their aid; but, during those ten minutes, the 6th Maine had lost 16 out of 23 officers, and 123 out of 350 enlisted men; three of their veteran captains lying dead, with Lt.-Col. Harris
, of this regiment, and Maj. Wheeler
, of the 5th Wise., severely wounded.
, of the former, and Lt. Russell
, a relative and aid of the General
, were likewise wounded.
Bunt now the Pennsylvania
regiments rushed in at their highest speed, and the struggle at this point was over; while the 121st New York and 5th Maine, of the 2d brigade, firing but a single volley, swept, just at dusk, through the Rebel
rifle-pits on Russell
's right, and down to the pontoons in the Rebel
rear, cutting off the retreat of the routed garrison, and compelling 1,600 of them to surrender.
Four guns, 7 flags, 2,000 small arms, and the pontoon bridge, were among the captures; Gen. Hayes
surrendered, but afterward escaped.
Two of his Colonels
swam the river.
Several who attempted to do so were drowned.
The whole was the work of two brigades, numbering less than 3,000 men; and most of it of Russell
's, barely 1,549 strong.
And, while no praise is too high for his men, it is not too much to say that the credit of this rarely paralleled exploit is mainly due to David A. Russell
— as capable, modest, and brave a soldier as the army of the Potomac ever knew.
Simultaneously with this movement, the 2d and 3d corps, Gen. French
, advanced to Kelly's ford
; where pontoons were quickly laid, under the fire of their guns, and the 3d brigade of Ward
's division, Gen. De Trobriand
, at once dashed across, Berdan
's sharp-shooters in front, and charged into the enemy's rifle-pits, capturing Col. Gleason
, 12th Virginia, and over 400 men, with a loss of some 40.
Our command of the ford was complete; and Lee
, thoroughly worsted, fell back to Culpepper
that night, and across the Rapidan
Our railroad was then rebuilt down to and across the Rappahannock
, and reopened1
to Brandy Station
; which thus became our depot of supplies.
It was a prevalent conviction among its more energetic and enterprising officers that our army might have advanced directly on the heel of its brilliant success at Rappahannock Station and its seizure of the fords, and caught that of the enemy dispersed in Winter cantonments or compelled it to fight at disadvantage before it could be concentrated and intrenched in a strong position.
, however, with his habitual caution, waited till the bridge at Rappahannock Station was rebuilt, and every thing provided for moving safely; when, finding that he was not assailed nor likely to be, he again gave2
the order to advance.
A storm forthwith burst, which dictated a delay of three days; after which, the start was actually made: Gen. French
, with the 3d corps, followed by Sedgwick
, with the 6th, crossing the Rapidan
at Jacob's mill; Gen. Warren
, with the 2d, at Germania ford — both moving on Robertson
's tavern ; while Sykes
, with the 5th, followed by Newton
, with two divisions of the 1st, crossed at Culpepper ford, and Gregg
, with a division of cavalry, crossed at Ely