Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Lieutenant Colonel John S. Mosby

I'm going to try do something new " Well at lest it is new to me." From time to time I will add a photo to go along with the report or story, this will be my first try. I have chosen Lieutenant Colonel John S. Mosby, I found him a very interesting man, I hope you well enjoy reading his reports on his battles.

Note. this information and photo comes from the official recorders of the Union and Confederate Armies which is housed at the State University of Ohio.

Report of Lieutenant Colonel John S. Mosby, Forty-third Virginia Cavalry Battalion.
SEPTEMBER 11, 1864.

COLONEL: I have the honor to submit for the information of the commanding general the following brief report of the operations of this command since the 1st day March last:+

About May 1, with a party of ten men, I captured 8 of Sigel's wagons near Bunker Hill, in the Valley, but was only able to bring off the horses attached (34 in number) and about 20 prisoners. The horses and prisoners were sent back, while with another detachment of twenty men who had joined me I proceeded to Martinsburg, which place we entered that night, while occupied by several hundred Federal troops, and brought off 15 horses and several prisoners.

Returning to my command I learned that Grant had crossed the Rapidan. With about forty men I moved down the north bank of the Rappahannock to assail his communications wherever opened, and sent to other detachments, under Captains Richards and Chapman, to embarrass Sigel as much as possible. Captain Richards had a skirmish near Winchester (then the enemy's rear), in which several of them were killed and wounded. Captain Chapman attacked a wagon train which was heavily guarded near Strasburg, capturing about 30 prisoners with an equal number of horses, &c. Near Belle Plain, in King George, I captured an ambulance train and brought off about 75 horses and mules, 40 prisoners, &c.

A few day after I made a second attempt near the same place, but discovered that my late attack had caused them to detach such a heavy force to guard their trains and line of communications that another successful attack on them was impracticable.

About May 10 I attacked a cavalry outpost in the vicinity of Front Royal, capturing 1 captain and 15 men and 75 horses, and sustained no loss.

About May 20, with about 150 men, I moved to the vicinity of Strasburg with the view of capturing the wagon trains of General Hunter, who had then moved up the Valley. When the train appeared I discovered that it was guarded by about 600 infantry and 100 cavalry. A slight skirmish ensued between their cavalry and a part of my command, in which their cavalry was routed with a loss of 8 prisoners and horses, besides several killed, but falling back on their infantry my men in turn fell back with a loss of 1 killed. While we did not capture the train, one great object had been accomplished - the detachment of a heavy force to guard their communications. After the above affair only one wagon train ever went up to Hunter, which was still more heavily guarded. He then gave up his line of communication.

After the withdrawal of the enemy's forces from Northern Virginia for several weeks but few opportunities were offered for any successful incursions upon them. Many enterprises on a small scale were, however, undertaken by detachments of the command, of which no note has been taken.

About June 20 moved into Fairfax and routed a body of cavalry near Centerville, killing and wounded 6 or 8 and capturing 31 prisoners, securing their horses, &c.

A few days afterward we took Duffield's Depot, on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad; secured about 50 prisoners, including 2 lieutenants, and a large amount of stores. The train had passed a few minutes before we reached the place. On my way there I had left Lieutenant Nelson, commanding Company A, at Charlestown for the purpose of intercepting and notifying me of any approach in my rear from harper's Ferry. As I had anticipated, a body of cavalry, largely superior in numbers to his force, moved out from that point. Lieutenant Nelson gallantly charged and routed them, killing and wounding several and taking 19 prisoners and 27 horses. We sustained no loss on this expedition.

On July 4, reaching of General Early's movement down the Valley, I moved with my command east of the Blue Ridge for the purpose of co-operating with him, and crossed the Potomac at Point of Rocks,

driving out the garrison (250 men, strongly fortified) and securing several prisoners and horses. As I supposed it to be General Early's intention to invest Maryland Heights, I thought the best service I could render would be to sever all communications both by railroad and telegraph between that point and Washington, which I did, keeping it suspended for two days.

