Sunday, August 14, 2011

August 18, 1861 (Sunday): A Cavalry Clash at Pohick Church

Pohick Church, Lorton, Virginia

                                    Report of Brig. Gen. William B. Franklin, U. S. Army

   The company of Lincoln [First New York] Cavalry sent out this morning met a party of the enemy’s cavalry at Pohick Church, about 12 miles from her, numbering about 20.  They charged the enemy, scattered them in all directions, and wounded two ofthem.  One of our men was killed, and 2 are missing, who were thrown from their horses.
   The enemy’s horses far outstripped ours, so that no prisoners could be made.  I have learned nothing definite about Springfield.  Our scouts were 1 ½ miles from there last night.  Saw their pickets; so there is not doubt that they are there.  General Kearny thinks the force there is a variable one.  So report his scouts.
                                                                                      W. B. FRANKLIN,
                                                                                    Brigadier-General, Commanding.
Maj. S. Williams

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 5, Page 113.

The Confederates still moved about the area between the Manassas Line and Alexandria and both sides scouted to determine where the enemy was located.  In this case, Franklin had sent troops to determine what force occupied Springfield.  The action was small, and confused, with the Union cavalry getting almost to the church but retreating rapidly (and without orders) after encountering a small force they believed much larger.  The officers regrouped the scouting party and moved back to the church, being fired on by well concealed Confederates.  Ultimately, the Southerners left on three adjacent roads, taking light casualties.  The advantage of horse flesh the South enjoyed was coupled with more experience with horses, but as the war would move into its last two years those advantages would diminish rapidly.

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