John A. Miller, Published Emmitsburg Historical Society, 2006
General Jenkins is a very impressive man to read about during the war years in West Virginia. Jenkins’ Brigade was raised for the defense of their homes and serve as protection from Union raiders. The men suffered a lack of equipment and tactical training that would ensure them to be a fighting cavalry unit. Instead they were more or less considered mounted infantry. This article is not to fault the performance during the Gettysburg Campaign. However, it seems that many historians today are too quick to judge these men on why they were not as efficient on the battlefield in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. But statistically, they were a fighting machine in the region of their home defense. Keeping in mind their background, their fighting tactics could not be matched by the Army of Northern Virginia, but rather they accomplished much more than what has been given credit to them.
Albert Gallatin Jenkins was born on November 10, 1830 in Cabell County of modern West Virginia. As a young man he was educated at the Virginia Military Institute and a graduate of the class of 1848 from the Jefferson College located in Cannonsburg, Pennsylvania. He took up Law at Harvard College and by 1850 was admitted to the Charleston Bar, but never practiced. Instead Jenkins took up agriculture on his plantation.
Jenkins was very active in public affairs and became a delegate in the Democratic Convention that was held in 1856. He served as a delegate from 1857 to 1861 when Virginia seceded from the Union. As a military soldier, he felt his duties were for the protection of his home state. He raised a company of mounted men called the Border Rangers and they drilled on the grounds of Jenkins’ Plantation. Upon entering into the service of the Confederate States, he was commissioned Captain and his company of Border Rangers would soon become the nucleus of the 8th Virginia Cavalry where the Border Rangers were designated as Company E.
Captain Jenkins and his men would see their first baptism of fire during the April – July Military Operations of the Kanawha Valley of modern day West Virginia. During the Battle of Scary Creek on July 18, 1861, Captain Jenkins would prove himself by winning the first Confederate Victory in the Kanawha Valley after Captain George Smith Patton of the 1st Kanawha Regiment fell wounded upon the battlefield.
Soon after the battle of Scary Creek, Captain Jenkins was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel of the 8th Virginia Cavalry. As a military soldier Jenkins had proved himself loyal to the Confederate Cause. Keeping a hand in politics, he was elected to serve in the First Confederate Congress in 1862. On August 5, 1862, Colonel Jenkins was promoted to Brigadier General and was considered by many brilliant, daring and very successful at conducting raids and foraging for supplies. He was the first to plant the Confederate battle flag in Union Territory in Ohio.
Besides conducting brilliant raids, Jenkins and his brigade of Cavalry were the protectors of Western Virginia until his Cavalry brigade was ordered to the Shenandoah Valley by General Robert E. Lee on April 30, 1863. By May 15, General Jenkins’ men had made their way into the Shenandoah Valley to Staunton, Virginia. Here they awaited horses that would come in by rail from North Carolina.
During the Gettysburg Campaign, General Jenkins’ Brigade consisted of the 14th, 16th, 17th and the 36th Virginia Cavalry along with Jackson’s Kanawha Artillery. The 34th Virginia was also placed in General Jenkins’ Brigade. The 8th Virginia Cavalry was not among the cavalry regiments to participate in the Gettysburg Campaign. They would stay behind and defend their homes while General Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia prepared to take the war northward. General Jenkins’ Brigade was assigned to Major General R. E. Rodes Division. Jenkins’ Brigade was ordered to attack Winchester and Berryville. The 17th Virginia Cavalry was assigned to General Jubal Early’s Division.
General Jenkins’ men started up the Shenandoah Valley. Near Front Royal, Virginia the 34th Virginia Battalion under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Vincent Witcher met up with Generals Jenkins’ and Richard Ewell. The march northward continued with a portion of Jenkins’ Brigade skirmishing with Federal troops at Middletown. At Berryville, Jenkins drove the Federal Cavalry back. However, the Federal Artillery kept Jenkins’ men from accomplishing their objective. He skirmished with Union troops at Winchester and Bunker Hill.
At Bunker Hill on June 14th, the 34th Virginia Cavalry assaulted a few houses, skirmishing in the streets and capturing 75 to 100 prisoners. The 34th Virginia Cavalry had only one casualty. The advance of Jenkins’ Brigade defeated Union General Milroy and proceed to northward to Martinsburg. General Jenkins demanded the surrender of Martinsburg. After several hours of skirmishing, the Federal soldiers withdrew and this cleared the way of into Maryland.
