Today in History:

45 Series I Volume XXXIII- Serial 60 - New Berne



HEADQUARTERS, February 11, 1864.

Respectfully forwarded to the honorable Secretary of War, to whom the conduct of General Early and General Rosser and their troops is commended.

R. E. LEE,

Numbers 10. Report of Brigadier General Thomas L. Rosser, C. S. Army, commanding expedition.

HDQRS. ROSSER'S BRIGADE, February 9, 1864.

MAJOR: On the morning of the 28th ultimo, in obedience to an order from Major General J. A. Early, I moved my brigade and a battery of four pieces of General Imboden's in direction of Moorefield, Hardy County, where I arrived early on the evening of the 30th [29th]. The infantry having failed to get up. I spent the remainder of the day in constructing bridges across the South and North Forks of the South Branch, and early on the morning of the 31st [30th] moved my command across the mountain in the direction of Patterson's Creek, upon which I had been informed by reliable scouts was a large supply train encamped, destined for Petersburg. In crossing the mountain I encountered, when in about 2 miles of the creek, a regiment of infantry blockading the road by felling trees across it, and by digging it away when constructed upon the side of a hill,&c. By dismounting a few men I soon dislodged them and drove them entirely through the gap. The obstructions were soon removed by the pioneers of the brigade, and the road reconstructed where it had been dug away. The brigade then fairly through, I pressed vigorously upon the enemy, who was then retiring in the direction of Williamsport to meet the train, which was then moving up. Upon my approach his wagons were parked and all dispositions made to meet my attack. The enemy's force (I have since learned numbered 1,100 men), I saw at a glance, was much larger than my own. I dismounted 300 or 400 men, and with the remainder in the saddle I charged him front, flank, and rear. The first onset was repulsed, but one piece of my artillery coming up (the enemy having none), my troops were much elated by this seeming advantage, and I charged him again, which was very successful, driving him into the mountains and giving me possession of the entire train of 95 wagons and teams, excepting a few of the latter that were cut away during the fight and run off, and the regiment I these mules and a few ambulances were allowed to escape.

The conduct of my men on this occasion entitles them to their country's gratitude. Indeed, I believe it is the first instance during this war where cavalry attacked successfully a superior force of infantry. I lost in the action 24 men killed and wounded. The enemy's acknowledge loss in killed and wounded was 80. I captured 40 prisoners, 2 captains and 1 major. The train, which was heavily loaded with commissary stores (bacon, rice, coffee, sugar, &c.), was turned over to General Early. Many of the wagons, however, had to be destroyed in consequence of the want of mules to bring them off, a number having been killed in the action and others ridden off by the fleeing enemy.