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[740] It was not known whether this demonstration was intended as a serious attack, or only to cover the movement of the force that had crossed at Kelly's Ford, but the lateness of the hour and the increasing darkness induced the belief that nothing would be attempted until morning. It was believed that our troops on the north side would be able to maintain their position if attacked, and that in any case they could withdraw, under cover of the guns on the north, the location of the pontoon bridge being beyond the reach of a direct fire from any position occupied by the enemy.

As soon, however, as it became dark enough to conceal his movements, the enemy advanced in overwhelming numbers against our rifletrenches, and succeeded in carrying them in the manner described in the reports of Generals Early and Hays.

It would appear from these reports, and the short duration of the firing, that the enemy was enabled to approach very near the works before being seen. The valley in our front aided in concealing his advance from view, and a strong wind effectually prevented any movement from being heard. It was essential to the maintenance of the position under these circumstances, that sharpshooters should have been thrown forward to give early information of his approach, in order that he might be subjected to fire as long as possible, but it is not stated that this precaution was taken. The breaking of the enemy's first line and the surrender of part of it, as described in the reports, also contributed to divert attention from the approach of the second and third, and enabled them to press into the works. No information of the attack was received on the south side of the river until too late for the artillery there stationed to aid in repelling it, and it does not appear that the result would have been affected, under the circumstances, by the presence of a larger number of guns. The artillery in the works at the south end of the bridge was relied upon to keep it open for the retreat of the troops, as it could sweep the crest of the opposite hill at short range. The darkness of the night, and the fear of injuring our own men who had surrendered, prevented General Early from using it. The bridge, however, seems to have remained accesable to the troops on the left, up to the last moment, as Lieutenant-Colonel Tate, with a few men, crossed just before it was fired, by order of General Early.

The suggestions above mentioned afford the only explanation I am able to give of this unfortunate affair, as the courage and good conduct of the troops engaged have been too often tried to admit of question.

The loss of this position made it necessary to abandon the design of attacking the force that had crossed at Kelly's Ford, and the army was withdrawn to the only tenable line between Culpepper Court-house and the Rappahannock, where it remained during the succeeding day. The position not being regarded as favorable it returned the night following to the south side of the Rapidan. The loss of General Rodes at Kelly's Ford was five killed, fifty-nine wounded, and two Hundred and ninety-five missing. General Early's loss, including that of the artillery, was six killed, thirty-nine wounded, and sixteen hundred and twenty-nine missing. Some reported as missing were probably killed or wounded and left in the hands of the enemy, and others failed to report to their commands.

Among the wounded were Colonel Cox, of the Second North Carolina, and Lieutenant-Colonel Sillars, of the Thirtieth, the latter, it is feared, mortally.

I forward herewith the reports of Generals Rodes and Early, the latter enclosing those of General Hays and Lieutenant-Colonel Tate, of Hoke's brigade.

A map of the locality is also annexed.

Very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

R. E. Lee, General.

Report of Lieutenant General Ewell.

headquarters Second corps, A. N V., November 13, 1863.
Colonel R. H Chilton, Chief of Staff:
Colonel: I have the honor to enclose the report of Major-General Early, in reference to the attack on the tete-de-pont on the Rappahannock, near the railroad, on the seventh instant.

I received information that the enemy was moving on Kelly's Ford in force, and had turned my whole attention to that point, towards which two divisions were moving, knowing that both the General commanding and Major-General Early were at the tete-de-pont, and as I heard no report of artillery or other indications of an attack, I did not visit it. I had paid frequent visits to the works at the tete-de-pont, where much labor had been bestowed.

I differ from Major-General Early as to the necessity for more artillery, the darkness and nature of the ground making what was there of but little use in the final attack, and I think the same would have been the case had there been more.

I have the honor to be, Colonel,

Very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

R. S. Ewell, Lieutenant-General.

Report of Major-General Early.

Headqucaters Early's division, November 11, 1863.
Lieutenant-Colonel A. S. Pendleton, A. A. General Second Corps, A. N. Va.:
Colonel: I submit the following report of the circumstances attending the storming of our advanced work across the Rappahannock, at Rappahannock Station, and the capture of a battery and a large portion of two brigades of this division, by the enemy, on the seventh instant.

Having received, on the fifth, an order to relieve

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