Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 02.djvu/151
General R. E. Rodes' Report of the Battle of Gettysburg.
which had already opened; Ramseur on the left, Doles and Iverson in the centre, Daniel in reserve. Before these preparations had been completed, however, the enemy's battery had been nearly silenced; and fearing he would retreat, I ordered Ramseur's brigade, and each of the others in turn, to advance with speed upon the enemy's position.
Notwithstanding their fatiguing march, the troops exhibited great enthusiasm, and rapidly occupied the town and the enemy's position. Ramseur's brigade, being in the lead, pursued the enemy at almost a run for two miles beyond the town, but quick as it was, the dismounted cavalry and a squadron or two on horseback, under General Jenkins, were ahead of them, and after a few shots, compelled the enemy to abandon all his guns, with perhaps one exception. Five of his pieces, with their caissons and most of their horses, were thus captured. Nothing was seen of the Federal infantry after the attack began, nor was it known, for some hours after their retreat, that it escaped by the Shepherdstown road, whilst the cavalry and artillery fled by way of Williamsport. This latter fact, together with the darkness, prevented the cavalry from discovering that the force had divided. Could the division have reached the town an hour or two earlier, thus giving me time to seize the principal roads leading into Martinsburg, I feel certain that I would have captured the whole force. Under the circumstances, however, nothing was proper except a direct attack, as to have awaited daylight would have lost to us all the artillery and the stores, which we secured by moving ahead without delay. General Jenkins continued the pursuit of the enemy that night nearly to the river, capturing many prisoners. Many others were taken in town by the infantry. The enemy endeavored to burn the stores accumulated at Martinsburg, and to a large extent succeeded in doing so, but left in our hands some 6,000 bushels of fine grain, some commissary stores, about 400 rounds of rifled artillery ammunition, and small arms and ammunition in small quantity. With the artillery were captured two excellent ambulances.
After recalling Ramseur from the pursuit, and putting a regiment of Doles' brigade in that town r as a guard, the appropriate officers were set to work gathering prisoners who were concealed in the houses of many of the Union families of the town, and taking inventories of the supplies.On the 15th, the troops were allowed to rest until after 10 A. M., when for the first time I received information as to the progress of