On June 15, when Brigadier General A. G. Jenkins, with 1,600 cavalry entered Pennsylvania and advanced on Greencastle, Jenkins divided his cavalry force into two where they destroyed railroad bridges and cut telegraph wires. Arriving at Greencastle, General Jenkins’ took up headquarters briefly at the home of the editor of the Repository. Jenkins then moved on to Chambersburg arriving at 11 o’clock at night.
During the early morning hours, the citizens of Chambersburg were ordered to surrender all arms and according to the members of 36th Virginia Cavalry, they were also ordered to feed the men of Jenkins’ Brigade. Many supplies were gathered while members of the 14th Virginia Cavalry destroyed the railroad bridge at Scotland. During the day, a small detachment of Union Cavalry attacked Jenkins’ pickets, but were forced to retire, as their efforts proved futile.
On June 17, General Jenkins ordered the withdraw of his cavalry after hearing the sound of a bugle coming toward Chambersburg. Fearing he was not strong enough to hold his position and believing that the Federal Cavalry was larger than his own force, General Jenkins withdrew from Chambersburg backtracking to Hagerstown after learning General Rhode’s Division had crossed the Potomac. General Jenkins sent foraging parties in all directions, with one group reaching McConnellsburg. Jenkins’ men assisted in helping the Confederate quartermasters and commissaries by obtaining supplies. Although General Jenkins had been carefully instructed about transacting this business by regular purchases, Jenkins did not require his men to account for the large number of horses which they seized.
Upon hearing about Jenkins’ withdraw from Chambersburg, General Rodes became furious. Knowing that General Jenkins’ men took most of the goods in Chambersburg that would have been of any service to the Confederate troops, such as boots, hats and clothing. When Jenkins’ Cavalry left Chambersburg all of these supplies were removed before the Confederates had the chance to reoccupy Chambersburg. General Richard Ewell, seeing the strain that General Jenkins was putting on General Rodes, agreed to give orders personally to General Jenkins himself.
On June 19th, Company D was ordered to Waynesboro to capture horses and cattle for the army. A powerful thunderstorm surprised them during the night, and they were forced to take refuge on a large farm. While they took up refuge on the farm, the farmer was obligated to furnish them with rations.
The next day the men were foraging and around noon Company D came upon a farm of an old Pennsylvania German. According to Lieutenant Herman Schuricht; “He was scared to death at catching sight of us, and shouted “O mein Gott, die rebels!” I soon reassured him, telling him that no harm should result to him if he furnished us with a dinner and rations for our horses, and we were well cared for. A Federal cavalry regiment passed in sight of the place, fortunately not discovering our presence, and I concluded to march with my company to Lesterburg, Md., where the citizens furnished us with supper. We camped for the night in an open field, midway between Lesterburg and Hagerstown.”
On June 21st, General Jenkins started out for Chambersburg again after hearing reports that no Federal soldiers had occupied the city. General Jenkins’ took two companies of the 14th Virginia Cavalry and charged into Chambersburg at night. Captain Moorman’s Company of the 14th Virginia Cavalry was ordered to proceed to the South Mountain and capture horses, then pass through Lesterburg and then entered the mountain region. At 11 o’clock at night the company came to Use’s Iron-Works. Mr. Use, upon demand furnished provisions to the troopers. Unfortunately, Mr. Use secretly informed the farmers of the area and warned the federal troops of their approach.
On June 22nd a skirmish erupted along a mountain pass called Monterey near present day Blue Ridge Summit. A portion of General Jenkins’s Cavalry ran into an armed militia of Captain Robert Bell’s 21st Pennsylvania, Captain David Conaughy’s Home Guard and a detachment of 1st Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry under Captain Samuel Randall. The foraging party was Company D, of the 14th Virginia Cavalry commanded by Captain Robert Moorman. Union Major General Alfred Pleasonton wrote this in his official report during the Gettysburg Campaign “On Saturday night Jenkins’ Cavalry, numbering 2,000 were encamped a short distance beyond Waynesboro, and moved up the South Mountain. Jenkins’ skirmishers scoured the woods on foot on each side of the Emmitsburg and Waynesboro Turnpike. When the Federal Cavalry detail left, Jenkins’ men reached Monterey Springs and continued firing at several bodies on horseback. Near dusk a body of Jenkins’ cavalry entered Fairfield, eight miles from Gettysburg. This detachment of Jenkins’ men numbered from fifty to one hundred.”
