridge, when they received a full volley from to fall back to McDowell. As we came up a rebel regiment that had been concealed on the Shaw's Ridge, just this side of the Shenandoah, other side of the ridge. Here the battle began, we could see the rebels swarming over the top the rebels falling back before the telling fire of of the latter. The road that leads down the our boys. The enemy then reënforced till his mountain was crowded with rebels for several numbers exceeded our own continued to fall hours, and still they came. Gen. Milroy, at this back till they reached their main force, which moment, came up and ordered Capt. Hyman's was posted in admirably selected position - 3 battery, supported by the Seventy-fifth Ohio, kind of basin in the top of the mountain, from Col. McLean, to move back to Shaw's Ridge, and which they could fire without exposing only check the advance of the rebels. They reached I their head. The fight had been raging furiously