Skirmish at Hurricane Bridge

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Washington: GPO, 1897. Series I, Vol. 51, pt. 1, p. 176.

MARCH 28, 1863. - Skirmish at Hurricane Bridge, W. Va.

Report of Capt. James W. Johnson, Thirteenth West Virginia Infantry.

HURRICANE BRIDGE, VA., April 3, 1863.

SIR: I have the honor to make the following report of the assault made on this post by the rebel General Jenkins and his command on the 28th instant [ultimo]:

About 6 o'clock in the morning of the 28th instant [ultimo] our pickets brought in a flag of truce, with the following note from Jenkins:

HURRICANE BRIDGE, VA., April [March] 28, 1863.

Colonel BROWN,
Commanding Thirteenth Regiment U. S. Volunteers, Hurricane Bridge:

COLONEL: I have now an overwhelming force so disposed as to completely surround you and cut off your retreat. A humane desire to avert the loss of life induces me to demand your surrender. In the event of your compliance, and the surrender in good faith of all forces under your command, they shall receive the treatment warranted by the usages of war, and both officers and men will be paroled. Twenty minutes will be allowed, for the consideration of this note and to return a reply.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Brigadier-General, C. S. Army.

Upon the receipt of the above note I immediately sent in reply that I should not surrender the forces under my command unless forced to do so by an exhibition of his boasted strength, and immediately set about making the best possible disposition of the limited forces under my command. In fifteen minutes we were ready for action. All our available forces, numbering about 150 effective men, were drawn up inside our fortifications, when the enemy appeared in force and opened a furious fire upon us simultaneously on three sides from as many different hills, owing to the high elevation of which and the unfinished condition of our works, exposed our men to a most galling cross fire, which they withstood and returned with the firmness of veterans. The enemy's sharpshooters, posted on the adjacent heights and armed with globe-sighted rifles, were constantly endeavoring to pick off officers and men. After about five hours' brisk and animated firing from both sides the enemy sullenly withdrew his forces, leaving a few of his wounded, who fell into our hands, from whom we have learned that the enemy's force engaged did not number less than 500 men. Our loss was 3 killed and 4 wounded, one of whom has since died. To both officers and men I return my most sincere thanks for the bravery and gallantry displayed during the engagement. Where so many heroic deeds were performed it would be unjust to mention individual acts of gallantry. It is enough to say that all behaved in the most noble and gallant manner.

I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully,

Captain, Comdg. Detachment Thirteenth Regt. Virginia Vol. Infty.

Col. W. R. BROWN,
Commanding Thirteenth Virginia Volunteer Infantry.

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