On June 23rd the members of the 14th Virginia Cavalry started out by dawn. Capturing several horses in the Cashtown area. By 2 P.M. in the afternoon, a detachment of the 14th Virginia Cavalry headed to Caledonia Iron Works, west of Gettysburg. They were pursuing a small detachment Union troops. Roughly two miles past Caledonia, the detachment of Confederate Cavalry saw that the Federal troops detachment had blockaded the road.
Lieutenant Herman Schuricht of Company D noted that he was ordered by Major Bryan to approach the barricade with nine men. Lieutenant Schuricht directed four men to approach the barricade to the right of the road, while Lieutenant Schuricht and the rest of men took to the left of the road. About 25 Union men were waiting in ambush and disappeared as Lt. Schuricht drew nearer. The barricade was quickly removed while Captain Moorman charged, with 25 men in pursuit of the Yankees. Lieutenant Schuricht soon followed in the chase.
The Federal detail took refuge behind a company of Union Cavalry that was in the woods. The Federal Cavalry turned their horses heads as the 14th Virginia Cavalry came upon them. Shots rang out striking Private Eli Amick. Soon afterwards, Major Bryan called of the pursuit and returned to Caledonia Iron Works. The 14th Virginia Cavalry traveled back to Greenwood where their rear guard was located.
During the latter part of June, Jackson’s Kanawha Artillery made it’s way up the Shenandoah Valley and joined General Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia as it crossed the Potomac River. Jackson’s Horse Artillery united with General Albert Jenkins’ Brigade prior to June 24th. The artillery consisted of four Napoleons and two six inch rifled cannon.
The 17th Virginia Cavalry with General Early entered Pennsylvania marching toward Waynesboro on June 23rd. Once at Waynesboro, General Early marched north on Black Gap Road. Early’s Division traveled pass the little towns of Quincy, Mont Alto, and arrived at Black Gap on or near June 25 (near the present day intersection of Route 30.) General Early and his Division changed direction heading East on the Chambersburg Pike.
On the same day, General Jenkins’ Brigade marched though Shippensburg as they traveled to Carlisle. Lieutenant Schuricht took command of Company D of the 14th Virginia Cavalry when Captain Moorman was reported sick. Lieutenant Schuricht was ordered to Shippensburg skirmishing with Federal troops along the way and encamped for the night several miles from town.
On June 26th, east of Black Gap, General Early’s troops burned the ironworks at Caledonia. The 17th Virginia passed through the mountain pass of Cashtown. Marching onward, the larger part of Early’s forces passed northwest of Gettysburg.
Brigadier General John B. Gordon’s brigade of 2,800 men advanced through the town of Gettysburg on June 26 where they repulsed a detachment of the 26th Pennsylvania Militia at Rock Creek. After General Gordon’s men routed the 26th Pennsylvania, General Early ordered the 17th Virginia to march through Gettysburg and pursue the retreating Federal. Company A known as French’s Cavalry led the way through Gettysburg and captured a few prisoners. Colonel William French was ordered to pursue the Pennsylvania Militia, and did so, capturing several men. General Early sent two additional regiments to reinforce Colonel French, however, the two other regiments were unable to provide much help. Robert Gore of Company D recorded that about 100 soldiers were taken prisoner.
By the morning of June 27th, Jenkins’ Brigade moved on to Carlisle. Skirmishing broke out with Federal troops when they neared the town of Carlisle. By 10 o’clock Jenkins’ men occupied the town. Lieutenant Schuricht recalled passing the obstructions and fortifications as they entered the town. There at Carlisle Jenkins’ Brigade received about 1500 rations from the town.
At 3 o’clock General Ewell’s Corps entered Carlisle. Later that day, General Jenkins received an order to advance to the Susquehanna River and scout the approaches and defenses of Harrisburg. Jenkins’ Brigade sat off for Mechanicsburg. Lieutenant Schuricht recalled encamping for the night about 5 miles from Mechanicsburg and his pickets were attacked several times throughout the night.
While General Jenkins was busy near Carlisle moving toward Mechanicsburg, the 17th Virginia Cavalry with General Gordon of Early’s Division advanced directly on York. The 35th Virginia Cavalry battalion under Lieutenant Colonel Eleigh V. White followed the railroad to Hanover Junction and destroyed a bridge there. Fearing Union opposition, White then fell back and marched north to rejoin General Gordon. General Gordon received the surrender of York, which he entered and passed through on the following day. General Early, after having detached the 17th Virginia Cavalry under Colonel William H. French to destroy the Susquehanna Bridge at York Haven, entered York and sat up his headquarters.
