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[323] and Fifth Connecticut, and ten pieces of artillery, filed rapidly through the village of Culpeper Court-House to the gay music of its four splendid bands, its appearance was the theme of admiration of the many experienced officers of the staffs of Generals Pope and McDowell, who went over from their encampments near by to see it start out. They one and all declared that they never saw troops with more reliable fight in them, and predicted that should they engage the enemy they would win a name to endure as long as the history of the war itself. The result proved the correctness of their judgment. Crawford proceeded rapidly to the front, and occupied a position about seven miles from Culpeper Court-House, immediately in rear of the line of Bayard's cavalry.

Shortly after ordering Crawford, General Pope also ordered the rest of Banks's corps to move rapidly from Hazel River bridge, near Griffinsburgh, nine miles from Culpeper Court-House, where it had arrived the night before, to the scene of expected conflict.

By eight o'clock P. M. the head of Gen. Banks's column was descried marching around the village to its destination, which it reached before midnight. That point was immediately in the rear of Crawford. Major-Gen. Sigel was also at the same time ordered up from Sperryville, and by a forced march of twenty miles his advance reached the village by daylight.

Throughout Friday night and Saturday forenoon Bayard continued skirmishing with the enemy's advance, until the latter, at two o'clock P. M., had progressed to within long range of Crawford's artillery. At four P. M. the enemy developed a heavy increase of artillery, when a portion of that of Gen. Banks came up, and went into the action, there not being room enough in the position occupied by our forces for bringing the whole of it into play. The contending forces at the opening of the battle were apparently about a mile and more apart, the rebels showing their front upon Slaughter's Mountain, a sugarloaf eminence, situated two miles to the west of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad at Mitchell's station. Our front was on much lower ground, with Cedar Run in our rear and a small wooded ridge behind that.

Gradually, from four to six P. M., the rebels opened new batteries from the woods surrounding the basin or plain lying between the fronts of the two contending forces, each succeeding one being nearer to our position than the former. Thus they played a cross-fire from both sides, as well as a direct front one, upon our troops, including the most of Gen. Banks's infantry, that had been put in line for the conflict. So annoying was this fire that attempts were made to take the batteries nearest at hand by charges. Thus Bayard's cavalry, in a gallant charge, is said to have succeeded in taking two of the rebel guns, with no loss to speak of. Subsequently, at six P. M., in pursuance of orders, portions of Augur's and Williams's divisions of infantry, including Crawford's and Gordon's brigades, made three most desperate bayonet-charges upon the rebel artillery. They were, however, each time received by a very heavy infantry fire, slaughtering them fearfully. That they should have persevered to make three successive charges, in the face of such a deadly fire from so superior numbers, concealed in woods, is really the wonder of the war. These charges developed the fact that the enemy actually engaged greatly outnumbered our forces, about seven thousand, in action.

Being thus informed of the location of the main body of the rebel infantry, our artillery played sad havoc with them, driving decimated regiment after regiment back into the shelter of the dense forest, to have their places instantly occupied by fresh regiments, to be decimated in the same way. Among others this fire killed the rebel Generals Winder and Trimble. The arm of the former was torn off by a shell, and he died very shortly afterward from the flow of blood, and Trimble was knocked dead from his horse by the explosion of a shell.

Having put the forces of McDowell and Sigel in rapid motion for the field of action, Gen. Pope, with his staff, accompanied by General McDowell and his staff, immediately proceeded together from their headquarters to the front. As they passed Ricketts's division, and the head of Sigel's army corps, that lined the road for the whole six miles, each regiment halted for the instant, wheeled into line, and gave Gen. Pope three cheers and a tiger, and then, wheeling again into marching column, pushed forward with signal eagerness for the fray.

At seven o'clock P. M., Generals Pope and McDowell reached the thickest of the fight, and the advance-guard of Ricketts, coming up at the same time, took position immediately in the rear of that occupied by Gen. Banks's corps.

There being no room on the field for deploying more troops of ours than were under Banks, those of Ricketts could not get into actual action before night came on, which for some hours prevented further fighting. In the course of the engagement our forces engaged had retired perhaps a mile from the position in which they commenced the battle at four o'clock P. M., the rebels advancing slowly as we receded before them. This movement on the part of Gen. Banks, notwithstanding his heavy loss and the overwhelming force opposed to him, was as regularly conducted as though he was executing an evolution of a dress parade. Not a man of his corps — or, indeed, of any other — showed the white feather, nor did a man even straggle to the rear to the distance of more than half a mile, where stood a provost-guard of Ricketts's corps, bayonet in hand, to check any, if there should be, disposed to skulk off the field. Hundreds of our wounded passed up, limping or being carried to the hospitals established in the rear, and in not one of them retaining consciousness did we discover aught but the most undaunted eagerness to prosecute the engagement.

We left the field at eight o'clock for the night, in course of which, at midnight, a discharge from

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N. P. Banks (14)
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