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[741] the brigade of Johnson's division which was on picket at Rappahannock Station, by a brigade from my division, on the morning of the sixth, I ordered Brigadier-General Hays to send his brigade to the point indicated, at the time specified, under the command of Colonel Penn, of the Seventh Louisiana regiment, as the General himself was then engaged on a court of inquiry, at that time sitting. Colonel Penn accordingly moved with the brigade to the station on the morning of the sixth, and relieved Walker's brigade of Johnson's division. My camp was fully five (5) miles from the point picketed, and I received no report from Colonel Penn on the sixth; but on the seventh, a little before two P. M., I received a despatch from him stating that the enemy was advancing on him, with infantry and cavalry, in force. I immediately sent a despatch by signal both to General Lee and Lieutenant-General Ewell, to the following effect:

for General Lee and General Ewell: Colonel Penn, commanding Hays' brigade, on picket at the bridge, reports the enemy advancing on him, with infantry and cavalry, in force. I shall move down at once.

And without awaiting orders, I directed my other brigades to get ready as quick as possible, and march to the bridge as rapidly as they could. The men were engaged at the time in building and making preparations for building huts, and the consequence was it required some time to get them together, though this was done with all the despatch practicable.

I started to the river in advance of the brigades, and at Brandy Station received another despatch, informing me that the enemy was in line of battle still in his front, and that a force was moving towards Kelly's Ford, with a train of wagons and ambulances. I sent this despatch to General Lee, by Mr. Hairston, a volunteer Aid, and at the same time sent my Adjutant-General, Major Daniel, to meet General Ewell, who, I was informed, was coming up to Brandy, and communicate to him the contents of the despatches I had received, and my movements. Before reaching the river I was overtaken by General Lee, who had not received my despatch by signal, though it reached General Ewell. General Lee and myself proceeded together to the river, where we arrived about, or a little after, three o'clock. Crossing over myself to the position occupied by Colonel Penn, on the north of the river, I ascertained that a heavy force was in line something like a mile or more in front, and extending some distance both to the right and left.

This force, preceded by a heavy line of skirmishers, was gradually, but slowly, and very cautiously, moving up towards our position. Our skirmishers were then some distance out to the front, and on the right and left, and the trenches were occupied by the remainder of Colonel Penn's force, which, however, was manifestly too small for the length of the works. Green's battery of four rifled guns occupied two works on the right of the pontoon bridge, one being an enclosed redoubt and the other an open work, consisting of a curtain with two short flanks or wings.

The works on the north side of the river were, in my judgment, very inadequate, and not judiciously laid out or constructed. They consisted of a rifle-trench on the right circling round to the river; then the enclosed redoubt spoken of, which was constructed by the enemy to be used against a force approaching on the south side, which had been turned, but sloped towards the enemy; then there was another short rifle-trench, then the open work spoken of, the curtain and flanks of which were pierced with four embrasures near the angles, and with such narrow splays as to admit of a very limited fire. It had been originally a lunette, constructed by our troops, and the enemy had cut off the angle and filled up the ditches, and constructed an epaulement, which operated as a curtain, connecting the two flanks, and was so arranged as to place guns in barbette on the side opposite to the river, and a trench was made on the side next to the river, which prevented guns from being mounted in barbette on that side. The consequence was it was of very little value, as the guns placed in the embrasures had very limited range, leaving dead angles at some of the most important points. To the left of this work a rifle-trench extended some distance, running down the slope of the ridge next to the river, and extending through a piece of woods on the left to the river bank. The whole of this rifle-trench in front of the bridge, and for some distance to the left, was in full view of the bridge, and in short musket range of it, so that the enemy, coming up to the trench, could command the bridge, and make use of the embankment as a protection. For a good portion of the rifletrench on the left it was so far down the slope that the enemy might get within very short musket range before he could be seen by our men in the trenches. There was no ditch on the outside of the work. On the right the railroad embankment afforded a safe cover for the approach of the enemy to within a short distance of the work, and through this was a passway for a road, which would enable a force coming under its cover to debouch suddenly upon the works at a very assailable point, and there had been no effort made to obstruct this passage. To remedy the danger afforded by the cover of the railroad embankment, pits for guns on the south side of the river had been constructed, but they were not occupied. In the rear of the whole line of the work a dam made the river too deep for fording, and one solitary pontoon bridge afforded the only means of communication with the southern bank, and the only avenue of escape in case of disaster. I am thus particular in describing the character of these works in order that the difficulties under which a part of my command labored, in the strait to which it was subsequently reduced, may be appreciated.

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