Left camp with 668 rank and file, 29 field and company officers, in pursuance of General McDowell’s orders, to go upon this expedition with the available force of one of my regiments, the regiment selected being the First Ohio Volunteers. Left two companies-Company I and Company K, aggregate 135 men-at the crossing of the roads. Sent Lieutenant-Colonel Parrott, with two companies, 117 men, to Falls Church, and to patrol roads in that direction. Stationed two companies-D and F, 135 men-to guard railroad and bridge between the crossing and Vienna. Proceeded slowly to Vienna with four companies-Company E, Captain Paddock; Company C, Lieutenant Woodward, afterwards joined by Captain Pease; Company G, Captain Bailey; Company H, Hazlett; total, 271 men.
On turning the curve slowly, within one-quarter of a mile of Vienna, were fired upon by raking masked batteries of, I think, three guns, with shells, round-shot, and grape, killing and wounding the men on the platform and in the cars before the train could be stopped. When the train stopped, the engineer could not on account of damage to some part of the running machinery, draw the train out of the fire, the engine being in the rear. We left the cars, and retired to right and left of train through the woods. Finding that the enemy’s batteries were sustained by what
appeared about a regiment of infantry and by cavalry which force we have since understood to have been some fifteen hundred South Carolinians, we fell back along the railroad, throwing out skirmishers on both flanks; and this was about 7 p.m. Thus we retired slowly, bearing off our wounded, five miles, to this point, which we reached at 10 o’clock.
Casualties.- Captain Hazlett’s company, H, 2 known to be killed, 3 wounded, 5 missing; Captain Bailey’s company, G, 3 killed, 2 wounded, 2 missing; Captain Paddock’s company, E, 1 officer slightly wounded; Captain Pease’s, 2 missing.
The engineer,when the men left the cars, instead of retiring slowly, as I ordered, detached his engine with one passenger car from the rest of the disabled train and abandoned us, running to Alexandria, and we have heard nothing from him since. Thus we deprived of a rallying point, and of all means of conveying the wounded, who had to be carried on litters and in blankets. We wait here, holding the roads for re-enforcements. The enemy did not pursue.
I have ascertained that the enemy’s force at Fairfax Court-House, four miles from Vienna, is now about four thousand.
When the batteries opened upon us, Major Hughes was at his station on the foremost platform car. Colonel McCook was with me in one of the passenger cars. Both these officers, with others of the commissioned officers and many of the men, behaved most coolly under this galling fire, which we could not return, and from batteries which we could not flank or turn from the nature of the ground, if my force had been sufficient. The approach to Vienna is through a deep, long cut in the railway. In leaving the cars, and before they could rally, many of my men lost haversacks or blankets, but brought off all their muskets, except, it may be, a few that were destroyed by the enemy’s first fire or lost with the killed.
ROBT. C. SCHENCK,
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.