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LEE TURNS MEADE'S FLANKS.

103

• Oct. 9,

1863.

Oct. 10.

¢ Oct, 11.

keep him, till winter, near Washington, so that more troops might be sent from Virginia to assist Bragg, Davis's favorite, then below Chattanooga, in need of help. So, on the day before Buford's cavalry marched on the Rapid Anna, Lee crossed it in force, and along unfrequented and circuitous roads by way of Madison Court-House, and over Robertson's River, gained Meade's right before that commander suspected the movement. It was first revealed by an attack upon a portion of Kilpatrick's cavalry, who were holding the advanced posts on the National right. These were driven back on Culpepper by Stuart. Satisfied that his right was turned, Meade instantly sent back his trains, and at a little past midnight retreated across the Rappahannock, blowing up the bridge at Rappahannock Station, behind him. Lee advanced to Culpepper a few hours later, where he halted his main force, while Stuart followed as closely to Meade as Pleasanton, who covered the retreat, would allow. That night Pleasanton also crossed the river.

Informed, on the morning of the 12th, that Lee had halted at Culpepper, Meade felt that his retreat might have been premature. Acting upon such presumption, he pushed the Second, Fifth, and Sixth Corps, with Buford's cavalry, back across the Rappahannock to the vicinity of Brandy Station. The mounted men pressed on toward Culpepper, where Meade intended to vffer battle to Lee, but the latter had not waited for his antagonist. On that morning he had commenced another flanking movement to gain Meade's rear, and the two armies, for several hours, presented the appearance of a friendly countermarch on nearly parallel roads.

Meade was first advised of this new and dangerous movement of his foe by General Gregg, who had been watching the fords of the Upper Rappahannock with the Third Corps (French's) below him. Lee's van assailed Gregg and drove him back, and then the main column of the Confederates crossed the Rappahannock at Warrenton,'Sulphur Springs, and Waterloo, where Jackson passed over the previous year when flanking Pope' Meade at once fell back, crossed the river, and continued his retreat to Catlett's Station. Fortunately Lee was ignorant of the real condition of Meade's army at that time, or he might, by turning aside, have demolished the Third Corps with his overwhelming force. Gregg was surrounded, attacked, and routed, at Jeffersonton, north of Hazel River, after a gallant fight," with a loss of about five hundred men, most of whom were made prisoners.

Nowd the veteran armies of the Potomac and of Northern Virginia commenced a third race northward, over nearly the same course pursued on former like occasions, Lee aiming to strike Meade's line of retreat along the Orange and Alexandria railway, and the latter using every energy to prevent him. Leė pressed on to Warrenton on the afternoon of the 13th, and prepared to advance from that point in two columns, his left under A. P. Hill, by the Warrenton turnpike to New Baltimore, and so on to Bristow Station, and his right, under Ewell, by way of Auburn Mills and Greenwich, for the same destination. This movement was begun on the morning of the 14th. Meanwhile there had been collisions.

d Oct. 18.

See page 453, volume II.

His command was composed of the Fourth and Thirteenth Pennsylvania, and First New York Cavalry, and Tenth New York Infantry.

104

STUART AND HIS STAFF IN PERIL.

HUGH JUDSON KILPATRICK.

Stuart, with about two thousand cavalry, was hanging closely upon the rear
flank of Meade's army, picking up many stragglers. While eagerly pressing
on, toward the evening of the 13th, he encountered the head of French's
column, and was pushed toward Catlett's Station, near which he found him-
self, that night, in a perilous situation. The Second Corps, under General
Warren, with Kilpatrick's cavalry, was at that time covering the National

rear, and when Lee reached War-
renton, this rear-guard was at Au-
burn, only a few miles eastward,
with Caldwell's division and three
batteries on the heights of Cedar
Run, between them. Stuart had
inadvertently got ahead of this cor-
ering force, and found himself
hemmed in between the two Na-
tional corps, with small chance to
escape. His first impulse was to
abandon his guns and all impedi-
ments to a speedy flight, and at-
tempt to escape under cover of
darkness, but he finally resolved to