As this was the first occasion on which I had used artillery, the magnitude of the invasion was greatly exaggerated by the fears of the enemy, and panic and alarm spread through their territory. I desire especially to bring to the notice of the commanding general the unsurpassed gallantry displayed by Captain Richards, commanding First Squadron. Our crossing was opposed by a body of infantry stationed on the Maryland shore. Dismounting a number a sharpshooters, whom I directed to wade the river above the point held by the enemy, I superintended in person the placing of my piece of artillery in position, at the same time directing Captain Richards, whenever the enemy had been dislodged by the sharpshooters and artillery, to charge across the river in order to effect their capture. The enemy were soon routed and Captain Richards charged over, but before he could overtake them they had retreated across the canal, pulling up the bridge in their rear. My order had not, of course, contemplated their pursuit their fortifications, but the destruction of the bridge was no obstacle to his impetuous valor, and hastily dismounting and throwing down a few planks on the sills, he charged across under a heavy fire from a redoubt. The enemy fled panic-stricken, leaving in our possession their camps, equipage, &c.

Captain Richards has on this, as well as many other occasions, shown himself worthy to wear the honor bestowed upon him by the Government when, disregarding the rule of seniority, it promoted him for valor and skill to the position whose duties he so ably discharges.
On the morning of July 6, while still encamped near the Potomac, information was received that a considerable force a cavalry was at Leesburg. I immediately hastened to meet them. At Leesburg I learned that they had gone toward Aldie, and I accordingly moved on the road to Ball's Mill in order to intercept them returning to their camp in Fairfax, which I succeeded in doing, meeting them at Mount Zion Church and completely routing them, with a loss of about 80 of their officers and men left dead and severely wounded on the field, besides 57 prisoners. Their loss includes a captain and lieutenant killed, and 1 Lieutenant severely wounded; the major commanding and 2 lieutenants prisoners. We also secured all their horses, arms, &c.

My loss was 1 killed and 6 wounded - none dangerously.

After this affair the enemy never ventured in two months after the experiment of another raid through that portion of our district.

A few days afterward I again crossed the Potomac, in co-operation with General Early, and moved through Poolesville, Md., for the purpose of capturing a body of cavalry encamped near Seneca. They retreated, however, before we reached there, leaving all their camp equipage and a considerable amount of stores. We also captured 30 head of beef-cattle.

When General Early fell back from before Washington I recrossed the Potomac near Seneca, moving thence to the Little River pike in order to protect him from any movement up the south side of the river. The enemy moved through Leesburg in pursuit of General Early and occupied Ashby's and snicker's Gaps. I distributed command so as most effectually to protect the country. These detachments - under Captains Richards and Chapman and Lieutenants Glascock, Nelson, and Hatcher - while they kept the enemy confined to the main thoroughfares and restrained their ravages, killed and captured about 300, securing their horses, &c. My own attention was principally directed to ascertaining the numbers and movements of the enemy and forwarding the information to General Early, who was then in the Valley.

At the time of the second invasion of Maryland by General Early I moved my command to the Potomac, crossed over three companies at Cheek's and Noland's Fords, while the remaining portion was kept in reserve on this side with the artillery, which was posted on the south bank to keep open the fords, keeping one company (B), under Lieutenant Williams, near the ford on the north bank. Two were sent under Lieutenant Nelson to Adamstown, on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, for the purpose of intercepting the train from Baltimore, destroying their communications, &c. Apprehending a movement up the river from a considerable body of cavalry which I knew to be stationed below, I remained with a portion of the command guarding the fords. Lieutenant Nelson reached the road a few minutes too late to capture the train, but destroyed two telegraph lines. On his return he met a force of the enemy's cavalry near Monocacy, which was charged and routed by the gallant Lieutenant Hatcher, who took about 15 men and horses, besides killing and wounding several.
We recrossed the river in the evening, bringing about 75 horses and between 20 and 30 prisoners.

Our loss, 2 missing.*

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Numbers 2. Report of Captain John S. Mosby, Virginia Cavalry.
February 4, 1863.

