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188 Series I Volume II- Serial 2 - First Manassas

Page 188 OPERATIONS IN MD., PA., VA., AND W. VA. Chapter IX.

JULY 5, 1861.- Skirmish near Newport News, Va.


Numbers 1.- Captain S. W. Fisk, Crescent Rifles, Louisiana Infantry.

Numbers 2.- Captain Robert C. Stanard, Howitzer Company, C. S. Army.

Numbers 3.- Captain William Collins, Halifax Catawba Troops.

Numbers 1. Report of Captain S. W. Fisk, Crescent Rifles, transmitted by Major Righter and Brigadier-General Magruder, C. S. Army.

YOUNG'S MILLS, VA., July 5, 1861.

SIR: A detachment of men, consisting of one hundred infantry, one howitzer, and about fifteen or twenty cavalry, left last night, about midnight, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Dreux. We advanced in the direction of Newport News, and took post in the woods, near Curtis' farm, near the road, as shown in diagram annexed.* We were ordered to lie in ambush. The vedettes soon after came in and announced the approach of a body of cavalry one hundred strong. Colonel Dreux's orders were that they should closely conceal their persons and weapons, and permit the enemy to cross the road on our left and somewhat beyond the left of our line, and that no one should fire before he himself should give the order, after they had advanced, as above. A few of our infantry scouts had previously been sent into the woods, on our left, to observe the approach of the enemy and ascertain if they were enemies. In a few moments after sending out the scouts, Colonel D. said, "They are coming!" addressing me. Whereupon I took my post a few paces from him, on his right, but not a word was said by him to intimate that he expected the approach of any but cavalry. Notwithstanding Colonel Dreux's and my own positive order to the men not to fire, one or two shots having been exchanged between the scouts and the enemy, several of the men on the left began also to fire. Very soon after I was informed that Colonel Dreux was wounded. This was about half an hour after daybreak. Being obliged to direct my attention to our line of infantry, and still, according to the information I had received from Colonel D., of expecting cavalry, I pursued or carried out his original intention, and, in obedience to his order, not to give the command to fire until their column had passed in front of us. This was, however, but for a maenad, and their column not passing our front, as expected, and the enemy being scarcely recognizable, except by the occasional flash of their arms when discharged, fining that they still remained on our left, in order to face towards them and enable us to charge, I gave the order, "Left into line, wheel," which, as far as I could observe, was well and promptly executed. When we wheeled into the road the enemy had disappeared or fled. About the time that this movement executed the horses attached to the howitzer, being said to have taken fright, ran off with the gun with great violence down the road, creating considerable confusion on our right, which was soon, however, remedied. Having remained near the scene of action long enough to bring off our wounded, we retired in good order, no possibility of carrying out the surprise originally intended by Colonel Dreux longer


*Not found.


Page 188 OPERATIONS IN MD., PA., VA., AND W. VA. Chapter IX.