try another plan. So he hid his men in one of those dense thickets of small pine saplings which cover old fields in Virginia, and sent messengers through the Union lines to Lee, to ask for help. For this purpose, three men, dressed like Union soldiers, fell into the National line as it was moving, marched awhile, and then, dropping out, hurried to Lee. Relief for Stuart was immediately sent, and when the musketry of the skirmishers of the approaching re-enforcements were heard at dawn, the bold cavalry leader opened a cannonade from his concealment upon the rear of Caldwell's forces, who had bivouacked a little in front of this thicket. Caldwell, unexpectedly assailed, moved to cover on the opposite side of the hills, when he was attacked in like manner from the Warrenton road. This assault produced sufficient confusion in the Union ranks to allow Stuart to break through and escape. For a moment Warren's corps appeared to be in a very critical situation, surrounded and cut off, but it was soon found that the attacking party on the Warrenton turnpike was only the van of Ewell's column. These were repulsed by two regiments' thrown out by General Hayes from the north side of Cedar Run, and the way was cleared for the advance of the corps. Ewell was held in check until Warren's troops had crossed the Run and resumed their line of march (Caldwell covering the rear, and skirmishing almost continually) for the heights of Centreville, behind Bull's Run, the now prescribed destination of the Army of the Potomac, where Meade determined to offer battle.

Now the race for Bristow Station became hot, Lee pushing Hill and Ewell forward to gain that point before Meade should pass it. They failed. When Hill approached it, the entire Army of the Potomac had passed it,

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1 These were the One Hundred and Twenty-sixth New York and Twelfth New Jersey volunteers. In this encounter, Colonel Thomas Ruffin, the leader of Confederate cavalry, which charged furiously, was killed.

BATTLE OF BRISTOW STATION.

105

* October 15,

1563.

excepting Warren's corps, which was not then in sight of the Confederates. The Third Corps, in the rear of the troops that had passed, was just crossing Broad Run, and Hill pushed forward to attack it. At about noon, when he was preparing to charge, he was startled by the apparition of Warren's corps coming upon his rear. This had outstripped Ewell's, whose advance it had encountered in the morning near Auburn, and was now pushing forward expecting to meet Sykes's at Bristow Station. Warren was again in a critical situation. Hill quickly turned upon him, and almost instantly brought his batteries in full play upon this unexpected foe. Warren was surprised for a moment, but in the space of ten minutes the batteries of Brown and Arnold were playing upon Hill in response, and these, assisted by the infantry divisions of Hayes and Webb,' soon drove the Confederates, and captured six of their guns, which were instantly turned upon the fugitives. A flank attack by Heth's (formerly Pettigrew's) was repulsed, with a Confederate loss of four hundred and fifty men made prisoners, with two battle-flags.

This was an effectual check upon Hill's advance, yet Warren was in great danger, for he found it unsafe to attempt to resume his march, and he stood at bay, skirmishing and maneuvering all the remainder of the afternoon. Just at sunset Ewell came up, and the Second Corps was actually confronted by nearly the whole of Lee's army; but before the latter was ready for an attack, Warren skillfully withdrew under cover of darkness, and joined the main army in the morning on the heights of Centreville. Warren's loss in the BATTLE OF Bristow STATION was * about two hundred in killed and wounded. Among the former was Colonel James F. Mallon, of the Forty-second New York. General Posey, of Hill's corps, was mortally wounded.

