Series 1, Volume 27, part 2, pp. 204-205
Report of Brig. Gen. Henry M. Naglee, U. S. Army, of skirmish near Harper’s Ferry, W. Va.
Harpers Ferry, W. Va., July 16, 1863.
Sir: I would respectfully report that on the afternoon of the 14th instant, after occupying the intrenchments near Harper’s Ferry, and the pontoon bridge had been constructed, I ordered Major Farnsworth, of the First Connecticut Cavalry, with 50 of his men, to picket the roads loading from the Ferry, and to ascertain whether any of the rebel cavalry were upon these roads, within 2 or 3 miles of the intrenchments. Discovering some of the cavalry of the enemy some 4 miles from Harper’s Ferry, an effort was made to cut off their pickets, amounting to some 15 or 20 men, which was successful; but in an effort to capture another picket, Major Farnsworth allowed his men to pursue so far as to find himself surrounded by the rebel reserve who succeeded in capturing Major Farnsworth, with 24 of his men, and liberating a portion of the prisoners he had taken. The affair resulted in the capture of Col. A. W. Harman (wounded), Twelfth Virginia Cavalry; Capt. M. J. Grandin, Thirty-third Virginia Infantry; Lieut. Jackson Eastham, Twelfth Virginia Cavalry, and 4 privates, and in wounding several of the enemy.
We lost Maj. Charles Farnsworth and 24 men, made prisoners by the enemy.
Very respectfully, & c.,
Henry M. Naglee,
General S. Williams,
Adjutant-General, Army of the Potomac.
Report of Capt. Erastus Blakeslee, First Connecticut Cavalry, of skirmish near Harper’s Ferry, W. Va.
Headquarters First Connecticut Cavalry,
Maryland Heights, July 18, 1863.
General: I have the honor to report as follows in regard to a skirmish in which the First Connecticut Cavalry were engaged, on the 14th instant:
Major Farnsworth, myself, and 50 men crossed the Potomac, by order of General Naglee, to reconnoiter the enemy’s position beyond Bolivar Heights, and to ascertain their strength. About 2 miles from Harper’s Ferry, the advance guard, 18 men, under myself, charged upon the pickets of the enemy, numbering about 30, and drove them in confusion back upon their reserve. Major Farnsworth coming up, now charged upon the whole reserve of the enemy, about 200 strong. The enemy also charged, and it became a fierce hand-to-hand fight, in which, owing to the disparity of our numbers, they repulsed us, rescued several prisoners whom we had previously taken, and, I am sorry to add, captured Major Farnsworth and 24 men. The major’s horse was shot under him, and he fought most gallantly on foot with his saber until he was overpowered and taken prisoner. I took command of the remainder of our men, and fell back, bringing with me 1 captain, 1 second lieutenant, and 2 privates, all of whom were captured by the advance in their first charge upon the picket, in which we also shot several horses and wounded the colonel of the Twelfth Virginia Cavalry, so that he was afterward found and brought in a prisoner.
First Sergt. Allen F. Phillips, Company A, deserves especial mention for his courage and good conduct in the affair.
I am, sir, most respectfully and truly, your obedient servant,
Commanding First Connecticut Cavalry.
[General H. M. Naglee.]
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: July 1863