previous next

Doc. 48.-the battle of Bristoe Station.

Report of General A. P. Hill.1

headquarters Third army corps, October 26, 1863.
Colonel R. H. Chilton, A. A. and I. General, Army of Northern Virginia:
Colonel: I have the honor to state that on the morning of the fourteenth instant, I left my camp, one mile distant from Warrenton, on the Amissville turnpike, at five o'clock A. M., and in obedience to orders from the General commanding, “took the Warrenton and Alexandria turnpike, until reaching Broad Run Church, then to take the road by Greenwich and on to Bristoe Station.” Upon arriving at Broad Run Church information reached me, from various sources, that the enemy were moving by a road leading from Greenwich to the Warrenton and Alexandria pike, and coming into it a mile below Buckland. The rumbling of wagons, which could be distinctly heard, led me to place reliance in these reports.

General Anderson was directed to take his division down the turnpike towards Buckland, and, if possible, to strike the column at the point where it came into the pike. If nothing could be accomplished there to turn off and rejoin me at Greenwich. In the meantime, I moved on the road to Greenwich with Heth's and Wilcox's divisions, leaving one battery and Scales' brigade at Buckland to guard the train which had been directed to halt there. General Anderson, in the execution of my orders, found the force referred to to be of cavalry, having already disappeared, and that Major-General Fitzhugh Lee had come up with his cavalry on my left flank; Colonel Rosser, of his advance, having skirmished with the enemy, and driven them back, rejoined me at Greenwich, following Heth's division. From this point to Bristoe, we followed close upon the rear of the Third corps, picking up about one hundred and fifty stragglers. Upon reaching the hills this side of Broad Run, and overlooking the plain on the north side, the Third corps was discovered resting, a portion of it just commencing the march towards Manassas. I determined that no time should be lost, and hurried up Heth's division, forming in line of battle along the crest of the hills, and parallel to Broad Run. Poague's battalion was brought to the front and directed to open on the enemy. They were evidently taken completely by surprise, and retired in the utmost confusion. Seeing this, General Heth was directed to advance his line until reaching the rear, and then to move by the left flank, cross at the ford, and press the enemy. This order was being promptly obeyed when I perceived the enemy's skirmishers making their appearance on this side of Broad Run, and on the right and rear of Heth's division. Word was sent to General Cooke (commanding the right brigade of Heth's division) to look out for his right flank, and he very promptly changed the front of one of his regiments, and drove the enemy back. In the meantime, I sent back to General Anderson to send McIntosh's battalion to the front, and to take two brigades to the position threatened, and protect the right flank of Heth. The head of Anderson's column appearing, Heth was now ordered to advance again and carry out the original order. Davis' brigade, of Heth's division, had been detached as a support to Poague's battalion. The three brigades — Cooke's, Kirkland's, and Walker's — advanced in beautiful order, and quite steadily. Cooke's brigade, upon reaching the crest of the hill in their front, came within full view of the enemy's line of battle behind the railroad embankment, the Second corps, and of whose presence I was unaware. The position was an exceedingly strong one, and covered by the direct and enfilading fire of batteries on the rising ground in rear. A portion of Cooke's brigade became hotly engaged, and of course it became impossible to execute his original order to move by the left flank. Kirkland, finding Cooke engaged, also swung around his left, and gallantly charged to Cooke's assistance. McIntosh's battalion had, before this, been ordered by me to take a position overlooking the railroad and station, and in rear of Cooke's left. Poague's battalion was ordered to take another position, and open fire on the battery which was enfilading Kirkland's line. This was not done as quickly as I expected, and Kirkland's line was exposed to a very deliberate and destructive fire. Never-theless it continued to advance, and gained the railroad, clearing it for a time of the enemy. About this time Generals Cooke and Kirkland were both wounded, and their fall at this critical moment had a serious influence upon the fortunes of the combat. Their men were unable to stand the heavy fire which was poured upon them, and commenced giving back, the three right regiments of Cooke's brigade in good order. Walker had crossed Broad Run in pursuance of the original order. Anderson had been sent to the right to look out for the threatened right flank, and no support was immediately available — Wilcox's division not having yet come up. The infantry falling back (the left of Cooke's brigade) passed through McIntosh's guns, and the enemy passing on, the guns, five in number, were immediately seized and ran down the hill, under the protection of the enemy's artillery and line of battle. General Walker, upon being informed of the perilous condition of the guns, immediately sent forward a regiment, and drove off the enemy; but the guns had disappeared. Dark came upon us before new dispositions could be made to attack, and during the night the enemy retreated.

Brigadier-General Posey was seriously wounded by a shell in the early part of the action. In conclusion, I am convinced that I made the attack too hastily, and at the same time that, a

1 see page 540, documents, Vol. 7, rebellion record.

Creative Commons License
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.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
A. B. Cooke (10)
H. Heth (9)
T. T. Kirkland (5)
R. H. Anderson (5)
A. A. G. Walker (3)
Poague (3)
McIntosh (3)
Cadmus M. Wilcox (2)
J. J. Scales (1)
T. L. Rosser (1)
Carnot Posey (1)
Fitzhugh Lee (1)
A. P. Hill (1)
Doc (1)
Jefferson C. Davis (1)
R. H. Chilton (1)
Buckland (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
October 26th, 1863 AD (1)
14th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: