Friday, July 1, 2011

July 2, 1861 (Tuesday): Jackson's Men See First Combat

William N. Pendleton

                    Report of Col. T. J. Jackson, C. S. Army, Commanding First Brigade

                                                            HEADQUARTERS FIRST BRIGADE
                                                                        Darkesville, July 3, 1861

    COLONEL:  About 7 ½ a.m. yesterday I received a note at Camp Stephens from Lieut. Col. J. E. B. Stuart, of the Virginia Cavalry, to the effect that the Federal troops were four and one-half miles in advance.  Having received instructions from you not to fall back unless the enemy were in force, but having assured myself of his being in force to retire under cover of our cavalry, I immediately ordered forward Colonel Harper’s regiment and Captain Pendleton’s Battery, and gave the necessary instructions for moving the baggage to the rear should it be necessary, and for advancing other regiments should it be desirable; Colonel Gordon being instructed to guard the baggage.  After advancing a short distance I left three pieces of the battery.  On reaching the vicinity of Falling Waters I found Federal troops in the position indicated by Colonel Stuart.  I directed Colonel Harper to deploy two of his companies, under command of Major Baylor, to the right.  The enemy soon advanced, also deployed, and opened their fire, which was returned by our skirmishers with such effect as to force those of the enemy back on their reserve.  From a house and barn which we took possession of an apparently deadly fire was poured on the advancing foe until our position was being turned, when, in obedience to my instructions, Colonel Harper gradually fell back.  Soon the enemy opened with his artillery, which Captain Pendleton, after occupying a good position in rear and waiting until the advance sufficiently crowded the road in front, replied to with a solid shot, which entirely cleared the road in front.
     Having ordered the quartermaster, Maj. John A. Harman, to move the baggage to the rear, as I had satisfied myself that the enemy were in force, and that my orders required me to retire, I continued to fall back, checking the Federal forces, who were advancing through the fields in line and through the woods as skirmishers, endeavoring to flank me.  Colonel Allen’s regiment, and also Colonel Preston’s, in obedience to orders from me, advanced to support Colonel Harper, if necessary, and once Colonel Allen’s took a position for the purpose of checking the advance, but it was not brought into action, as my purposes were accomplished without it.
    Previous to my arrival at the position where the skirmishing commenced, Colonel Stuart, leaving Captain White with his company to watch the enemy, had with the rest of his command moved forward for the purpose of turning the right flank of the enemy, and if practicable capturing his advance.  Fearing lest Colonel Stuart should be cut off, I sent a message to him that I would make a stand about one and a half miles in advance of Martinsburg, where I requested him to join me.  Soon after I had posted my infantry and artillery Colonel Stuart joined me.  The enemy halted at Camp Stephens for the night.  Leaving Colonel Stuart in advance of Martinsburg, I encamped tow and a half miles this side, at Big Spring, where I remained until I received our order this morning to join you at this place.  Only one regiment and one piece of artillery of my command were brought into action.
….Colonel Stuart reports his capture of an entire company (the Fifteenth Pennsylvania Volunteers), with the exception of the captain.  Three, resisting, were killed….
     Colonel Stuart and his command merit high praise, and I may here remark that he has exhibited those qualities which are calculated to make him eminent in his arm of the service. 
     Among the reasons which induced me to advance on the enemy may be mentioned a desire to capture him should his strength not exceed a few hundred, and should he appear in force, to hold him in check until the baggage wagons should be loaded and move in column to the rear.  Great credit is due to the officers and men for the admirable manner in which they discharged their respective duties.
    I am, colonel, your obedient servant,
                                                                                    T. J. JACKSON,
                                                            Colonel, Virginia Volunteers, Commanding

Lieu. Col. E. K. Smith,
            Assistant, Adjutant-General, C. S. Army

Falling Waters was Jackson’s first combat of the war and the first collaboration with J. E. B. Stuart.  Other familiar names turn up in the report including Pendelton, Baylor, Harmon, and Allen all of whom will feature prominently in Jackson’s command.  His opponent, Patterson, had crossed the Potomac at Williamsport and took the main road to Martinsburg, colliding with Jackson’s troops at Hoke’s Run. (Along what is now Highway 81).  Each side reported estimates of the enemy’s casualties but were unclear on their own.  Stuart’s captives, close to fifty in number, were the largest body of losses on either side.

Here is a link to the Falling Waters Battlefield Association:

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