|Chapter XXIV. GENERAL REPORTS.
my personal responsibility, though the Government afterward sanctioned the constrict, and being already well upon its way to Petersburg, it was of less moment that none was found attached to my re-enforcing column. Restrictions upon my chief quartermaster at Wheeling having been at this time in a technical from removed, it was reported in encour-engement that team and cavalry horses were coming freely in. These, together with wagons, harness, an other equipage, would be promptly forwarded. The Sixth Ohio Cavalry, having now the opportunity, procured their mount, joining by companies according as they were furnished and equipped. A battery of mountain howitzers for one of the companies heretofore alluded to as specially authorized had also arrived at New Creek. being brought forward as packed, with carriages, implements, harness, &c., they were, on the last night of my stay at Petersburg, mounted and made ready for the field.
With a view to future service a brigade of light troops was made up at Petersburg, consisting of the Sixtieth Ohio, Colonel Trimble, and the Eighth Virginia, under Major Oley. Colonel Cluseret, of my staff, a French officer of experience, and especially so in the tactics of skirmishers, was assigned to the command.
In the men time General Banks had been eighth drawn from his advanced position near Staunton, and my left became dangerously exposed. Seen his advantage, the enemy was not slow to profit by it. Turning promptly to the west, and uniting with his own the forces of Johnson and Ewell, the rebel leader jackson, upon the 7th of May, attacked the outposts of General Milroy. The simultaneousness of his onset indeed, with the retirement of Banks, argues strongly that, by the projected movement. On the 8th of May, with an aggregate of upward of 14,000 men and thirty pieces of artillery, jackson advanced upon the main body of General Miltroy's force at McDowell. Pushing forward in a march of 34 miles in twenty-four hours General Schenck arrived from Franklin in time to unite with and support General Milroy. an obstinate engagement took place. Official reports of the action were at the time sent in by me to the War Department. Under the leadership of their gallant commander the men of Milroy's brigade repeatedly attacked and charged a greatly superior force, exhibiting a courage and tenacity worthy the suffered severely. After several hours of fighting, however, our troops, outnumbered at every point, reluctantly yielded portions of the field to the odds flowing in against them. The enemy's loss was over 40 killed and between 200 and 300 wounded. Our loss was 31 killed an missing and 217 wounded.
Finding his position at McDowell untenable, and looking to the chances of the night attack, General Schenck, now in command, decided to withdraw toward Franklin. The retrograde was executed with skill and address, and bringing safely off his trains, artillery, and wounded, General Schenck re-entered the above-name town on the 10th of Mya. Here, disposing his troops to guard against farther advance of the enemy, he awaited the approach of re-enforcements from Petersburg.
Less than twenty-for hours' rest had been given to portions of the command arriving with General blenker, but deeming the situation of increased importance I determined to move a t once to the relief of General Schenck. I was unable to carry forward with me necessary supplies, owing to the still entirely inadequate transportation, but was obliged to rely upon renewed efforts at the read to get forward in time whatever should be most needed to sustain my troops.
|Chapter XXIV. GENERAL REPORTS.