Early’s division moved eastward to cut the railroad between Baltimore and Harrisburg at York and to seize the bridge over the Susquehanna River between Wrightsville and Columbia. In an attempt to destroy a vital bridge at Wrightsville, Pennsylvania, General Gordon failed to seize the bridge, when Union troops set fire to it on June 28. The flames spread into the town, and Gordon’s men helped to extinguish them. His troops returned to York the following day.
On June 28th, General Jenkins marched into the town of Mechanicsburg. After skirmishing with Federal Cavalry, Jenkins’ Brigade occupied Mechanicsburg. General Jenkins divided his brigade into two columns. He sent Colonel Milton Ferguson with the 16th Virginia, the 36th Virginia and Jackson’s Artillery along the Carlisle Pike. The rest of the Brigade moved along Trindle Spring Road and advanced toward the Susquehanna River, about four miles from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Jackson’s Artillery began shelling the defenses of Harrisburg that was manned by Federal Militia under General William Smith. Lieutenant Schuricht noted his company of the 14th Virginia Cavalry took position on a dominating hill. They were ordered to support Jackson’s Battery. General Jenkins took position on Silver Springs Turnpike. This road was parallel to the Carlisle-Harrisburg Turnpike, and Company D of the 14th Virginia Cavalry was ordered to select a place of concealment east of Mechanicsburg, in order to protect their connection with Carlisle.
According to Lieutenant Micajah Woods of Jackson’s Artillery they sent the Federals fleeing from Oyster Point and they left behind guns, clothing, hats and anything else that slowed them down. Colonel Ferguson’s column in pursuit of the retreating Federal soldiers, moved up to the next line of defenses about 5 miles from Harrisburg. Captain Jackson repositioned his guns at Stone Church that was a half mile from the village of Shiremanstown. Jackson’s Battery kept up the Artillery fire until nightfall.
On June 29th, a portion of Jenkins’ Brigade engaged the Federal troops from Oyster Point. General Jenkins ordered a concentration of rifle and artillery fire to cover his reconnaissance of the Union defenses of Harrisburg. The entrenchment consisted of Fort Washington and Fort Couch that were located on Hummel Heights. While General Jenkins’ men were engaged at Oyster Point, General Richard S. Ewell ordered General Rodes to move his infantry east for an attack on Harrisburg. During the night General Robert E. Lee learned of the advancing Union Army and sent orders to concentrate in the Cashtown area west of Gettysburg.
After receiving General Lee’s orders, General Jenkins started to withdrew from Mechanicsburg on the morning of June 30th, leaving behind a rearguard with orders to rip up the railroad tracks before withdrawing. Lieutenant Schuricht was ordered to report with his company at Jenkins’ headquarters. He was then directed to proceed with his company and one cannon of Jackson’s Battery to Mechanicsburg and hold the town until ordered otherwise, and to destroy the railroad track as far as possible. Colonel Ferguson withdrew his command from Orr’s Bridge, west along the Carlisle Pike to Sporting Hill.
Captain Jackson had two cannon, located in Gleim’s Woods and opened fire on the Federal line. As a precaution, Colonel Ferguson deployed the 16th Virginia Cavalry and 36th Virginia Cavalry Battalion to protect Captain Jackson’s guns. Soon after the last of Jenkins’ men had left, Union Cavalry scouts discovered that Jenkins’ men had withdrew. General William F. Smith sent out a reconnaissance to determine where Jenkins’ men had gone.
At sunset a courier was sent from Jenkins’ headquarters ordering Lieutenant Schuricht’s Company to leave Mechanicsburg after dark and fall back to Carlisle. There he would meet up with Jenkins’ Brigade. On the journey back, Captain Moorman rejoined Company D and took command. The entire command continued its march to Petersburg, Pennsylvania where it arrived around 2 o’clock in the morning. They encamped there and were ready for any Union attack as the men slept with their arms ready in their hand.
At day break on July 1st, Jenkins’ men were in the saddle moving toward Gettysburg. By noon the men heard the cannonading ahead of them. It was then the men learned that the two armies had met one another in Pennsylvania. If was an act of forgetfulness or not, General Ewell forgot to notify General Jenkins about his movements. As a result General Jenkins’ Brigade brought up the rear. Around 5 o’clock in the evening. Jenkins crossed Rock Creek and surveyed the debris of the battlefield north of town. Shortly afterwards Jenkins order his men to dismount.