GENERAL: I arrived in this neigh boyhood about one week ago. Since then I have been, despite the bad weather, quite actively engaged with the enemy. The result up to this time has been the captured of 28 Yankee cavalry, together with all their horses, arms, &c. The evidence of parole I forward with this. I have also paroled a number of deserters. Colonel Sir Percy Wyndham, with over 200 cavalry, came up to Middleburg last week to punish me, as he said, for my raids on his picket line. I had a sling skirmish with him, in which my loss was 3 men, captured by the falling of their horses; the enemy's loss, 1 man and 3 horses captured. He set a very nice trap a few days ago to catch me in. i went into it, but, contrary to the colonel's expectations, brought the trap off with me, killed 1, capturing 12, the balance running. The extent of the annoyance I have been to the Yankees may be judged of by the fact that, baffled in their attempts to capture me, they threaten to retaliate on citizens for my acts.

I forward to you some correspondence I have had on the subject. The most of the infantry have left Fairfax and gone toward Fredericksburg. In Fairfax there are five of six regiments of cavalry; there are about 300 at Dranesville. They are so isolated from the rest of the command that nothing would be easier than their captured. I have harassed them so much that they do not keep their pickets over half a mile from camp.

There is no artillery there. I start on another trip day after to-morrow.

I am, most respectfully, your, &c.,

JANUARY 1, 1864. - Skirmish at Rectortown, Va.
Report of Major John S. Mosby, Forty-third Virginia, Cavalry Battalion.
JANUARY 4, 1864,

MAJOR: I have the honor to report that during the month of December there were captured by this command over 100 horses and mules and about 100 prisoners. A considerable number of the enemy have also been killed and wounded. It would be too tedious to mention the various occasions on which we have met the enemy, but there is one which justice to a brave officer demands to be noticed. On the morning of January 1, I received information that a body of the enemy's cavalry were in Upperville. IT being the day on which my command was to assemble, I directed Captain William R. Smith to take command of the men while I went toward Upperville to ascertain the movements of the enemy. In the mean time the enemy had gone on toward Rectortown, and I pursued, but come up just as Captain Smith with about 35 men had attacked and routed them (78 strong), killing wounded, and capturing 57.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

Numbers 4. Report of Major John S. Mosby, Forty-third Virginia Cavalry Battalion, including skirmish, January 10, at Loudoun Heights.
FEBRUARY 1, 1864.

MAJOR: I have the honor to submit the following reported of the operations of this command since rendering my report of January 4;

On Wednesday, January 6, having previously reconnoitered in person the position of the enemy, I directed Lieutenant Turner, with a detachment of about 30 men, to attack an outpost of the enemy in the vicinity of Warrenton, which he did successfully, routing a superior force of the enemy, killing and wounding several, and capturing 18 prisoners and 45 horses, with arms, equipments, &c.

On Saturday, January 9, having learned through Frank Stringfellow (a scout of General Stuart) that Cole's (Maryland) cavalry was encamped on Loudoun Heights with no support but infantry, which was about one-half mile off, I left Upperville with about 100 men in hopes of being able to completely surprise his camp by a night attack. By marching my command by file along a narrow path I succeeded in gaining a position in rear of the enemy between their camp and the ferry. On reaching this point without creating any alarm I deemed that the crisis had passed and the capture of the camp of the enemy a certainty. I had exact information up to dark of that evening of the number of the enemy (which was between 175 and 200), the position of their headquarters, &c. When within 200 yards of the camp I sent Stringfellow on ahead with about 10 men to capture Major Cole and staff, whose headquarters were in a house about 100 yards from their camp, while I halted to close up my command. The camp was buried in profound sleep; there was not a sentinel awake. All my plans were on the eve of consummation when suddenly the party sent with Stringfellow came dashing over the hill toward the camp yelling and shooting. They had made no attempt to secure Cole. Mistaking them for the enemy, I ordered my men to charge.

