field into the woods and took several hundred prisoners and a large number of arms.
During the action, the cavalry had been operating on the flanks, Kilpatrick's division on the left, and Gregg's division on the right.
Both divisions displayed much gallantry and suffered heavy loss.
The scope of this work does not permit the recital of the details of the numerous cavalry affairs; but I cannot forbear to mention the very spirited attack on Hood's right by the brigades of Farnesworth and Merritt, operating on the left flank of the army.
Farnesworth, with the First Vermont and First Virginia Cavalry, cleared a fence in his front, sabred the enemy behind it, and then rushed on the second line and up to the muzzles of the guns, where most of them fell, and their gallant leader at their head.
When the shattered columns of attack returned to their lines on Seminary Ridge, it was clear to Lee that the attempt to break through the Union position was hopeless.
The troops went back m
f this enterprise, the Army of the Potomac was to make a demonstration across the Rapidan.
The raiding column, under command of Brigadier-General Wistar, left New Kent Courthouse on the 5th of February, and reached the Chickahominy at Bottom's Bridge on the following day. The 7th, in obedience to orders from Washington, General Sedgwick, temporarily commanding the Army of the Potomac in the absence of General Meade, threw Kilpatrick's cavalry division across the Rapidan at Ely's Ford, and Merritt's division at Barnett's Ford, while, at a point between, two divisions of the Second Corps made the passage at Germanna Ford by wading.
The Confederates held their positions, and considerable skirmishing took place during the day. The troops remained on the south bank until the time fixed for the termination of General Butler's movement, when they were withdrawn.
The raiding scheme resulted in nothing.
General Wistar found Bottom's Bridge blockaded, and after reconnoitring the position,
ncing two miles beyond that point, at about three A. M. of the 8th, he was again detained by the cavalry division of General Merritt, which had the day before, and up to a late hour of the night, been engaged in fighting and driving the cavalry of Salry escort of General Meade, and on reaching a point two miles beyond Todd's Tavern, were retarded about three hours by Merritt's cavalry endeavoring to clear the way for us. They gave it up about six A. M. (May 8th), and got out of our way.—Warren: Notes on the Rapidan Campaign. Merritt, after two or three hours of ineffectual effort, gave way to Warren, who advanced to clear his own path.
It was by this time broad daylight.
A couple of brigades of the advance division, under Robinson, wery under Sheridan during its raid on Lee's communications.
This column, consisting of portions of the three divisions of Merritt, Wilson, and Gregg,
The dismounted men and those with worn and jaded animals were ordered to remain and guard the tra
t, covered on that flank by Wilson's cavalry division, the Nineteenth Corps in the centre, and the Kanawha infantry on the right.
The latter flank was covered by Merritt's division of cavalry.
Averill's division of cavalry, which had pressed down on the retreating Confederates from the direction of Bunker Hill, succeeded in closiand the Sixth Corps, for the time under Ricketts, on the right.
The latter corps was posted somewhat in rear and in reserve.
The cavalry divisions of Custer and Merritt guarded the right flank; that of Averill (at this time under Powell) guarded the left, and picketed the whole line of the North Fork of the Shenandoah from Cedar pressed the left most vigorously, wedging in as though in the endeavor to cut off the Union force from its line of retreat to Winchester, the cavalry divisions of Merritt and Custer were transferred to that flank.
At length, when Middletown, the first village north of Strasburg and about five miles from that place, was reached, li
umphreys: Report of Operations.
Early on the morning of the 30th of March, I directed General Merritt to send the first division, Brigadier-General Devin commanding, to gain possession of the Five Forks, or White Oak rring this day, aggravating the swampy nature of the ground, and rendering the movement of troops almost impossible.
General Merritt's reconnoissance developed the enemy in strong force on the White Oak road, in the vicinity of Five Forks, and thereto bring forward the Fifth Corps, for the employment of which he devised a beautiful tactical manoeuvre.
He ordered General Merritt, while holding the enemy in front with the cavalry, to demonstrate as though he aimed to turn the Confederate right,nd Johnson fled westward from Five Forks, pursued for many miles, and until long after dark, by the mounted divisions of Merritt and McKenzie.
The trophies of the day included many colors and guns and above five thousand prisoners, of which number