At Bristow Station the great race ended. Lee was beaten. Meade was strongly posted on the Heights of Centreville, and was too near the defenses of Washingtonto allow his competitor to gain his rear; so Lee, after pushing a thin line to Bull's Run 'to mask his designs, effectually destroyed the Orange and Alexandria railway, from Bristow to the Rappahannock, and then began a retreat with his whole army. Meade followed him the next day, but could not touch him, excepting with his cavalry. These were almost continually engaged in spirited but not serious skirmishing, excepting in an encounter on Broad Run, near Buckland's Mills, between the divisions of Kilpatrick and Hampton, the latter under the personal directions of Stuart. Kilpatrick was defeated by a stratagem. Stuart allowed him to flank Hampton, when the latter fell back, making way for Fitzhugh Lee to come down from Auburn, and fall on Kilpatrick's flank. This was done. At the same moment Stuart pressed his front, and Kilpatrick was driven back in some confusion, and a loss of over one hundred men made prisoners. The brunt of this heavy skirmish was borne by General Custer's brigade. On the following day, Lee crossed the Rappahannock, while Meade, in consequence of the destruction of the Orange and Alexandria railway, over which his supplies must pass, was unable to follow him further than Warrenton, for about three weeks. The brunt of the encounter fell chiefly on Webb's First and Third Brigades, and Hayes's Third.

· Soe map on page 24, volume II.

Oct. 18.

• Oct, 19.

? See page 72.

106

MEADE ADVANCES TO TIE RAPPAHANNOCK

1963,

In the audacious movement of Lee from the Rapid Anna to Bull's Run, and his retreat behind the Rappahannock, and the foiling maneuvers of Meade, each army lost, in killed and wounded, about five hundred men. The Confederates claimed to have captured two thousand prisoners, besides over four hundred taken by General J. D. Imboden, who, while in the Shenandoah, watching the gaps of the Blue Ridge, suddenly swept down upon

Charlestown, not far from Harper's Ferry, on the day when Lee * October 18, began his retreat,“ seized the post, and bore away prisoners and

stores. He had scarcely secured these, when he was compelled to fall back, fighting a superior.Union force which had come up from Harper's Ferry, all the way to Berryville. There, under cover of darkness, Imboden escaped with his prisoners and spoils."

When the railway from Warrenton to the Rappahannock was repaired, Meade asked permission of the General-in-Chief to move rapidly upon Fredericksburg and seize the heights there, so as to make that point a base of operations against Richmond. Halleck opposed the project, and Meade was compelled to go forward from Warrenton in the beaten track, if at all. He did so early on the morning of the 7th of November, General Sedgwick, with the Fifth and Sixth Corps, composing the right wing, leading, followed by General French, with the First, Second, and Third Corps, composing the left wing. Sedgwick's column marched for the Rappahannock, at Rappahannock Station, and French's moved toward the same stream at Kelley's Ford. Lee, then in position near Culpepper Court-House, had outposts at these crossings.

At Rappahannock Station Sedgwick found the strong works thrown up previously by the Nationals on the north side of the river, and now covering a pontoon bridge, occupied by about two thousand men, of Early's division of Ewell's corps, under Colonel Godwin, composed of Hayes's Louisiana brigade, and Hoke's brigade of North Carolinians, just sent over. These works, consisting of a fort, two redoubts, and lines of rifle-pits, were on a ridge, with an open lowland traversed by a muddy ditch, and a dry moat, deep and broad, between them and the approaching Nationals. Sedgwick reached the vicinity at noon, and behind a hill, a mile away, he formed a battle-line, and then gradually advanced toward the river on each flank of

1 Lee's failure now, as well as in his invasion of Maryland and Pennsylvania, to gain any positive advantages for the Confederate cause, military or political, produced much dissatisfaction, especially among those who hoped for a counter-revolution in the Free-labur States. " Alas!" they exclaimed, in substance, "the golden opportunity is passed. The elections in Ohio and Pennsylvania have gone for the war candidates. We must now rely on ourselves, under God, for independence, for Northern support is a delusion."-See A Rebel War. Clerk's Diary, ii. 80. Early in September, when Lee, driven from Maryland, was lying behind the Rappahannock, a Richmond paper d: “The success of the Democratic party would be no longer doubtful, should General Lee once more advance on Meade. General Lee must turn politician as well as warrior, and we believe he will prove the most successful politician the Confederacy ever produced. Ilo may so move and direct his army (is to produce political results, which, in their bearing upon this war, will prove more effectual than the blood iest victories. Let him drive Meade into Washington, and he will again raise the spirits of the Democrats, confirm their timid, and give confidence to their wavering. He will embolden the Peace Party should he again cross the Potomac, for he will show the people of Pennsylvania how little security they have from Lincoln for the protection of their homes. It matters not whether the advance be made for purposes of permanent occupation, or simply for a grand raid; it will demonstrate that, in the third year of the war, they are so far from the subjugation of the Confederate States, that the defense of Maryland and Pennsylvania has not been secured. A fall campaign into Pennsylvania, with the hands of our soldiers untied, not for indiscriminato plunder-elemoralizing and undisciplining the army-but a campaign for a systematic and organized retaliation and punishment, would arouse the popular mind to the uncertainty and insecurity of Pennsylvania. This would react upon the representatives in Congress, stren ening the Democrats, and mollifying even to the hard shell of fanaticism itself.”—Richmond Enquirer, September 7, 1563.

