Today in History:

107 Series I Volume XXIX-I Serial 48 - Bristoe, Mine Run Part I


to surprise our men attacked them and attempted to rescue the prisoners. Sharp fighting ensued, but all were brought off with a loss of 8 or 10 men on our side, believed to have been captured, and 1 ambulance, in which the team was killed, together with 18 or 20 other horses.

Information reaching here night before last that the enemy was pursuing, Colonel Smith took 400 men and made a forced night march to the head of Lost River to assist in bringing in the prisoners, &c., but as it turned out he was not needed, all coming in safely to-day.

I cannot speak too highly of the gallantry of officers and men in this really brilliant little affair. They were in the very midst of a largely superior force plotting their capture or discomfiture, but completely turned the tables upon them.

I am so well convinced of the utility of this mode of warfare on the border, that day after to-morrow I start out two parties, one of 100 men, under Major Lang, Sixty-second [Virginia Regiment], to penetrate the country north of Beverly on foot and harass the enemy two or three weeks in Barbour and Randolph; the other, a single company, under Captain Nelson, to go to the North Fork, in Pendleton, and try and clear out Snyder's gang of Union robbers and murderers, known as Swamp Dragoons.

All remains perfectly quiet in the lower valley. Only a small force of the enemy at Martinsburg and Harper's Ferry, and they stick to the railroad very closely. We are again hauling iron from Shenandoah to Staunton. A very large proportion of my horses have sore tongues and cannot stand much service.

If you could spare for twenty days 2,500 infantry and a battery, to co-operate with me, I believe we could destroy every bridge from Martinsburg to New Creek, break up the canal, and burn the coal mines at Cumberland, General Jenkins co-operating in the meantime with Colonel Jackson in a raid on Beverly and Grafton. The force of the enemy is too large and too easily concentrated for me to undertake it alone.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,



General R. E. LEE,

Commanding Army of Northern Virginia.


Petersburg, W. Va., September 10, 1863.

Major E. W. STEPHENS, Jr.,

Commanding Forces, Moorefield, W. Va.:

MAJOR: It has been reported to these headquarters that a party of the enemy (numbers unknown) is encamped on the South Fork 4 or 5 miles from Moorefield. A party of infantry under Captain Fitzgerald, Twenty-third Illinois, will start from this point at 9 this p.m., intending to arrive at the camp of the enemy at daylight, and, if possible, effect a surprise and capture. The colonel commanding directs that you send to-night Captain Barr's company of cavalry and a company of infantry from your command, with instructions to move on the reported camp of the enemy, to arrive at daylight,