In the mean time the enemy had taken the alarm and received us with a volley from their carbines. A severe fight ensued, in which they were driven from their camp, but taking refuge in the surrounding houses kept up a desultory firing. Confusion and delay having ensued from the derangement of my plans, consequent on the alarm given to the enemy, rendered it hazardous, to continue in my position, as re-enforcements were near the enemy. Accordingly I ordered the men to retire, which was done in good order, bringing off 6 prisoners and between 50 and 60 horses.

My loss was severe;more so in the worth than the number of the slain. It was 4 killed, 7 wounded (of whom 4 have since died), and 13 wounded. Among those who fell on this occasion were Captain William R. Smith and Lieutenant Turner, two of the noblest and bravest officers of this army, who thus sealed a life of devotion and of sacrifice to the cause that they loved.

In numerous other affairs with the enemy between 75 and 100 horses and mules have been captured, about 40 men killed, wounded, and captured. A party of this command also threw one of the enemy's trains off the track, causing a great smash-up.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

Numbers 2. Report of Captain John S. Mosby, Virginia Cavalry.
March 18, 1863.

GENERAL: Yesterday I attacked a body of the enemy's cavalry at Herndon Station, in Fairfax County, completely routing them. I brought off 25 prisoners-a major (Wells), 1 captain, 2 lieutenants, and 21 men, all their arms, 26 horses and equipments. One, severely wounded, was left on the ground. The enemy pursued me in force but, were checked by my rear guard, and gave up the pursuit. My loss was nothing.
The enemy have moved their cavalry from Germantown back of Fairfax Court-House, on the Alexandria pike.
In this affair my officers and men behaved splendidly.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,

Numbers 3. Report of Captain John S. Mosby, Virginia Cavalry, including operations March 16-April 1.
FAUQUIER COUNTY, VA., April 7, 1863.

GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the cavalry under my command since rendering my last report:

On Monday, March 16, I proceeded down the Little River pike to capture two outposts of the enemy, each numbering 60 or 70 men. I did not succeed in gaining their rear, as I expected and only captured 4 or 5 vedettes. It being late in the evening, and our horses very much jaded, I concluded to return. I had gone not over a mile back when we saw a large body of the enemy's cavalry, which according to their own reports, numbered 200 men, rapidly pursuing. I feigned a retreat, desiring to draw then off from their camps. At a point where the enemy had blockaded the road with fallen trees I formed to receive them, for with my knowledge of the Yankee character I knew they would imagine themselves fallen into an ambuscade. When they had come within 100 yards of me, I ordered a charge, to which my men responded with a vim that swept everything before them. The Yankees broke when we got within 75 yards of them, and it was more of a chase than a fight for 4 or 5 miles. We killed 5, wounded a considerable number and brought off 1 lieutenant and 35 men prisoners. I did not have over 50 men with me, some having gone back with the prisoners and others having gone on ahead when we started back, not anticipating any pursuit.

On Monday, March 31, I went down in the direction of Dranesville to capture several strong outposts in the vicinity of that place. On reaching there, I discovered that they had fallen back about 10 miles down the Alexandria pike. I then returned 6 or 8 miles back, and stopped about 10 o'clock at night at a point about 2 miles from the pike.

Early the next morning of my men, whom I had left over on the Leesburg pike, came dashing in, and announced the rapid approach of the enemy. But he had scarcely given us the information when the enemy appeared a few hundred yards off, coming up at a gallop. At this time our horses were eating; all had their bridles off, and some even their saddles; they were all tied in a barn-yard. Throwing open the gate, I ordered a counter-charge, to which the men promptly responded. The Yankees, never dreaming of our assuming the offensive, terrified at the yells of the men as they dashed on, broke and fled in every direction. We drove them in confusion 7 or 8 miles down the pike. We left on the field 9 of them killed, among them a captain and lieutenant, and about 15 too badly wounded for removal; in this lot 2 lieutenants. We brought off 82 prisoners, many of these also wounded.

