Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Battle of Dranesville - Part Five

Here is a reprint of General Ord's orders received on December 19th. They are reprinted from the Original Record.

HEADQUARTERS MCCALL'S DIVISION,Camp Pierpoint, Va., December 19, 1861.
Brig. Gen. E. O. C. ORD, Commanding Third Brigade.

GENERAL: You will please move in command of your brigade at 6 a.m. to-morrow, on the Leesburg pike, in the direction of Dranesville. The First Rifles, Pennsylvania Reserves, Lieutenant-Colonel Kane, have been ordered to form right in front on the pike near Commodore Jones' house and await your arrival, when the commanding officer will report to you for further orders. Captain Easton's battery has been directed to form on the left of the Rifles. The captain will report to you for orders. Two squadrons of cavalry will also be placed under your command. The senior officer will report to you this evening for orders. Sherman, the guide, will likewise report to you for duty.

The object of this expedition is twofold: In the first place, to drive back the enemy's pickets, which have recently advanced within 4 or 5 miles of our lines (leaving a force of about 70 cavalry at Henderson's), and carried off two good Union men, and threatened others; and, secondly, to procure a supply of forage.

It has to-day been reported to me that there is a force of about 100 cavalry lying between Dranesville and the river. This force might be captured or routed by sending a regiment of infantry up the pike beyond their position, to strike their rear by a flank movement to the right, while your disposable cavalry, after picketing the cross-roads near Dickey's, might move near the river, and attack them in front or on the left. Should you not arrive at Dickey's in time to make this movement and leave the ground on you return before nightfall, it must not be undertaken, as I do not wish any part of your command to remain out over night.

The forage will be procured at Gunnell's or at some other rank secessionist's in the neighborhood of Dickey's. Direct your quartermaster to confine the selection of forage to corn and hay. Captain Hall will have charge of the wagon train. The regiment intended to move forward from Dickey's (if you think proper, Jackson's) might ride in the wagons as far as Dickey's, and then be fresh for the forward movement..

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,GEO. A. McCALL, Brigadier-General General, Commanding-Division.

Now coincidences do happen in life. Yet, I find it suspect that both the Union army and Stuart are ordered to Dranesville, at the same time, to collect forage. Now, it could happen, and that possibility must be noted.

But, to me, it strengthens the entries made in J.B. Jones' diary. Stuart was betrayed by Union sympathizers recently released from custody by General Winder.

McCall was in contact with someone (unnamed and implied) who gave him the position and strength of Confederate pickets. These seem to be the same pickets that, once driven in, did not report the presence of Union troops to Stuart.

Now, let's look at General Ord's report of the battle.