his dash across the Rappahannock
; while our captures were hardly half so many.
In killed and wounded, the losses were nearly equal — not far from 500 on either side.
But the prestige of skill and daring, of audacity and success, inured entirely to the Rebel
commander, who, with an inferior force, had chased our army almost up to Washington
, utterly destroyed its main artery of supply, captured the larger number of prisoners, destroyed or caused us to destroy valuable stores, and then returned to his own side of the Rappahannock
essentially unharmed; having decidedly the advantage in the only collision which marked his retreat.
Nettled by the trick which had been played upon him, Meade
now sought permission to make an attempt, by a rapid movement to the left, to seize the heights of Fredericksburg
; but Halleck
negatived the project; so Sedgwick
, with the 6th and 5th corps, was sent forward at daybreak1
to Rappahannock Station, where the Rebels
had strongly fortified the north bank of the river, covering a pontoon bridge.
The works on this side were held by Hayes
's Louisiana brigade; while Hoke
's brigade, composed of the 6th, 54th, and 57th N. C., was sent over to support it by Lee
, who, with Early
's division, was just across the river.
Our approach was of course well known, and Hoke
pushed over on purpose to make all secure.
Arriving at noon opposite the Station
, our troops were halted behind a hill a good mile away, rested and carefully formed, and our skirmish lines gradually advanced to the river both above and below the enemy's works; then our lines were quietly advanced over rugged ground till within half a mile of the works; whence a flat, open vale, traversed by a wide ditch, with high, steep banks and three feet of mud and water in its bed, then by a moat 12 feet wide by 5 deep, now dry; beyond which, rose a hill or ridge, directly on the river's bank, on which were the enemy's works.
had command of the 6th corps; while Brig.-Gen. David A. Russell2
commanded the 1st division, whereof the 3d brigade, comprising the 5th Wisconsin, 6th Maine, 49th and 119th Pa., now commanded by Col. P. C. Ellmaker
, of the latter, was his own, and had been carefully drilled by him into the highest efficiency.
This brigade was advanced directly opposite the enemy's works; and Russell
, after a careful observation, reported to Wright
, just before sunset, that those works could be carried by storm, and was authorized to try it.
The next moment, his brigade moved forward in two lines: five companies of the 6th Maine deploying as skirmishers, while the 5th Wisconsin, dashing in solid column on the largest and strongest redoubt, followed close behind them; the 20th Maine, of another brigade, closing on their left, and advancing in line with the 6th; Russell
himself at the front, and giving the order to “ charge ;” whereupon, with fixed bayonets and without firing a shot, the line swept forward through a deluge of case-shot and Minie bullets.
Ten minutes later, the rest of the brigade came up at double-quick to