Today in History:

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

Page 202 OPERATIONS IN N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XLI.

Georgetown and Leesburg pike, and 3 men on the roar leading toward Chain Bridge. The number of men in the day-time reduced to 2 at each post. The infantry detachment merely kept a camp guard of three posts about the house, used as headquarters for the officers, and for the workmen on the farm. On one side of this house was the cavalry camp, within 7 or 8 paces, and on the other side, the infantry camp, within about 2 or 3 paces.

On the night of the 1st of October, from the best information I could obtain, the rebel White, with about 150 mounted men, attacked this camp at 12.40 a. m. They came from the direction of Dranesville, through an old wood or path through the woods (upon this road there was no picket), formed upon the hill near the encampment and in sight of it, and fell upon and surprised the camp, killing 2 enlisted men, wounding 2, and taking prisoner 10 men belonging to the Sixteenth New York Cavalry, with 50 horses and most of the horse equipments and arms belonging to the men; also wounding 1 of the infantry men on post, and taking 10 men prisoners, besides taking 13 horses belonging to the quartermaster's department, used on the farm as work horses.

This was all done in five minutes from the time they were first known to be in the vicinity, and all done without the least show of resistance on the part of our cavalry or infantry, for as far as I could learn, not a shot was fired at them, or a stand of any description made on the part of our forces, happening, no doubt, from the very foolish position given the cavalry pickets, they being very poorly posted within a very short distance from the camp, and each post being in a ravine, with the men dismounted, their horses in camp unsaddled, as were also those of the entire command. Lieutenant Keays had heard it reported by some of the citizens that these guerrillas were in his vicinity, but did not place reliance enough upon the information to take more than the usual precaution.

There was a commissioned officer placed on duty belonging to the cavalry, every night previous to the attack, whose duty it was to look out for the safety of the camp, and see that the picket performed their duty properly; but on the night of the attack, Sergt. S. F. Shaddock, Company B, Sixteenth New York Cavalry, was given this duty to perform. This duty he tried to perform, and would have, had the picket placed out for the safety of the camp been of any use whatever, which was an impossibility arising from the posts given to them, and the manner in which they were posted, i. e., dismounted. The moment he heard the enemy advancing, he exerted himself to wake up the officers, who were at the time all in the house and asleep in their blankets; but before he could accomplish his object the enemy were in both of the encampments, taking the men from their beds, and the officers were of no use whatever, their men nearly all having been taken before they were made aware even of the approach of the enemy.

In my opinion had the pickets been properly posted (even the same number of men used by Lieutenant Keays would have been sufficient), this surprise could not have occurred, and the men in camp could have been formed certainly in time have made some resistance, if not sufficiently strong to drive the enemy entirely away, which I think they could have done had they been prepared to receive them. For this I consider Lieutenant W. J. Keays, Company B, Sixteenth New York Cavalry, entirely to blame.

I left Lewinsville this morning at about 9 o'clock, on the road

Page 202 OPERATIONS IN N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XLI.