Report of Col. John S. McCalmont, Tenth Pennsylvania Reserve Infantry
DECEMBER 20, 1861.---Engagement at Dranesville, Va.
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME 5 [S# 5]
HDQRS. TENTH REGIMENT PENNSYLVANIA RESERVES,
THIRD BRIGADE, MCCALL'S DIVISION,
Camp Peirpoint, December 21, 1861.
Lieut. S. B. SMITH,
A. A. A. G., Hdqrs. Third Brigade, McCall's Division.
SIR: I have the honor to report the part that the Tenth took in the engagement of Dranesville yesterday.
Two of my companies were on outer picket, and ordered to remain; three were detailed to cover and furnish fatigue party for the division quartermaster, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Kirk. A platoon of skirmishers remained by mistake with the foraging party. With the remaining four companies and a platoon I marchcd in advance of the Sixth and Twelfth to Dranesville, where we had been preceded by the advance of the brigade. At Dranesville, after a short halt, we received orders to return, as the object of the reconnaissance was accomplished. Immediately thereafter the general of brigade informed us that the pickets of the Ninth had been driven in on our right. At the same time there was firing on the left of the line. The general having moved the battery to the left, ordered me to flank the column and take position on the left of the battery, under cover. In marching we passed through the field directly in rear of our battery, which had commenced unlimbering under a smart and direct fire from the enemy's guns. We took our position near the battery in a growth of cedars on its left.
Being so posted, under orders from the general, I detached Captain McConnell, with his platoon, as skirmishers, to approach the cannoneers of the enemy, and see if the enemy was endeavoring to turn our left. I believe this order was in all respects coolly, gallantly, and effectively obeyed. I inclose herewith the captain's report. He soon sent me word that the enemy had broken under the fire of artillery and musketry on the right, mostly in a southerly direction. The affair was soon over.
The general then gave me orders to flank and support the Bucktails and Twelfth, which were in pursuit. While doing so we observed some of the enemy's wounded, whom I directed the attendants to remove to the brick house close by. A number of the enemy's rifles, muskets, caps, overcoats, &c., were picked up by the hospital attendants and servants. After this we were ordered to take position south of Dranesville. It was reported to me by an officer of the Ninth that they had observed from the hill where they were posted after their gallant conflict a white flag south of us at a house. Major Allen led a small party to ascertain, but found none but female inmates, one of whom had appeared with a white head dress, which occasioned the mistake.
Our skirmishers observed wagon and horse and foot tracks through the fields leading south of Dranesville, and on all the by-roads, of which there are quite a number in that vicinity. They reported that one horse had leaped quite a high fence, but I did not inquire in which direction, as such incidents merely afford the men amusement after the fatigue of the day. We were recalled to take our position in line on the road, preparatory to marching back to camp.
Under circumstances new to nearly if not quite all of this regiment, it behaved well, and I believe obeyed with spirit every order. I have occasion to be thankfull that I have the honor to report none killed, wounded, or missing. The men doubtless wished to seal their devotion to the Union and their confidence in their generals with their wounds. If the rebellion continues, they will likely have other opportunities.
I have the honor to be, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN S. McCALMONT,
Colonel, Commanding Regiment.
Source: "Official Records of the War of the Rebellion
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