and one battery. Nevertheless, I ordered the division to be in readiness to move in line of battle, and the wagons to be parked. Very soon, however, it became apparent that a large force was in my front, and that the enemy was endeavoring to affect a crossing at and above the ford. The division was at once placed in position in the woods with its left flank on the river, near Wheatley's Ford, its right extending towards the road from the ford to Stephensburg; Daniel's brigade remaining on the right of this road watching my right. Before these dispositions were completed the enemy's batteries, from front and flanks, and his infantry along the opposite bank, had driven all of the Second North Carolina to shelter, except three or four companies stationed along the river from the ford to the pontoon site. These companies had slight protection from the musketry, but were very much exposed to the artillery fire. The Thirtieth North Carolina, going to the assistance of the Second, was speedily broken and demoralized, under the concentrated artillery fire which swept the ground over which it had to march. The battery of Napoleons, commanded by Captain Massie, did its best, but could not hold its own against the three batteries opposing it, and was obliged speedily to cease firing. The men of the Second North Carolina, who remained in the rifle-pits at the ford, still kept up their fire, but no opposition now existing at any other point, the enemy crossed in the rapids, just above the ford, and speedily enveloped the remaining force at the ford, compelling it to surrender. After crossing, the enemy's force moved, as I had expected, upon my left, and continued to advance until within long range of my skirmishers. No advance being made on the Stevensburg road, General Daniel was ordered to move his brigade from the right to the left, where he was placed in reserve, and every arrangement was made to give the enemy a warm reception. He, however, halted before reaching the woods, and having by this time laid his pontoons, continued to cross his troops rapidly, and by the time my arrangements for resistance were completed, had massed in front of me too great a force to admit of my attacking him with any reasonable chance of success. Under the circumstances, and expecting General Johnston's division every moment, I determined to remain on the defensive, at least till its arrival. No further demonstration was made by the enemy during the night. General Johnston's division arriving some time after dark, was placed in continuation of my line of battle on the right, the two divisions forming a continuous line from the river to Mountain Run, and in front of my encampment. Receiving orders early in the evening to do so, my division, as soon as General Johnston had cleared the way, moved via Stevensburg to Pony Mountain, where it arrived at daybreak. The losses in the division were as follows:
The missing reported in Ramseur's brigade are confined to the Second and Thirtieth North Carolina, and include fourteen wounded men in the hands of the surgeon not reported by their regimental commanders as wounded, so that the total wounded is fifty-nine and the missing two hundred and ninety-five. It is probable, however, that many reported missing were left in the hands of the enemy, killed or wounded.
The Second North Carolina, under its gallant commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Stallings, behaved very handsomely.
The loss of prisoners in this regiment resulted from Lieutenant-Colonel Stallings holding the regiment in position in order to save the Thirtieth, which had come to his relief on his left, he believing that it had engaged the force which crossed at the rapids above the ford.
The Thirtieth did not sustain its reputation.
It arrived at the mills in great confusion, and became uncontrollable; its leader, Lieutenant-Colonel Sillers, behaved gallantly and did his duty, but many of his men refused utterly to leave the shelter of the houses where he ordered the regiment to fall back.
All who refused were of course captured, and hence the large number of prisoners from this regiment.
The whole line of battle was under artillery fire, and hence the casualties in the brigades of Doles, Battle, and Johnston.
The missing in the brigades, other than Ramseur's, were either deserters or stragglers, probably the latter.
Some valuable officers were killed and wounded.
The most distinguished among these are Colonel Cox, Second North Carolina, who was wounded immediately after his entrance upon the field, and Lieutenant-Colonel Sillers, Thirtieth North Carolina, who, it was feared, was mortally wounded.
In consequence of many of the baggage wagons of the brigades having been sent after forage, and of the want of transportation in the division, a small amount of baggage and a few cooking utensils were left in camp.
A statement of these losses, which were really slight and unavoidable, was forwarded to the commanding General, through Colonel Chilton.
The outpost force at the other fords named herein were withdrawn without loss and in good order.
Very respectfully, etc.,
R. E. Rodes, Major-General