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Posted By: Doug Polaski on: 11/10/2007 11:08:10 EDT
Subject: RE: Longstreet's Signal Officer

Message Detail:

Early the next morning (September 1) we moved forward, and late in the evening, after reaching Ox Hill, came in contact with the enemy, who were in position on our right and front, covering his line of retreat from Centreville to Fairfax Court-House. Our line of battle was formed, General Hill's division on the right, Ewell's division, General Lawton commanding, in the center, and Jackson's division, General Starke commanding, on the left, all on the right of the turnpike road. Artillery was posted on an eminence to the left of the road. The brigades of Branch and Field, Col. [J. M.] Brockenbrough commanding the latter, were sent forward to feel and engage the enemy. A cold and drenching thunder-shower swept over the field at this time, striking directly into the faces of our troops. These two brigades gallantly engaged the enemy, but so severe was the fire in front and flank of Branch's brigade as to produce in it some disorder and falling back. The brigades of Gregg, Thomas, and Pender were then thrown into the fight. Soon a portion of Ewell's division became engaged. The conflict now raged with great fury, the enemy obstinately and desperately contesting the ground until their generals (Kearny and Stevens) fell in front of Thomas' brigade, after which they retired from the field. By the following morning the Federal Army had entirely disappeared from our view, and it soon appeared, by a report from General Stuart, that it had passed Fairfax Court-House and had moved in the direction of Washington City.

On September 3 we left Ox Hill, taking the road by Dranesville and Leesburg, and on the 4th bivouacked near the Big Spring between Leesburg and the Potomac.

The official reports of the casualties of my command in its operations from the Rappahannock to the Potomac will show a loss of 75 officers killed and 273 wounded 730 non-commissioned officers and privates killed, 3,274 wounded. and 35 missing, making a total loss of 4,387.

Col. S. Crutchfield, chief of artillery, discharged his duties well. The conduct of officers and men during the various engagements described was such as to entitle them to great praise. The wounded were skillfully cared for by medical director Dr. Hunter McGuire.

In the transmission of orders I was greatly assisted during the expedition by the following members of my staff: Col. A. Smead, assistant inspector-general; Maj. E. F. Paxton, acting assistant adjutant-general; Capt. R. E. Wilbourn, chief signal officer; First Lieut. H. K. Douglas, assistant inspector-general; First Lieut. J. G. Morrison, aide-de-camp, and Col. William L. Jackson, volunteer aide-decamp. Captain Wilbourn was so severely wounded at the battle of Groveton as to be unable to go farther with the army. The ordnance, quartermaster's, and commissary departments were well managed by their respective chiefs, Majs. G. H. Bier, J. A. Harman, and W. J. Hawks.

For further information respecting the detailed movements of troops and the conduct of individuals I would respectfully refer you to the accompanying reports. For these great and signal victories our sincere and humble thanks are due unto Almighty God. We should in all things acknowledge the hand of Him who reigns in heaven and rules among the armies of men. In view of the arduous labors and great privations the troops were called to endure and the isolated and perilous position which the command occupied while engaged with greatly-superior numbers of the enemy we can but express the grateful conviction of our mind that God was with us and gave to us the victory, and unto His holy name be the praise.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Lieutenant. General.

Who really was his CSO.

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