Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

Post image for Three Years in the Confederate Horse Artillery — George Michael Neese.

Three Years in the Confederate Horse Artillery — George Michael Neese.

June 21, 2013

Three Years in the Confederate Horse Artillery — George Michael Neese.

June 21 — This Sabbath morning, instead of the peaceful tones of the church bells floating out on the quiet air, the deep harsh roar of booming cannon rolled over the hills and fields of Loudoun and proclaimed the opening of the butcher business for the day. The enemy advanced on us this morning from the direction of Middleburg, with cavalry and artillery. We fell back from Union and moved in the direction of Upperville, as the Yankees were advancing on the Upperville road too, with infantry, cavalry, and artillery. When we arrived within one mile of Upperville we encountered the enemy strongly posted on our right. Our cavalry made a bold and gallant charge on their position, but the Yanks received the charge stubbornly and did not give way in the least nor budge from their position, but in turn made a desperate charge on our cavalry, and soon after the fight became general all over the field. Sabers flashed all around us and the fire of small arms was raging all over the field and growing fiercer every minute.

It looked to me like as if the mixed-up men on both sides were charging in every direction, and at one time our battery came so near being captured that I thought we were goners. But as soon as the shock of the first charge had subsided and the cavalry unmixed themselves, we put our guns in battery and opened a rapid fire on the Yankee horsemen. Then their dismounted sharpshooters opened a heavy fire on us, and it seemed to me that the bullets flew at us from every direction, thick and fast.

The enemy drove us back slowly all day. Several times to-day I saw our shell plunge right in their advancing line, break their ranks, and check for a moment the oncoming host, but they quickly closed up and came at us again. They were certainly the bravest and boldest Yanks that ever fought us on any field. But I think that the cause of their prowess was more in their belief in strength of numbers than in the efficacy of cool courage, as they had a great many more men engaged than we had.

During the last part of the cavalry fight the Yankee infantry flanked round on our right and attempted to cut us off from Ashby’s Gap in the Blue Ridge. But we caught the gentlemen at their sly little game, put our guns in position and gave them a few drastic and effective doses of shell, which checked them completely and wound up the flanking business for the day.

While we were being driven back this afternoon, at one place the Yankee cavalry made a charge, and one of our guns had to go through a gap in a stone fence that was under the fire of a line of dismounted sharpshooters; but our gun dashed through at the top speed in horse artillery style, under the fire of the sharpshooters, which however was not very sure on a snap shot, as our boys came through the fence unscathed. After our gun passed the stone fence and got on a little rising swell in the next field it was whirled in position in the twinkling of an eye and we fired a few shell in quick succession into the line of cavalry that was still pressing on in hot pursuit. The shell broke their charge, and their line faltered, when our cavalry, which had kept up a running fight, made a bold stand, redoubled their fire and held the Yanks in check and saved our gun. We had one man of our company killed there. He was shot through the head by a sharpshooter.

It was nearly night when the fight ended, and we moved back to Paris, which is about a mile from where we did the last firing, and camped for the night.

Some of General Longstreet’s infantry came to our relief late this evening. However, they were not engaged in the fight, but were stationed on different slopes of the Blue Ridge commanding the Ashby Gap road.

Paris is a small village situated halfway up the eastern side of the Blue Ridge, and on the Ashby Gap road, on the north corner of Fauquier County.

Previous post:

Next post: