History of the Laurel Brigade By William Naylor McDonald

COPYRIGHT. 1907. BY MRS. KATE S. McDONALD, pages 157-161

Next day, the 4th of July, Lee’s whole army began its march back to the Potomac. Jones’ brigade and Robertson’s were ordered to hold the passes of Jack Mountain and keep back Federal raiders from the wagon train.

In the evening it was reported that the enemy was advancing in force on the Emmitsburg and Waynesboro roads.

General Jones, fearing that Ewell’s train, then on its way to Williamsport, would be attacked, asked leave to go with his command to protect it. He was allowed the Sixth and Seventh regiments, and Chew’s battery, but the Seventh was afterwards ordered back and the Fourth North Carolina, under Colonel Fernbee, took its place.

It rained incessantly all night; the road was soon badly cut up; the ruts got deeper and deeper. At many points where mountain streams crossed the road the weaker teams would stall and block the way. Through the mud and darkness the artillery floundered along. Wagons with broken axles abandoned by their drivers had to be passed, and sometimes broken-down ambulances filled with wounded were encountered. «

It being wholly impracticable to push ahead the artillery, or even the cavalry, General Jones went forward with his staff.

Arriving at the junction of the Emmitsburg road with the one upon which the train was moving towards Williamsport, he found there Capt. G. M. Emack’s Company of Maryland, with one gun, opposed to a whole division of Federal cavalry with a full battery.

“He had already been driven back within a few hundred yards of the junction of the roads. Not half of the long train had passed.

“This little band of heroes was encouraged with the hope of speedy reinforcements, reminded of the importance of their trust, and exhorted to fight to the bitter end rather than yield. All my couriers and all others with firearms were ordered to the front, directed to lie on the ground, and be sparing with ammunition. The last charge of grape was expended and the piece sent to the rear.

“For more than two hours less than fifty men kept many thousands in check, and the wagons continued to pass along while the balls were whistling in their midst.”5

At last the Federals with a cavalry charge swept away resistance and got possession of the road.

General Jones in the darkness was separated from all his command and made his way through the woods to Williamsport. Here he found everything in confusion, and began to reorganize the stragglers for the defense of Lee’s army train.

The enemy was momentarily expected. But soon a force of Confederate cavalry and infantry arrived and General Imboden [Jones, not Imboden] took command.

‘Jones’ Report.

General Jones now made his way back through the enemy’s lines to his brigade on the night of the 5th. In the morning he rejoined his brigade at Leitersburg, and returned with it by way of Smithtown and Cavetown and the old Frederick Road, so as to participate in the attacks on General Kilpatrick at Hagerstown.

General Kilpatrick, who had pushed Jones and Emack aside at Monterey Gap, captured over 300 prisoners and forty wagons.

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The Union Pursuit Out of Waynesboro

OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 27, Part 3 (Gettysburg Campaign), Page 991

[CONFIDENTIAL.] JULY 10, 1863-5. 30 a. m.

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Confederate General Robert E. Lee

Major General J. E. B. STUART:

GENERAL: I received last evening your note of the 9th, relative to information brought by your scouts. During the night, Lieutenant [Thomas L.] Norwood, Thirty-seventh North Carolina Regiment, who was wounded at Gettysburg and made his escape, arrived. He reports he passed at Waynesborough what he supposed a division of the enemy, though it was called a heavy column. He also stated he heard that another column was passing down toward Boonsborough, and a third to Fredericktown. Notify [B. H.] Robertson to be on the lookout, and offer stiff resistance. Lieutenant N. says that General Couch, with Pennsylvania militia, was at Chambersburg. We must prepare for a vigorous battle, and trust in the mercy of God and the valor of our troops. Get your men in hand, and have everything ready.

Very truly,

R. E. LEE, General.