The 17th Virginia Cavalry under Colonel French was one of the only units from Jenkins’ Brigade to participate in the first days’ battle at Gettysburg. They fell in as part of General Early’s Division. Taking up a battle during the early afternoon, the 17th Virginia was on the line of battle north of Gettysburg near Rock Creek on the Harrisburg Road. Eventually parts of the 17th Virginia Cavalry supported Jones’s Artillery Battalion. Members of the 17th Virginia Cavalry and portions of Jenkins’ Brigade were ordered to guard the Federal prisoners taken at Gettysburg.
During the morning of July 2nd, General Jenkins was summoned to Lee’s tent on Seminary Ridge. He was tasked with guarding General Ewell’s left flank. Jenkins’ Brigade was posted in a piece of woodland near Rock Creek. Jenkins and his men waited for the attack. For some reason General Jenkins never received the order that the battle was postponed, even though Jenkins was miles away from General Ewell’s left flank. After waiting for the attack that never came, General Jenkins wanted to see what was going on. Arriving on top of a hill they attracted the enemy’s attention, who fired a cannon shot upon Jenkins’ party. The shell exploded wounding General Jenkins and killing his horse. Jenkins was carried from the field. Colonel M. J. Ferguson of the 16th Virginia Cavalry took over as acting commander of Jenkins’ Brigade. Later that night Jenkins’ Brigade met General Stuart.
With Colonel M. J. Ferguson, leading the men, their performance immediately began to improve. On July 3rd, at 4 o’clock in the morning Jenkins’ Brigade mounted their horses and advanced to the extreme left of their lines. This flanking movement was to cut of any Federal retreat and to attack the Federal rear. General Jeb Stuart and Colonel Witcher rode ahead of the column and observed the area. Cress Ridge was completely wide open. Stuart’s Cavalry passed Stallsmith’s farm where the two officers talked about plans of attack.
Shortly after arriving, General Stuart ordered one of Griffin’s guns to fire in each direction. This may have been done to draw out the Federal Cavalry that might be in the area or to signal to General Lee that Stuart was ready to make an attack. Lt. Colonel Witcher was then ordered by Stuart to take his battalion forward toward the left of Rummel’s Barn and dismount at 8 o’clock and then again at 10 o’clock in that morning.
Only a portion of Jenkins’ Brigade was deployed during the Cavalry Battle east of Gettysburg. Jenkins’ Brigade was deployed as follows 34th Virginia Cavalry (5 companies) 16th Virginia Cavalry (4 companies), 14th Virginia Cavalry (4 companies) and Jackson’s Kanawha Artillery would engage the Federal Cavalry at East Cavalry Field. The remainder of the 16th Virginia Cavalry were stationed on the Fairfield Road with Colonel Ferguson. A portion of the 14th Virginia and 17th Virginia Cavaliers were guarding prisoners. This left the rest of the 36th Virginia Cavalry picketing the flanks of the 34th Virginia Cavalry.
During the battle many men of Jenkins’ Brigade were armed with Enfield rifles and were used as sharpshooters due to only being issued 10 rounds of ammunition. The exception was the 34th Virginia who stood up to General Gregg’s Division during the battle. Another test of courage came when the 5th Michigan charged upon the men of the 34th and Lt. Colonel Witcher noted that their Major Ferry and their colors were lost in the fight. Soon the 34th was reinforced by Colonel Chambliss.
After the thick of the fight had died down, the Federal Artillery still fired upon Stuart’s Horse Batteries. Lt. Colonel Witcher requested General Stuart to allow his cavalry to take the Federal guns, but Stuart declined. During the night General Stuart withdrew the main body to the ridges west of Gettysburg. The Confederate Army had lost the battle of Gettysburg after Longstreet’s assault had failed.
During the morning hours of July 4th, General Lee’s mangled army began it’s withdrawal from Gettysburg. Jenkins’ Brigade was split sending the 14th Virginia with General Imboden through Cashtown. The 36th Virginia would go through Monterey Pass and guard General Ewell’s wagon trains near Waterloo, Pennsylvania. The rest of the Jenkins’ Brigade would patrol around the wagon train that was in Fairfield or ride with General Stuart’s Division.
