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

Page 120 OPERATIONS IN N.C., VA., W.VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XLI.

No. 5. Reports of Colonel Henry E. Davies, jr., Second New York Cavalry, commanding First Brigade.

NEAR RACCOON FORD, VA., September 15, 1863.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to forward the following report of the part taken by my brigade in the engagements of the 12th [13th] and 13th [14th] instant:

We crossed the Rappahannock at Kelly's Ford at 6 a.m. on the morning of the 12th [13th] instant, and I immediately threw out skirmishers, who drove the enemy's pickets and captured 4 prisoners. The division having the advance having crossed the river, I moved forward to Brandy Station two battalions of the Second New York, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Harhaus, having the advance. These, at several points, met the rebel outposts, which they drove before them, until arriving at the railroad they were met by two regiments of rebel cavalry, who made a brisk attack on them. This they at first repulsed, but being nearly surrounded and at some distance in advance of the brigade, Colonel Harhaus fell back gradually, keeping the enemy in check, to the piece of woods on the left of the railroad near the station, which he held until I came up with the rest of the brigade, and connected with the left of General Buford's command then coming in the field.

At this point the enemy opened fire from three guns, one on the left and two on the right of the railroad, on my position. As my command was much scattered from the rapidity with which they had marched up, I did not immediately advance, but opened fire on the rebel position with two guns of Lieutenant Counselman's battery, which in a few moments silenced the rebel fire and drove them from position.

In pursuance of your orders I then marched to the left, and making a detour through the woods, attacked the enemy in the vicinity of Culpeper Court-House. My skirmishers drove them back to the long range of hills before reaching the court-house, where they made a determined stand with a battery of artillery, on the right of the railroad, and a large force of cavalry.

I got my battery in position and, after some moments' shelling, ordered a charge on the guns, which was most gallantly made by a battalion of the Second New York Cavalry, led by Lieutenant-Colonel Harhaus and Major McIrvin, and supported by Captain Hasty's battalion of the same regiment. They made a charge that has never been surpassed in the records of the cavalry service, across a deep ravine and a creek, up a steep hill, the road rough and stony, and through a heavy fire of shells, right up to the muzzles of the guns, two of which they captured and brought back in triumph, together with the officer in command of the battery and 20 of his men, and driving his supports without firing a shot, using nothing but the saber.

After gaining this position and the town of Culpeper, I was fired on by a battery posted in thick woods on the left of the railroad, and ordered the Fifth New York Cavalry to charge and take it. They charged most bravely, but the ground being bad, were much broken, and on gaining the crest of the hill were attacked by a much larger body of cavalry and driven back. They were gallantly rallied by

Page 120 OPERATIONS IN N.C., VA., W.VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XLI.