A Current Civil War Campaign
Skirmish near Silver Penny Mill
May 14, 1862
We were ordered to march to Luray to join existing union forces in that town. At around two in the afternoon our vanguard ran into the head of a rebel column four mile North East of Luray! Apparently someone was mistaken as to the deployment of our forces...
After some initial confusion orders were received to delay the rebels to allow the rest of our Corps to deploy in defensible terrain. To accomplish this task I used the 1st and 3rd brigades of the 1st division.
I ordered the first brigade - in the lead of the column - to deploy behind a small stream. The second brigade was ordered to support them. This led to some intermixing of the brigades, but it could not be helped. I ordered all of the artillery back with the rest of the Corps as the ground was very boggy from two days of light rain.
The rebels deployed heavily on my center and right, so I ordered the vanguard - 200 men of the 10th Maine Infantry - to fall back as they were outnumbered on their front by well over five to one. I ordered three other regiments - two from the 1st and one from the 2nd brigades - to form up in a woods on the left that overlooked the roadway. The remaining regiments were deployed to the right, with the 46th Pennsylvania in a woods and the remaining regiments on a hilltop.
The rebels pushed the 46th, which delivered one telling volley then fell back. Rebel artillery somehow deployed on their left - two batteries of Napoleons were reported - and blasted a hole in the line of the 2nd Massachusetts. At this point I determined that we could not hold on the right, so ordered an immediate withdraw of all units deployed there.
I held on the left for another half hour. The 124th Pennsylvania skirmished with a rebel regiment, but seeing significant reserves moving up they too fell back and I ordered a withdraw on the left as well. Colonel Beal shoud be commended for his handling of the troops on this flank.
All together we held the rebel advance for three hours. Our forces lost about 100 men in total. We rejoined the rest of the Corps at nightfall.
Respectfully submitted Brigader Genl S. Crawford, commanding.