miles north of that place on the Sulphur Springs road. On the twentieth, at daylight, resumed march toward Sulphur Springs; reached there at five P. M., without any signs of the enemy in our rear. August 21.--Started this morning at eight, taking the advance of the corps, in the direction of the Rappahannock station, to reenforce Banks and McDowell, who had thus far prevented the enemy from crossing the river at that point, and found a heavy artillery engagement going on. We arrived about noon, and were ordered to rest near Gen. Pope's headquarters until a position in the field could be assigned to me. About two P. M., I was ordered to advance toward the river and take position on the right of King's division. After advancing about half a mile my brigade was divided, yourself, General, taking two regiments along the road, I moving with the other two through the fields. A small squad of rebel cavalry, who had been watching our movements from the edge of the woods in front of us, fled on our approach. Upon arriving at the edge of the woods in front, I halted my column and allowed the sharp-shooters and skirmishers some five minutes advance. I then started my two regiments; we crossed the wood (about a quarter of a mile in width) and halted, finding ourselves on the line of skirmishers, then engaged, established by Gen. Patrick, of King's division. Remaining here some two hours, the enemy making no demonstration, I fell back to the fields in rear of the woods to rest for the night. Meanwhile, you, General, had placed my infantry and one battery in position near the road on my right. Thus disposed of, we rested until the following morning. August 22.--Being ordered to take the advance early this morning in the direction of Freeman's Ford, (about one and a half miles to the front and right of us,) where the enemy had massed the night previous, and were then holding the ford. When within a quarter of a mile of the ford, in order to reconnoitre and select position, I hurried forward, accompanied by my cavalry, and screened in my approach by a thick belt of pines bordering the river. Arriving at the edge of the pines, I halted my cavalry, and accompanied by my staff; crossed the road and ascended an eminence commanding the ford. Scarcely three minutes had elapsed when the enemy opened upon me from two batteries with grape and shell. I immediately hurried my cavalry across the road to a safe position, and ordered my battery, under Capt. Johnson, forward on the double-quick. Too much praise cannot be accredited to the Captain for the promptness and skill exhibited in bringing his battery into position. In less than five minutes after the receipt of the order he had his pieces in action, amid a perfect shower of shot, shell, and canister from three of the rebel batteries, and in ten minutes after had silenced their heaviest battery. He continued engaging the enemy for about two hours, compelling them to constantly change the position of their guns, when his ammunition having given out, I asked for another battery. Captain Debeck's, of McLean's brigade, was sent me, he in turn being relieved in about two hours by a battery of the reserve, commanded by Captain Buell. The enemy ceased firing about three P. M. My infantry, which at the commencement of the action I had placed under cover of the woods on either flank of the battery, had suffered but little, some twelve or thirteen wounded and two killed by shell and canister. About half-past 3 P. M., wishing to ascertain the cause of the enemy's silence, I determined to cross the river, and accordingly sent for my cavalry, (numbering about one hundred and fifty effective men.) I then crossed the ford, sending a company of sharp-shooters across, and, deploying them, ordered their advance up the hill occupied in the morning by the enemy's batteries. In the mean while, going around by the road with the cavalry, I arrived at the summit of the hill, and discovered the greater part of the enemy's wagon-train, accompanied by their rear-guard, moving up the river in the direction of Sulphur Springs. Their cavalry, on discovering us, gave the alarm, hurrying off their stragglers and trains in the greatest confusion. I posted a platoon of cavalry as videttes, at the same time throwing forward twenty of my sharp-shooters, who commenced skirmishing with their rearguard. Being merely reconnoitring, and not having sufficient force to pursue their trains, I ordered my two remaining companies of cavalry into line under protection of the hill. The remainder of the company of sharp-shooters I deployed as skirmishers, ordering them to feel their way into the woods on my left. They had scarcely entered when they encountered the enemy's skirmishers, and from their number and the length of their line, I inferred they had a heavy force to back them. Shortly after they opened to my left and rear beyond the woods in which I had thrown my skirmishers in a heavy infantry fire, which I afterward ascertained was the attack by the enemy upon Bohlen's brigade, which had crossed the river below me. It now being sundown, and not being allowed to bring any force across, I returned my brigade, resting for the night, without changing position. At seven A. M., on the twenty-third, received orders to remove in the direction of Sulphur Springs, bringing up the rear of the corps. When a short distance en route, I was directed to take a road on my left — a rougher but shorter route to the Springs — the main body of the corps having continued on the main road. Coming again into the main road, I found myself in advance of the corps. When within a mile of the bridge across Great Run, I found our cavalry in line of battle behind the woods; upon inquiring the cause, I was informed that the enemy was in force at and across the run, and had fired on them. Upon receiving this information, I passed them with my brigade, and finding the rebel guns in position across the creek, I placed my battery in a commanding position on this and
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
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.