Report of Col. Thomas L. Kane, First Pennsylvania Reserve Rifles
DECEMBER 20, 1861.---Engagement at Dranesville, Va.
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME 5 [S# 5]
HDQRS. KANE RIFLE REGT., FIRST PA. RES. RIFLES,
Camp Peirpoint, December 21, 1861.
Brig. Gen. E. O. C. ORD
GENERAL: Acknowledging the honor of your orders of December 21, I think I may limit my report to an explanation of my conduct at the commencement of the action before your own welcome appearance upon the scene to push on the fight and inspirit and direct the brave by your personal example and exertions.
We were not quite through with scouring the woods south of Creppin's, under your first orders, when your aide-de-camp brought the order to return to Dranesville. A party who sought me privately in the absence of the guide (Mr. Hanna) had informed me of suspicious circumstances, which I desired to report to you. I therefore marched to Dranesville very rapidly. It was from the first high ground north of the turnpike fork that I first saw men in motion south and southeast of the village, where there seemed to be no reason to look for the presence of our own forces. Soon after a Confederate flag was displayed, and as we opened in sight a few shots were fired. Others of the enemy also at the same time appeared in view from the edge of the woods on our extreme left. Being fortunately familiar with the ground, I saw at once the importance of occupying the hill on which the brick house stands, which was occupied in October as the headquarters of General McCall, and reaching it before the enemy. My men, obeying the double-quick with spirit, were formed there in line of battle by the time the enemy's guns opened from the road. As soon as I conveniently could I sent my adjutant to you and our brave commander. I believe, sir, you were both good enough to approve of my course in taking this position. The enemy's opinion of its value was shown by the effort to turn it afterwards. You saw the rest. The Bucktails will not forget you.
Of my own officers and the men I love I am too proud to say more than that they all, without an exception, did their duty; but it is my place to mention the courage of Captain Ent during the brief period when you were good enough to place the Sixth under my command. I cannot consider it out of place, either, for me to bear my own testimony to the admirable conduct of Captain Easton and the brave artillerists with him, who served the guns of Battery A, from the regiment of the gallant Charles T. Campbell.
I inclose a copy of the report of Dr. S. D. Freeman, regimental surgeon, showing a list of 3 killed and 27 wounded. I trust the life of Captain Niles will be spared to his friends and his country. He led the flankers on the left yesterday, and though his tall figure made him a conspicuous mark for the enemy's rifles, he did not cease exposing himself to cheer on his men until he fell. This was but little before the enemy retired.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
THOMAS L. KANE.
Source: "Official Records of the War of the Rebellion
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