"COLE'S CAVALRY," FIRST REGIMENT POTOMAC HOME BRIGADE CAVALRY. 657
HEADQUARTERS 3D BRIGADE, GENERAL BANKS' DIVISION.
March 8, 1862.
CAPT. H. A. COLE, Commanding Cavalry.
Captain:—I take great pleasure in offering you and your command my thanks
and congratulations on the good conduct and gallantry displayed in the affair of yes-
terday in advance of this town.
My staff officers who were with you speak in high terms of the cool and steady conduct
of yourself and Lieutenant Vernon, and of all your non-commissioned officers and men.
Be pleased to make known to your command my appreciation of their good ser-
vices, and my regret that three of your brave fellows suffered wounds.
I am, Captain, with much respect,
Your obedient servant,
(Signed) A. S. WILLIAMS,
On the 11th day of March, 1862, the battalion, with the Brigade, had an engagement
with the enemy at Stephenson's Depot. On the 12th day of March, 1862, the battalion,
being the advance guard of Banks' Division, made a cavalry charge through Winchester,
Va., capturing a number of prisoners. '
On the 22d day of March, 1862, Companies A and C, with General Williams' Brig-
ade, marched from Winchester to Berryville on their way to join McDowelPs Army
Corps in Eastern Virginia, leaving Companies B and D, with General Shields' Division,
General (Stonewall) Jackson, learning of the withdrawal of a portion of General
Banks' command from Winchester, made a forced march and impetuous attack upon
Shield's Division, but was defeated in the battle that ensued on the 22d day of March,
1862, in advance of Winchester at Kernstown. Companies B and D took part in the
battle, and Companies A and C speedily returned to Winchester on hearing the guns from
the battlefield and joined in the pursuit of the enemy.
The battalion remained in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with General Banks'
Division until September, 1862. After the unfortunate Peninsular Campaign under
McClellan, and the ensuing campaign under General Pope, in Northern Virginia,
the battalion, under Major Cole, in its efforts to impede the march of Lee's Confed-
erate Army into Maryland, had a severe engagement, at Leesburg, Va., Septembers, 1862,
in which the battalion, after driving a superior force of the enemy's cavalry, was over-
whelmed by a Brigade of Confederate cavalry, and suffered heavily in killed, wounded
and prisoners, inflicting, however, equal loss upon the enemy.
The battalion fell back to Harper's Ferry, Va., which stronghold was soon sur-
rounded by an overwhelming force of the Confederate Army under Genera] (Stonewall)
Jackson. When it was rumored that Harper's Ferry would be surrendered, "Cole's Cav-
alry," through their officers, respectfully but firmly advised Colonel Miles, U. S. Army,
Acting Division Commander of the beleaguered garrison, "that under no circumstances
would 'Cole's Cavalry' surrender," and offered to head and pilot the entire cavalry
force of besieged in their efforts to cut their way through the enemy's lines.