previous next

[19] right. But they were handsomely foiled by Buford, and for two hours there was very sharp skirmishing, rapid shelling, and admirable manoeuvring by both sides, in the open and undulating fields on our extreme right. A brigade of the enemy's cavalry came down the road which branches off to the right from Beverly's, and made a dash for the ford, but they were too late. A couple of squadrons and a section of artillery interposed. They never got nearer than a mile to the point, and during the two hours that they remained in position they suffered severely from our shells and skirmishers.

At this stage of the engagement, General Pleasanton plainly saw that the division under Gen. Buford was far outnumbered, and much anxiety was expressed to hear from General Gregg, whose column was considerably stronger than Buford's. Word had been received from him at eight o'clock, saying that he had crossed with scarce any opposition, and that he was driving the enemy before him, but his guns had not yet been heard. Matters thus remained in statu quo until twelve o'clock, nothing being done save some artillery practice, which was pretty accurate on both sides. We dismounted one gun of a section that the enemy had on the extreme right, and compelled the enemy to move the other. During this interim the skirmishers of each party would frequently become very annoying. General Ames formed his skirmish line, and they picked off the rebel officers without mercy. Although our infantry were masked by the timber, yet the enemy seemed to know what we had, and always refused to meet them, save by dismounted cavalry as skirmishers against skirmishers. They were very profuse of their shells and canister, however, and opened whenever any of our cavalry approached near enough. Many of our men were wounded by canister-shot, a thing almost heretofore unknown in cavalry fighting.

At one time, on the left of General Ames's brigade, the rebel cavalry skirmishers had advanced and concealed themselves in some bushes, where they were annoying a body of the Ninth New-York. Major Martin, of that regiment, was finally ordered to take a squadron and drive them out. This he most gallantly did, though it was right in the teeth of the enemy's artillery, and he was met by a perfect storm of canister. He captured fifty prisoners, but owing to the severity of the enemy's fire, could bring but a portion of them away. The gallant Major was himself wounded in the shoulder.

About one o'clock Buford again began to press the enemy, and this time he showed evident signs of uneasiness, and soon withdrew his force from our right flank as though he had a fire in the rear. About the same time we heard Gregg's guns, and some prisoners taken from Robinson's North-Carolina brigade just then reported General Russell's infantry advancing through the woods on their right flank and rear. General Gregg, from the sound of the firing, was evidently in the vicinity of Brandy Station. Pleasanton now pushed forward, but the rebels soon gave way, and fell back rapidly. They were in a bad predicament — for Gregg was almost directly in their rear, Russell was on their right flank, and Buford on their front. They therefore made a hasty retreat, abandoning their old camp entirely, part of which we had already occupied, and two regiments were very near being cut off, as Kilpatrick moved off toward the right, to make connection with Buford. They had but a narrow strip of land, not covered by our force, through which to escape.

General Pleasanton's headquarters were moved forward to where the rebel commander's had been, and the lines of the two columns were soon connected.

General Gregg reported that his two brigades, under Kilpatrick and Wyndham, had been hotly engaged all the morning, but had driven the enemy uniformly from the river back to brandy Station. Our troops, especially the First New-Jersey, First Maine, and Tenth New-York, fought most gallantly, and repulsed the enemy in repeated charges, though losing heavily themselves. The artillery with General Gregg also suffered considerably, and the Sixth New-York battery was almost totally disabled. It did excellent service, however. In the charges by General Gregg's column, a stand of colors and over one hundred and fifty prisoners were taken. Colonel Wyndham's brigade captured the heights commanding Brandy Station, and there discovered rebel infantry being brought up by the cars. A portion of it drew up and fired a volley at our cavalry. Another correspondent will give you further particulars about the gallant fighting of this column. Col. Wyndham was shot through the calf of the leg by a bushwhacker, but his wound is not serious, and he still keeps the saddle.

While a junction was being effected with Gregg's column on the left, Buford and Ames were pushing out on the right, and, with Vincent's battery, Buford had by two o'clock carried all the crests occupied by the enemy during the forenoon, and had forced him back over three miles from the river. In these exploits the regulars, especially the Second and Fifth regiments, distinguished themselves by their intrepidity. The Third Wisconsin skirmishers also won praise by the accuracy of their fire, which was fatal to many a rebel.

The fact that the enemy were now falling back upon strong infantry supports, and we being already numerically inferior to them, induced Gen. Pleasanton to consult with his subordinates, and it having been left discretionary with the former to advance or return, it was finally deemed prudent to return, and at four o'clock our forces began falling back. The enemy was not inclined to “pick a fight” on the return, and, save some slight skirmishing, we were not molested. Buford's division fell back to Beverly Ford, and Gregg's division to Rappahannock Ford, a mile and a half below. We brought off all our dead and wounded, and also some of the enemy's, while many of the latter were still remaining on

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Brandy Station (Virginia, United States) (2)
Beverly (West Virginia, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
J. J. Gregg (9)
Abraham Buford (9)
A. Pleasanton (4)
Percy Wyndham (3)
Ames (3)
William C. Russell (2)
B. J. Kilpatrick (2)
Vincent (1)
Frank Robinson (1)
Samuel Martin (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: