Sunday, September 4, 2011

September 4, 1861 (Thursday): Skirmish at Great Falls

Dickey's Inn (Great Falls Historical Society)

Report of Brig. Gen. George A. McCall, U. S. Army.

Camp Tennally, September 5, 1861.

   GENERAL:  In relation to my command, I have the honor to report that the enemy having opened fire on the Seventh Infantry of this brigade at Great Falls at 8.30 a.m. yesterday, with two 24-pound howitzers and three rifle cannon, it was ascertained that our guns did not reach their position (the intrenchment in rear of Dickey's house, already reported), and Colonel Harvey having reported these facts to me, I immediately sent forward two rifle cannon and the Eighth Infantry to support the Seventh, but afterwards recalled the Eight, as instructed.  At 1 o'clock, however, the Eight was again put in motion.  I afterwards learned that the enemy, after throwing about 50 shells and shot, mostly too high, ceased firing at 11 a.m., which up to 5 p.m. had not been resumed.  I have as yet received no report of later date.  My brigade was kept ready to move during the day and night.
   The work on the redoubt will probably be finished to-day.  One gun is mounted, and should the pintles arrive today I hope to have them all mounted.  Will you please order a 20-pounder rifle gun for this work.
   Colonel Campbell desires that two companies of his regiment of artillery now encamped in rear of the Capitol be sent here, as we have ample drill ground, and I rather approve his request, as the Sixth Regiment, recently removed from that camp, has suffered greatly from typhoid fever, no doubt contracted there.
   Since the above was written I have received Colonel Harvey's report up to 7 a.m. He had received two rifle guns from General Banks besides those I sent.  The enemy had thrown up another small earthwork, but had not opened upon our position since 11 a.m. yesterday.
    With great respect, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, Commanding, &c.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 5, page 128

 It is doubtful much purpose existed in the shelling, but proximity of forces often brought about such small unit actions during the war.

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