*BATTLE OF RAPPAHANNOCK STATION.

107

the works, with General David A. Russell's division of the Sixth Corps (the latter now commanded by General Wright) moving upon the center. The First Brigade, under Colonel P. C. Ellmaker, of the One Hundred and Nineteenth Pennsylvania,' was in the van of this division, and when, just before sunset, directions were given to storm the works, these troops gallantly performed the task. They moved forward in two columns, with one half of the Sixth Maine deployed as skirmishers. The Fifth Wisconsin, in solid column, pressed up close behind them, while the Twentieth Maine, of l'pton's (Second) brigade, closed in on the left of the Wisconsin troops, and advanced in line with the Sixth Maine. The gallant Russell now ordered a charge on the strongest redoubt. There was an instant and grand response. With fixed bayonets the van of stormers rushed through a tempest of canister-shot and bullets, followed by the remainder of the First Brigade, and, after a struggle of a few minutes, the redoubt was carried. In that charge the slaughter of the Unionists was fearful, but their effort was entirely successful. At the same time two regiments of Upton's brigade, after firing a single volley, charged the rifle-trenches, drove the foe, and sweeping down to the pontoon bridge, cut off the retreat of the garrison. Over sixteen hundred prisoners, with four guns, eight battle-flags, two thousand small-arms, and the pontoon bridge, were the fruits of the National victory in the BATTLE OF RAPPAHANNOCK STATION. The Union loss was about three hundred in killed and wounded.

While the right column was thus achieving victory, the left was no less successful, but without much struggle. The Third Corps, commanded by General Birney, reached Kelly's Ford while the right column was engaged above. Without waiting for the laying of a pontoon bridge, Birney's own division of that corps, under General Ward, waded across the river, and an -attacking party under General De Trobriand, under cover of batteries, carried rifle-pits and captured five hundred Confederates on the south side of the stream, with slight loss on the part of the victors. The pontoon bridge was then laid, and at dusk the Third Corps was all on the southern side of the Rappahannock, confronting the foe in force. Birney advanced early the next morning to the railway within two miles of Brandy Station, the Confederates falling back before him, when he was ordered to halt.

Lee, who was preparing to go into winter quarters near Culpepper CourtHouse, was alarmed by this unexpected and successful advance of his antagonist, and he prudently resolved to withdraw to a stronger position, for his force did not then exceed fifty thousand men, while Meade's was about seventy thousand. Fortunately for Lee, Meade, whose army was all on the south side of the Rappahannock on the morning of the 8th, did not immediately advance, and, under cover of the darkness that night, the Confederates withdrew beyond the Rapid Anna, leaving the Nationals to take quiet possession of the region the latter were occupying when the retreat toward Washington began." The railway was soon com

Nov., 1963.

Composed of the Fifth Wisconsin, Sixth Maine, and Forty-ninth and One Hundred and Nineteenth Penn. sylvania.

? One Hundred and Twenty-first New York and Fifth Maine.

3 Ward's Third Brigade, composed of Burdan's sharp-shooters, the Fortieth New York, First and Twentietha Indiana, Third and Fifth Michigan, and One Hundred and Tenth Pennsylvania.

+ See page 103.

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