Captain R. Preston Chew organized Chew's Ashby Artillery, the first "horse artillery" in the Confederate army, in November 1861. He named it for Colonel Turner Ashby. Chew's battery bosted a 3 in ordinance rifle, a 12-pounder smoothbore howitzer, and an English Blakeley rifle. Blakeley guns were not commonly used during the Civil War. The battery, attached to Colonel Thomas T. Munford's cavalry brigade, crossed the Potomac River on September 7. They followed Munford to Burkittsville on the 13th and took this position early on the morning of the 14th. A short time later the Portsmouth Light Artillery, a battery consisting of two 12 pound naval howitzers mounted on gun carriages, joined them. Order of BattleConfederate States of America
One of Chew's crew wrote: "At about ten o'clock we saw the first of the Yankee host, about three miles away, approaching our gap cautiously and slowly. As they drew nearer the whole country seemed to be full of bluecoats. They were so numerous that it looked as if they were creeping up out of the ground—and what would or could our little force of some three to four hundred available men standing halfway up a bushy, stony mountain side do with such a mighty host that was advancing on us with flying banners? As they came nearer to the mountain they threw out a heavy skirmish line of infantry on both sides of the road, and were still advancing slowly when their skirmish line came to within about a mile of our position, so we opened on it with our rifled guns. Our line of fire was right over the village of Burkittsville, and completely checked their skirmishers about a half-mile from Burkittsville. The Yanks now brought up a battery and opened fire on us, but they were about two miles off and all their shells fell short. I fired at the min return, but in doing so I disabled my gun (the Blakeley). The mountain where we were in battery was a little steep and my gun is a vicious recoiler, and the recoil space of our position was too sloping, rough and limited for a free kick, consequently with the second shot that I fired ... my piece snapped a couple of bolts to its mounting, entirely disabling it for the day"
Chew withdrew the Blakeley, but the rest of the battery held its position until late in the day. Shortly before the arrival of Cobb's Legion, the battery retired to the opposite side of the mountain.
Brig. Gen. Howell Cobb
16th Ga., 24th Ga., Cobb's Legion, 15th N.C.
Brig. Gen. Paul J. Semmes
Col. Thomas T. Munford
2nd Va. Cav., 12th Va. Cav., Chew's Battery
Col. William A. Parham
6th Va., 12th Va., 16th Va., Portsmouth Light Arty.
United States of America
Maj. Gen. William B. Franklin, VI Corps
Maj. Gen. Henry W. Slocum
1st N.J., 2nd N.J., 3rd N.J., 4th N.J.
27th N.Y. 16th N.Y., 5th Me., 96th Pa.
Brig. Gen. Newton
18th N.Y., 31st N.Y., 32nd N.Y., 95th Pa.
Maj. Gen. William F. (Baldy) Smith
Brig. Gen. Brooks
2nd Vt., 3rd Vt. (nc), 4th Vt., 5th Vt. (nc), 6th Vt (nc)
Interpretation of this battlefield has been presented by the members of the Blue and Gray Education Society, Len Riedel, Executive Director.