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[745] of the inadequate communication across the river. There was no means of reinforcing them while engaged in the struggle, for the same reason, and there was no opportunity of retiring and renewing the contest, because there was but a narrow slip of land between the works and the river. I must, therefore, exempt my brigade commanders from all responsibility for the disaster which befel their commands. I am satisfied they made the best struggle the nature of the case admitted, and all accounts concur in stating that the men fought with great coolness and courage, and I am informed that the loss of the enemy must have been very severe; perhaps more than ours.

The immediate cause of the disaster was the weakness of the position, owing to defective engineering, the want of sufficient bridges, the want of sufficient artillery in suitable positions on the south bank of the river, and the superior force of the enemy, which consisted of two army corps, under Sedgwick, as since ascertained; the attack of the enemy being favored by the darkness and the high wind. My troops were all that were brought up, but I do not know that any amount of infantry on the south bank of the river could have altered the result, unless by its exhibition the enemy had been deterred from making the effort. I am conscious of having done all in my power to defend the position, but I must candidly confess that I did concur in the opinion of the commanding General, that the enemy did not have enterprise enough to attempt any serious attack after dark, as such attacks are so foreign to his usual policy, and I therefore was inclined to believe that the position would be safe until morning, though I felt there would be very great danger in a night attack, if vigorously made. A different estimate, however, of the enemy's enterprise would have had no effect, as I had no discretion about withdrawing the troops, and, in fact, they could not have been withdrawn with safety, after the enemy had gained their immediate front.

This is the first disaster that has befallen this division since I have had the honor to command it, and I hope I may, therefore, be pardoned for referring to the history of the past campaign, in which the division captured twenty-seven pieces of artillery and prisoners, amounting to more than double the amount of its entire loss on this latter occasion. Those of the guns of the Louisiana Guard battery captured on the seventh, had been previously taken from the enemy by Hays' brigade by actual assault, and the other was brought off from Sharpsburg by the men of the battery, after the enemy had been compelled to abandon it, by one of the brigades of this division, it being the only piece of artillery captured by our troops at that battle.

Accompanying this report are the reports of Brigadier-General Hays and Lieutenant-Colonel Tate, with a statement from Captain Carrington, commanding Jones' artillery battalion.


J. A. Early, Major-General, commanding division.


headquarters Second corps, army no. Va., November 13, 1863.
Respectfully forwarded. Brilliant as have been the services of this division and its gallant commander during the past campaign, it is but justice to the other troops engaged, to say that the capture of the artillery at Winchester, to which I suppose General Early refers, was due in great part to the presence and handsome conduct of Major-General Johnson and his brave division.

R. S. Ewell, Lieutenant-General.

Report of Major-General Rodes.

headquarters Rodes' division, November 13, 1863.
Lieutenant-Colonel A. S. Pendleton, A. A. G. Second Corps, Army of Northern Virginia:
Colonel: I have the honor to submit here — with a report of the recent operations of my division on the Rappahannock.

On the seventh, and for some days previous thereto, my division was camped between the Rappahannock and Mountain Run, about one and a half miles in rear of Kelly's Ford, which, together with Wheatley's, Norman's, and Stephens' Fords, it was the duty of the division to watch. About noon on the seventh, the enemy's cavalry, which had for several days been stationed in small force on the opposite side of the river, was suddenly replaced by his infantry, and immediately his skirmishers were thrown forward to the river.

The Second and Thirtieth North Carolina regiments, of Ramseur's brigade, were on outpost duty at the river. The former, numbering about three hundred and twenty-two effective total, was guarding Wheatley's Ford, three-quarters of a mile above, and Stephens' Ford, one and a quarter miles below Kelly's and Kelly's Ford itself. The two first named fords being obscure and difficult, the bulk of the regiment was placed partly in rifle-pits and partly deployed, so as to command Kelly's Ford, and the site of the enemy's pontoon bridge, used on their former crossing.

The Thirtieth North Carolina regiment, numbering about five hundred men, was in reserve, protecting the solitary battery (Napoleon) under my command. The battery and regiment were about three-quarters of a mile from the river, in the edge of the nearest woods to the ford.

At Kelly's Ford the bluffs are on the extreme side, close to the river, and encircle the ground which my outpost force was compelled to occupy. On our side, the land for a mile or more from the river bank, is cleared and slopes gently to the river. It is necessary to notice these facts to account properly for the losses of the two regiments mentioned.

Upon my arrival on the field only five or six regiments of the enemy's infantry were in sight,

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