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Battle of New Market: Report of the Action on the Union Right

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Battle of New Market: Report of the Action on the Union Right

Post  WJPalmer on Sun Nov 04, 2012 3:36 pm

The right wing of the Union move against New Market began with the crossing of the creek with the aim of occupying Blocher's Knoll by my brigade of westerners. Gen. Seitzinger had prepared us to expect stiff Secesh resistance from the beginning, but to my surprise only a single regiment of enemy cavalry contested from the crest of the Knoll. I shook out my brigade and, together with Humm's Illinois brigade (Col. Weather commanding) and Eden's Pennsylvanians (Col. Neal commanding) swept the Rebels from the Knoll after a brief firefight. These rebels retired to the northwest together with the remainder of their squadron. Eden's brigade continued to deal with them for some time as they attempted to slow us down by harrassing our right flank.

Anticipating that the major fight would be for possession of New Market town proper, our wing of 3 brigades then wheeled south abreast the Carlisle Road to act in concert with our left flank which we knew was moving on the town from the east. Again to our surprise, our next encounter was with our own artillery and Gen. Seitzinger himself as they moved at the outskirts of town. At that point we learned that the town was already safely in our possession. From our position north of town, observing Rebel infantry firmly ensconced behind stone walls on heights to the west, we deployed before them in extended formation to await developments on our left, where Gen. Seitzinger informed us, he planned an assault to flank and gain the western ridge.

In the meantime our men amused themselves by demonstrating their contempt for the Rebel foe through provocative gestures made in full view of enemy lines and by liberating many shiny items of contraband and all edibles from any nearby farmhouses suspected of aiding the enemy -- which we deemed to be all of them.

After a time, a sharp-eyed lookout in my brigade spotted enemy activity directly behind us to the east. I rode in that direction leaving orders for my brigade to follow post-haste and shared this intelligence with neighboring brigades and Gen. Seitzinger. In this movement, my brigade successfully intercepted mounted Rebel cavalry moving along a creek bed for concealment, with the apparent mischevous intention of gaining our rear to harass our guns or regain the town. After emptying more enemy saddles with no loss to ourselves, this cavalry retired to the relative safety of buildings on the edge of town.

After deploying my regiment of Indian Home Guard to screen our guns from further antics by this cavalry, a courier was received from Col. Weather with the message that he had been requested to move immediately to support Gen. Seitzinger's assault on the ridge and further requested that my brigade follow as quickly as possible. This was done, and Eden's brigade (which had been the most heavily engaged of our 3 right brigades), was directed to remain near New Market to drive the Rebel cavalry from town and protect our guns).

Arriving on the ridge, my brigade moved over the crest to Weather's right, this also being the extreme Rebel left. I deployed half my force to extend the flank and ordered my remaining 2 regiments across the railroad cut to turn the enemy flank. This movement met with initial success. But ultimately, as our assault lost general momentum and a new enemy brigade appeared on my right, we withdrew in good order back across the railroad cut. By that time our assault of the heights west of New Market had stalled, and we remained in place until nightfall.

Congratulations are due to the men of both wings of our corps, in attaining and holding the ultimate objective of our mission. From my observation, both Cols. Neal and Weather performed admirably, particularly in the early fighting as we gained the west creek bank and secured the area north of New Market.

Respectfully submitted,
Col. William Jackson Palmer

Last edited by WJPalmer on Tue Nov 06, 2012 5:41 am; edited 4 times in total

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Re: Battle of New Market: Report of the Action on the Union Right

Post  MajorByrd on Sun Nov 04, 2012 6:23 pm

Fantastic report Sir, an enthralling read.

My Division fought valliantly; I'm proud of each and every man. We handled ourselves well I believe and will continue to do so. I made a lot of mistakes commanding, which I shall learn from. I will put each Brigade to a better use in the next battle I hope.

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