Reconnoissance to Charleston. –Diary of Josiah Marshall Favill.

October 21st. Have just returned from a little reconnoissance up the valley, to Charleston. We marched out on the morning of the 16th, weather charming, and as the country is open, and very beautiful, we anticipated a jolly time of it, but during the night, while in bivouac, it rained great guns, and made things very uncomfortable. In the morning, after passing through our picket lines, we formed in regular order, skirmishers in front, flankers on either side, advance guard with supports, batteries, etc., in superb style, strictly according to regulations. We soon came in contact with the rebel cavalry videtts, and were shelled by one of their batteries. We drove in the pickets, and our batteries gave their attention to the rebel guns. Zook and his staff rode ahead in front of the skirmish, line. Advancing through some heavy timber, we reached an open field, and on the other side of it some five hundred yards distant, drawn up in battle array, was a long line of the enemy’s cavalry, who charged across the field the moment they caught sight of us. We wheeled to the rear, and galloped for shelter behind our men. In the race I lost my watch chain, which caught in a branch and was broken off. Our men advanced, and soon the cavalry were obliged to retire about as fast as they had advanced, but I could not recover the lost chain. The advance was continued until we reached the village of Charleston, driving the enemy steadily before us, then going into bivouac for the night on the outskirts of the town. Headquarters were established in the little cemetery, said to be the place where John Brown was buried. The horses were hitched to some of the melancholy looking tombstones, and Seth made up my bed on fence rails laid across two convenient graves, which proved a grand arrangement, as it rained heavily during the night. With a rubber blanket under us and another over us we were completely weather proof, and slept like the babes in the woods. The whole detachment returned on the 18th without eliciting much information.

Diary of a Young Officer–Josiah Marshall Favill (57th New York Infantry)

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