During a blinding rainstorm a battle erupted at Monterey Pass when General Judson Kilpatrick’s Cavalry Division attacked a small force of Confederate Cavalry. Stalling Kilpatrick for more than 5 hours, Kilpatrick gained the mountain summit and continued to Waynesboro on the dawn hours of July 5th. While charging down the mountain, Kilpatrick’s men ran into more resistance and captured more prisoners. At Waterloo, the 36th lost at least six men captured as a result from the Battle of Monterey that started the evening before.
General Stuart came through the town of Emmitsburg during the dawn hours, the 34th Virginia Cavalry led the advance into Emmitsburg. A sharp skirmish erupted at the western entrance. Once the resistance was stopped, General Stuart learned that a large Union Cavalry under the command of General Kilpatrick had just left the town only hours before his arrival. The Union Cavalry was headed toward the rebel wagon train at Monterey Pass.
A story worth telling was when watering their horses, Emmitsburg residents who were curious of the out come of the battle of Gettysburg asked the troopers who won, their reply was that the Confederates had won. The Confederate riders soon became paranoid by some of the Emmitsburg residents. On one occasion some rebels detected two gentlemen watching every move they had made, when suddenly the rebels raised their pistols. These rebels thought that the gentlemen were Union spies or were part of the Signal Corp. Once the two gentlemen explained that they were villagers of the town and were curious as to what all the bedlam was about, the rebels placed their guns back into their holsters.
After leaving Emmitsburg, Stuart’s Cavalry traveled to Creagerstown, Grachmam and then onto Franklinville where it crossed the Catoctin and South Mountains heading to Smithsburg.
During the morning of the 5th, the 14th Virginia Cavalry rode to Cashtown where it met up with General Fitzhugh Lee and moved to Greencastle guarding prisoners. At 12 o’clock that night, they met up with General Imboden’s Brigade who was in charge of a wagon train full of wounded soldiers. At Greenwood and Greencastle the train was attacked by Federal Cavalry, but they were repulsed without being able to do much harm.
While the majority of Jenkins’ Brigade was marching to Hagerstown with General Stuart or protecting what was left of General Ewell’s wagon train, members of the 14th Virginia were moving to Hagerstown via Greencastle. By the 6th of July members of the 14th Virginia Cavalry were at Hagerstown. As Union Cavalry was already skirmishing in the streets, a regiment of Confederate Infantry entered the city and proceeded to drive the Yankees out. As skirmishing kept up until 5:30 P.M., Jenkins’ Brigade arrived and forced the Union Cavalry to retreat. They encamped near Hagerstown that night.
On July 7th, the 14th marched to Sharpsburg and then moved toward Boonsboro and encamped. By July 8th, a portion of the 14th Virginia Cavalry reported to General Lee’s headquarters. Their orders were to attack the enemy’s outposts in their travels. Around 9 o’clock in the morning General Stuart attacked the Federal left flank near Boonsboro, Maryland. General Fitzhugh Lee attacked the left wing of the Federals, General Jones their center, and Jenkins’ Brigade was to fight the right flank. By the next morning more skirmishing occurred near Sharpsburg.
At three o’clock in the afternoon on July 12th, Jenkins’ Brigade received orders from General Fitzhugh Lee. Jenkins’ Brigade was to proceed between Hagerstown and Williamsport ready for action in case of a Federal attack. No attack came and they encamped for the night.
At five o’clock in the morning on July 14th, Jenkins’ Brigade was to report to Williamsport to ford the Potomac River. At Williamsport, Jenkins’ Brigade tried attacking the Federal troops but found the ground littered with many rocks and fences. Because of this they were forced to dismount and attack the Federal soldiers. The Federal soldiers then fell back, but not before several men from Jenkins’ Brigade were captured. By July 21st, the 17th Virginia Cavalry was encamped at Shepherdstown where it protected General Early’s Division and would continue to Orange Court House in Virginia.
Jenkins’ men had seen the last of their service in Maryland during the Gettysburg Campaign. They were among the last to cross the Potomac River and return to Virginia. From there they marched to Martinsburg. During the retreat from Williamsport, desertion became a problem for Jenkins’ men. Many of them tired of their service with the Army of Northern Virginia simply fell out from their ranks and headed for home. Many of them were captured and returned to their units, but a good many of them enlisted with other cavalry units in West Virginia. By September, the main portion of Jenkins’ Brigade had returned to the Kanawha Valley in West Virginia.