feed-bags of the horses, carried by cavalry, and repacked on the other side. After halting and resting a short time, General Averill ordered the column forward, and had proceeded but a mile or two, when Fitz-Hugh Lee's whole brigade was discovered, advancing in vigorous style. Our men were immediately brought into position, supporting the battery, which opened at once, while the main body were formed for a charge. Our men had the edge of one strip of woods, while the enemy had a like position in timber opposite, with a wide and clear field between the two. Advancing out of this, and both forces appeared in the open ground, the enemy advancing rapidly on our right, with the intention of turning that flank, and on our left, with the purpose to charge it. Both movements were anticipated. On our right, they were speedily repulsed by the artillery, and on the left, by a gallant charge under Col. Duffie, who led that portion of the column. The rebels stood only a moment, then turned, and fled back into the woods in disorder, leaving their killed and wounded on the field. After re-forming, Gen. Averill again advanced, and took up position a mile or more beyond, believing the enemy would again attack, if opportunity offered. This proved true, and the rebels soon advanced again, this time with their artillery. Their cavalry came upon the charge in admirable style, almost drawing plaudits from our own men; but they were met by a terrific onslaught from the Fifth regulars, and Third Pennsylvania, which turned them back in confusion, they retreating down our line by the flank, which enabled our remaining squadron to pour in tremendous volleys from their carbines, emptying hundreds of saddles, and completely repulsing the whole charging force. They did not molest us again, save with artillery, to which we did not reply, being out of ammunition. General Averill held his position until sundown, and then retired to the north side of the river, without the loss of a man. The enemy's loss is severe, reaching, no doubt, two hundred, as their wounded were found everywhere. Our own loss will not exceed fifty in killed and wounded. It was a square, stand — up cavalry fight, of over four hours duration, and the result proves that our cavalry, when well handled, is equal, if not superior to the enemy. In every instance they fled before the impetuous charge of our men. The following officers were killed and wounded: Lieut. Cook, First Rhode Island, killed. Lieut. Domingo, Fourth New-York, mortally wounded. Major Chamberlain, Chief of General Averill's staff, seriously, in the face. Lieut. Bowditch, First Massachusetts, severely, in the abdomen. Major Farrington, First Rhode Island, slightly, in the neck. Capt. Weichel, Third Pennsylvania, in the leg. Lieut. Wolfe, Sixth Ohio, sabre-cut in the head. Capt. McBride, Fourth Pennsylvania, not dangerously. Lieut. Thompson, First Rhode Island, not seriously. From fifty to seventy-five prisoners were taken in the various charges, including Major Breckenridge, of the First Virginia cavalry.
Richmond Whig account.
To the Editor of the Richmond Whig:The history of the cavalry of the army of Northern Virginia, replete as it is with scenes of conflicts and constant danger, showing a boldness on the part of individuals and masses that has commanded the admiration and fear of our enemies as well as the commendation of our own people, will probably to the end of the war furnish no scene to be so vividly remembered by those who participated in it, or more worthy to be recorded to the honor of our arm of the service and the State of Virginia, than the battle of the seventeenth instant at Kelly's Ford, on the Upper Rappahannock. Early on that morning the enemy attempted the crossing in the face of the sharp-shooters of the Second Virginia cavalry, commanded by Captain Breckenridge. From the rifle-pits this gallant officer resisted their advance, emptying saddle after saddle, and repulsing them three times with heavy loss, until, having expended all his ammunition, and emptying even his pistols, he was compelled to retire, not being properly supported by a detachment from another regiment which had been sent to his aid. Not being able to reach their horses in time, more than twenty of our sharp-shooters were captured here. Meanwhile information of the events reaching our brigade, we gathered our available force — between nine hundred and one thousand men, and moved down to meet the enemy, who had shown the, for them, unusual daring of crossing to our side of the river. Their line of dismounted skirmishers was discovered not a mile from the ford, and judging, from their slow advance, that they might have retained only a small force to guard the ford, while their main body advanced by another route, hoping to get unobserved into our rear. While these events were transpiring far down on the extreme left, the Second, led by Major Breckenridge, chanced to meet the sharp-shooters and supporting column that was rapidly advancing. In the middle of the field a large ditch obstructed their progress, and but one squadron was able to cross in time; struggling manfully, they were compelled to retire slowly, leaving behind them Major Breckenridge, whose horse being disabled, was unable to make his escape. His high spirit was compelled to submit to the mortification of capture. But not with impunity did they advance, relying upon their immense superiority in numbers. The First, supported by the Fourth, came upon the flank of one of their squadrons and nearly annihilated it. Col. Drake won high commendation from Gen. Stuart on that occasion. Still advancing on the left with a heavy force of dismounted men in the advance of their line of cavalry, they forced back the