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Colonel Joseph Snider at Medley

"SIR : In obedience to your orders I started in command of the escort to supply train for the garrison at Petersburg on Friday, January 29, 1864.

On the next morning I received dispatch from Colonel Thoburn requesting me to hurry up the train, stating also that the Twenty-third Illinois Regiment was at the Moorefield Junction. Later in the day couriers came back with request from Lieutenant-Colonel Quirk to push forward the train. The train was moved forward with all possible speed, and proceeded unmolested until we arrived at Medley, 2 1/2 miles below the Moorefield Junction, when I met Lieutenant-Colonel Quirk, commanding Twenty-third Illinois, falling back before the advance of the enemy. Being the ranking officer present, I assumed command of the forces, and immediately formed line of battle on the right of the road, the Twenty-third Illinois, Lieutenant-Colonel Quirk, occupying the left, a detachment of the Second Maryland the center, four companies of the Fourth West Virginia Cavalry occupying the right. Two companies of the Fourth were placed in position on our right flank; also a detachment of the Ringgold Battalion, Lieutenant Speer, to prevent, if possible, a flank movement by the enemy, which I plainly saw was their object. Two companies of the Fourth were ordered to take position on our left flank, to prevent a similar movement by the enemy and the two remaining companies of the Fourth were placed in rear of the center, to be used as the exigencies of the engagement might demand. I had scarcely got my command in position when the enemy opened upon us with two pieces of artillery, their infantry advancing at the same time, which was met by a galling fire from my front, and caused them to fall back. Thrice they attempted the same thing with the same results.

During the engagement in front the enemy was extending their flanks, either of which line--front, right, or left--was longer than my entire command. At this crisis I ordered the train to be turned and started back, but to my great mortification two of the train-masters had fled and all the teamsters with few exceptions.

The position of my command was becoming perilous. I discovered that the train must be abandoned in order to save my command from capture, I then ordered my men to fall back to an elevation, where we reformed line of battle, giving the enemy several volleys, which checked their advance. Having foiled the enemy in their designs as long as it was possible for my little command to do so, having fought against great odds for one hour and twenty minutes, to save my command from capture I was compelled to order a retreat, which I did, my command leaving the field slowly and in line of battle.

My entire loss, killed, wounded, and missing, is as follows : Maj. N. Goff, jr.. Fourth West Virginia Cavalry, captured (horse shot, fell on his leg, could not extricate himself) : Lieutenant Elliot, slightly wounded. Privates killed, 5 ; wounded, 34 ; missing, 35. I am confident the enemy's loss was much greater than ours. From information received since the engagement I am justified in saying that the rebel force consisted of Rosser's command of Early's corps, with five pieces of artillery.

A large proportion of the officers and men behaved admirably. It would be invidious to make distinctions, but I cannot omit to mention the name of Captain Pease, of your staff, who rendered me such valuable assistance during the entire engagement. I especially recommend him for favorable consideration.

My report having been delayed for days waiting for report of the extent of loss in horses, mules, and wagons, and not yet received, I have thought it prudent to send in this report without it."

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