was moving a large infantry force in that direction. Leaving Chambliss in front of the enemy where I then was, I marched the remainder of the command, Fitz Lee in advance, directly to Madden's, where we pierced the enemy's column, while marching, and scattered it, taking possession of the road and capturing a number of prisoners, which enabled us to develop their strength and designs, as we captured prisoners from three army corps: the Eleventh, (Howard's,) Twelfth, (Slocum's,) and the Fifth, (Mead's,) and soon after learned that the column had marched direct for Germana Ford. These items were telegraphed to the commanding General. Colonel J. Lucius Davis, near Beaver Dam, had been telegraphed early that day to move his forces at once to occupy and hold the Rapidan Fords, but I had no assurance that the order would be obeyed with sufficient promptness to accomplish the object, and as there was no cavalry on the left flank of the main army, it was indispensably necessary to move round to get in front of the enemy moving down upon Fredericksburg, delay him as much as possible, and protect our left flank; besides, while in the execution of this design, I received instructions from the commanding General to give necessary orders about public property along the railroad, and swing around to join his left wing, delaying the enemy as much as possible in his march. The brigade of General Fitz Lee was put en route, in a jaded and hungry condition, to Raccoon Ford, to cross and move round to the enemy's front. General W. H. F. Lee, with the two regiments, the Seventh and Thirteenth, under his command, was directed to move by way of Culpeper, to take up the line of the upper Rapidan, and look out for Gordonsville and the railroad. Couriers had been, by direction, sent to Ely's and Germana to notify our parties there of the enemy's advance, but were captured, and consequently the parties at those points received no notice. By the good management of Captain Collins, however, (now Major Fifteenth Virginia cavalry,) the enemy was checked for some time at Germana, and his wagons and implements saved, though some of his men were captured. A strong party of sharpshooters was left to hold the road of the enemy's march as long as possible, and these follow on, which was done, the party maintaining their position until eleven o'clock at night, when the enemy advanced and compelled them to retire. Despatches captured showed that trains of wagons and droves of cattle accompanied the expedition, and the men were already supplied with five days rations in haversacks. These items placed it beyond doubt that the enemy was making a real movement to turn Fredericksburg. Crossing the Rapidan that night, the main body of cavalry was halted to rest a few hours, having marched more than half the night, and one regiment, Colonel Owen, was sent on to get between the enemy and Fredericksburg and impede his progress. Early the next day, (Thursday, April thirtieth,) Owen having reached the Germana road, on the Fredericksburg side, kept in the enemy's front, while the remainder kept on the enemy's right flank, opened on his column at Wilderness tavern, delaying his march until twelve M., and causing several regiments of infantry to deploy in line of battle to meet us. Hearing that the enemy had already reached Chancellorsville by the Ely's Ford road, I directed my march by Todd's tavern for Spottsylvania Court-House. Night overtook us at Todd's tavern, and anxious to know what the commanding General desired me to do further, I left the command to bivouac here, and proceeded with my staff towards his headquarters, near Fredericksburg, but had not proceeded a mile before we found ourselves confronted by a party of the enemy double our own, directly in our path. I sent back hastily for a regiment, which, coming up, (Fifth Virginia cavalry, Colonel Tyler,) attacked and routed the party. But, in the mean time, another body of the enemy's cavalry came in rear of the Fifth. Receiving notice of this, I gave orders to withdraw the Fifth from the road, and sent for the brigade to push on at once. This was done, and by the bright moonlight a series of charges routed and scattered this expedition, which had penetrated to within a mile or two of Spottsylvania Court-House. It has been since ascertained that this expedition was by no means an insignificant affair, and but for the timely arrival of this cavalry on the spot, and its prompt and vigorous action, might have resulted disastrously. Artillery, as well as trains, were passing Spottsylvania unprotected at the time. With very little rest, without waiting for rations or forage, this noble little brigade, under its incomparable leader, were in the saddle early the next morning, and moving on Jackson's left flank during the entire day, (May first), and swinging around to the left to threaten the enemy's rear. On the morning of May second, the cavalry of this brigade was disposed so as to clear Jackson's way in turning the enemy's right flank and to cover the movement of this corps, masking it on its right flank. This was done most successfully, driving off the enemy's cavalry whenever it appeared, and enabled Jackson to surprise the enemy. In the subsequent operations attending the battle and glorious victory, the cavalry did most essential service in watching our flanks, and holding the Ely's Ford road in the enemy's rear, Wickham and Owen being on the extreme right. The horse artillery kept pace with the infantry in the battle of the Wilderness, leading the attack of artillery. Too much praise cannot be awarded the brave men who thus bore fatigue, hunger, loss of sleep, and danger without a murmur. The operations of Brigadier-General W. H. F. Lee, with his handful of men, are embraced in the memoranda furnished by him. His report is not only satisfactory, but gives evidence of sagacity and good conduct throughout, and of great efficiency on the part of his command. The result shows that the disposition made of these two commands was absolutely necessary. Jones's brigade was entirely out of reach, and Hampton was south of James river recruiting. That Stoneman, with a large cavalry force, was allowed to penetrate into the heart of the State, though comparatively harmless
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Doc . 62 .-Hoisting the Black flag — official correspondence and reports.
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