CUMBERLAND, June 27, .
General McCLELLAN: I have been accustomed to sending my mounted pickets (thirteen men in all) to different along the several approaches to Cumberland. Finding it next to impossible to get reliable information of the enemy yesterday, I united the thirteen, and directed them, if possible, to get to Frankfort, a town midway, between this place and Romney, and see if there were rebel troops there. They went within a quarter of a mile of the place, and found it full of cavalry. Returning,they overtook forty-one horsemen, and at once charged them routing and driving them back more than a mile, killing eight of them, and securing seventeen horses. Corporal Hayes, in command of my men, desperately wounded with saber cuts and bullets. Taking him back, they halted about an hour, and were then attacked by the enemy, who were re-enforced to about seventy-five men. The attack was so sudden that they abandoned the horses, and crossed to a small island at the mouth of Patterson’s Creek. The charge of the rebels was hold and confident, yet twenty-three fell under the fire of my picket close about and on the island. My fellows were finally driven off, scattering, each man for himself, and they are all in camp now, one, Corporal Hayes, of Company A, wounded, but recovering; one, John C. Hollinbeck, of Company B, dead. The last was taken prisoner and brutally murdered.
Three companies went to the ground this morning, and recovered everything belonging to my picket except a few of the horses. The enemy were engaged all night long in boxing up their dead. Two of their officer were killed. They laid out twenty-three on the porch of a neighboring farm house. I will bury my poor fellow to-morrow.
I have positive information, gained to-day, that there are four regiments of rebels in and about Romney, under a Colonel McDonald. What their particular object is I cannot learn. The two Pennsylvania regiments are in encampment at the State line, about nine miles from here, waiting further orders. They have not yet reported to me. They hesitate about invading Maryland.
The report of the skirmish sounds like fiction, but it is not exaggerated. The fight was really one of the most desperate on record, and abounds with instances of wonderful daring and coolness.
Colonel Eleventh Regiment Indiana Volunteers.
GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series I, Vol. II. With additions and corrections. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1902.