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Letters from members of the First Maryland Potomac Home Brigade Cavalry

Submitted by: Mark Dudrow

Note: Bolivar, Virginia, September 6, 1862, signed by Oscar in Sentinal issue of September 9, 1862 Oscar is Oscar D. McMillan who enlisted August 23, 1861 as a private and was promoted Sergeant, First Sergeant and First Lieutenant. He was taken prisoner of war September 2, 1862.

Bolivar, Va. , Sept 4, 1862

Dear Sister: I arrived here safely last night, after our last rather unfortunate trip to Loudoun county. I was captured by the Rebels on Tuesday afternoon, about 8 o'clock, and was released on parole. But I will give you a short account of our trip and adventures. We left here early on Monday morning, and got to Waterford about noon, four of the rebel scouts had just left, taking with them one of Captain Means' Loudoun Rangers: a squad of men were dispatched to Point of Rocks for Means' company; about 16 of them got to W. about 5 o'clock; shortly afterwards we galloped to Hillsborough, captured 3 enemy cavalry, went back a few miles, stopped at a farm-house , fed our horses and slept in the barn until daybreak when we started again, traveled about 10 miles, stopped again to feed; in a half hour we were off again, got to Leesburg about 12 o'clock, halted outside of the town, and sent out a reconnoitering party who captured a rebel cavalryman in the town .

After finding there were rebels about in force, Capt. Cole, commanding, fell back slowly, in good order, to save himself from an attack in the rear. On our right was a corn field about a mile long. After we had got about half way to the end of it, the rebels charged on us. About 60'or 70 of us took in a gale after Capt Cole, the rebels following us, when we rallied and drove them back. But one of their squadrons got in our rear and we were between "two fires". We struck to the woods and kept up and kept up a running fight for about 3 miles, when my horse tell and hurt herself. I rode about 200 yards, when the rebels getting among us I took to the bushes and ran about 100 yards, when I was surrounded and had to give up my arms.

One of our company, George Sease, from near Emmitsburg, was shot through the body; James Scott, Edmund Wible, Joseph Wills, Geo. Jacobs, and Samuel McNair were wounded; and Capt. Hunter and 10 of us taken prisoners and paroled yesterday. Wills has a saber cut on the back of his head; and Wible a saber cut on the back - neither wounded seriously, and both are about. Capt Hunter and two lieutenants of Capt. Curls* [Cole's] were paroled to remain in Leesburg, but I think they will be released in a day or two. One of Capt.Means' men and one of Capt. Curls' [Cole's] killed and 15 or 20 wounded in the other companies, several seriously.

One rebel Captain, one Lieutenant, and several privates killed, and a good number wounded. We had about 120 men on our scout; about 50 will cover our loss in killed, wounded and prisoners, we were taken by the 2nd Virginia Cavalry, Col.Mumford, and were outnumbered four to one, besides citizens who turned out in force. The rebel cavalry were the men who dashed on Catlett's Station and Manassas. After we were captured we were taken to Leesburg, and afterwards marched back about four miles towards Manassas, where we were kept until yesterday morning, when we were paroled.

We then made our way .to camp, where we arrived this morning. I hardly expected to get off the field alive, but a kind Providence watched over and protected me. I expect to be home shortly. What I regret most is, that now I can do nothing to help drive back the traitor horde.