I have since visited the scene of the fight. The enemy sent up a flag of truce for their dead and wounded, but many of them being severely wounded, they established a hospital on the ground. The surgeon who attended them informs me that a great number of those who escaped were wounded.

The force of the enemy was six companies of the First Vermont Cavalry one of their oldest and best regiments, and the prisoners inform me that they had every available man with them. There were certainly not less than 200; the prisoners say it was more than that. I had about 65 men in this affair. In addition to the prisoners, we took all their arms and about 100 horses and equipments.

Privates Hart, Hurst, Keyes, and Davis were wounded. The latter has since died. Both on this and several other occasions they have borne themselves with conspicuous gallantry. In addition those mentioned above, I desire to place on record the names of several others, whose promptitude and boldness in closing in with the enemy contributed much to the success of the fight; they are Lieutenant [William H.] Chapman (late of Dixie Artillery), Sergeant Hunter, and Privates Wellington, and Harry Hatcher, Turner, Wild, Sowers, Ames, and Sibert. There are many others, I have no doubt, deserving of honorable mention, but the above are only those who came under my personal observation.

I confess that on this occasion I had not taken sufficient precautions to guard against surprise. It was 10 [o'clock] at night when I reached the place where the fight came off on the succeeding day. We had ridden through snow and upward of 40 miles, and both men and horses were nearly broken down; besides, the enemy had fallen back a distance of about 18 miles.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Numbers 3. Reported of Lieutenant Colonel John S. Mosby, Forty-third Virginia Cavalry Battalion.
FEBRUARY 21, 1864.

MAJOR: I have the honor to report that about 8 o'clock yesterday morning, on being informed that a large body of the enemy's cavalry were in Upperville, I took immediate steps to be prepared to meet them. The enemy proceeded some distance along the pike toward Piedmont, when they started back. I did all in my power to retard my men time to collect. After getting between 50 and 60 together i attacked them about 12 miles beyond Upperville. A sharp skirmish ensued, in which we repulsed them in three distinct charges and drove their sharpshooters from a very strong position behind a stone wall. They fled in the direction of Harper's Ferry. We pursued them about 2 miles. They were enabled to cover their retreat by means of their numerous carbineers posted behind stone fences. As my men had nothing but pistols, with only a few exceptions, I was compelled to make flank movements in order to dislodge them, which, of course, checked a vigorous pursuit. Citizens who counted the enemy inform me that they numbered 250 men, under command of Major Cole. They left 6 of their dead on the field, among them 1 captain, 1 lieutenant, and 7 men prisoners; also, horses, army equipments, &c. The road over which they retreated was strewn with abandoned hats, haversacks, &c. They left 6 of their dead on the field, among them 1 captain, 1 lieutenant, and 7 men prisoners; also, horses, army equipments, &c. The road over which they retreated was strewn with abandoned hats, haversacks, 7c. They impressed wagons to carry off their wounded.

While all acted well, with but few exceptions, it is a source of great pride to bring to your notice the names of some whose conspicuous gallantry renders their mention both a duty and a pleasure. They are Captain and Lieutenant Chapman, Lieutenants Fox, Richards, Sergeants Palmer, Lavender, and Privates Munson, Edmons, Montjoy, Starke, and Cunningham. My loss was 2 wounded.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

Numbers 2. Report of Lieutenant Colonel John S. Mosby, Forty-third Virginia Cavalry Battalion.
FEBRUARY 23, 1864.

MAJOR: I have the honor to report that about 11 o'clock on the 21st instant, having learned that a body of 180 of the enemy's cavalry were on a raiding expedition in the vicinity of Middleburg, I started in pursuit with about 160 men. On reaching Middleburg I found they had gone toward Leesburg via Mountville, and that they had come from Vienna, in Fairfax. Directing Captains Chapman, whom I left in command, to move down Goose Creek near to Ball's Mill, I went with a small squad to reconnoiter in person. On reaching Leesburg I discovered they had taken the Dranesville pike. After going about 6 miles in this direction they went into camp about 2 o'clock at night.

In the mean time i had ordered my command to Guilford Station, in order to keep pace with their movements and to be in a position to intercept them. After having ascertained where had encamped I moved my command out to the pike about 2 miles from Dranesville, at a point offering fine natural advantages for surprising an enemy. Distributing the different companies in positions where I could attack their front, flank, and rear simultaneously, we awaited the approach of the enemy. Soon the concerted signal-a volley from the carbineers under Montjoy--announced the time for attack. With a terrific yell, Chapman, Hunter, and Williams, with their brave commands, dashed on the unsuspecting Yankees. Surprised and confounded, with no time to form, they made but feeble resistance, and were perfectly overwhelmed by the shock of the charge. They fled in every direction in the wildest confusion, leaving on the field at least 15 killed and a considerable number wounded, besides 70 prisoners in our hands, with all their horses, arms, and equipments. Among their killed was the captain commanding. A captain and 2 lieutenants are among the prisoners, who belong to the California Battalion. Many of them were also driven into the Potomac. The gallantry of both my officers and men was unsurpassed.

My loss was 1 man killed and 4 wounded; none dangerously.

My thanks are due Captain Chapman and Lieutenants Williams and Hunter and Adjutant Chapman for their fidelity in executing every order.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

OCTOBER 26, 1863.-Attack on Union Wagon Train near New Baltimore, Va.
Report of Major John S. Mosby, C. S. Army.
FAUQUIER COUNTY, October 27, 1863.

GENERAL: Last night I attacked a long wagon train of the enemy, hauling stores for the army at Warrenton from their depot of supplies at Gainesville. The point of attack was about the center of the train (which had a heavy guard of cavalry, artillery, and infantry both in front and rear), on the pike, about 2 miles from New Baltimore and Warrenton, where there are large Yankee camps

After unhitching the teams of from 40 to 50 wagons, I started them off under charge of Lieutenant Turner, remaining behind himself with a few men with the intention of burning the wagons. A force of Federal cavalry appearing, prevented the accomplishment of my purpose. We succeeded in bringing off 145 horses and mules, and upward of 30 negroes and Yankees (among them 1 captain), to a place of safety. Many of the captured animals were lost on the night march, but I have sent out a party which I am in hopes will succeed in recovering some of them. I sent over to you yesterday 6 cavalry-men whom I captured near Manassas. In the affair of the wagons I had 50 men.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

NOVEMBER 5-22, 1863.-Mosby's Operations in Virginia.
Report of Major John S. Mosby, commanding Forty-third Virginia Cavalry Battalion.


GENERAL: Since rendering my report of the 5th instant, we have captured about 75 of the enemy's cavalry, over 100 horses and mules, 6 wagons, a considerable number of arms, equipments, &c.

It would be too tedious to mention in detail the various the performance of a pleasing duty if I failed to bring to your notice the bold onset of Captain Smith, when, with only about 40 men, he dashed into the enemy's camp of 150 cavalry, near Warrenton, killed some 8 or 10, wounded a number, and brought off 9 prisoners, 27 horses, arms, equipments, &c. In various other affairs several of the enemy have been killed and wounded. I have sustained no loss. Captain Chapman and Lieutenant Turner, commanding their respective companies, have rendered efficient services.

Gregg's cavalry division now guards their rear, being distributed along the road leading from Bealeton to Warrenton, and thence to the Sulphur Springs. It is very difficult to do anything on the railroad as they have sentinels stationed all along of each other, in addition to the guards on each train. Rest assured that if there is any chance of effecting anything there, it will be done.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

No. 3. Reports of Major John S. Mosby, C. S. Army.
July 28, 1863.

GENERAL: I send you, in charge of Sergeant [F.] Beattie, 141 prisoners, which we captured from the enemy during their march through this county. I also sent off 45 several days ago; included in the number, 1 major, a captain, a surgeon, and 2 lieutenants. I also captured 123 horses and mules, 12 wagons (only 3 of which I was able to destroy), 50 sets of fine harness, arms, &c.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,

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