This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 to compel him to retreat. It resulted in the capture of fifteen hundred prisoners, and forced Meade's army back to Alexandria and Centreville. The campaign was an unbroken success, with the exception of a rash and ill-conducted affair at Bristoe Station, where our advance engaged a corps, and was repulsed, losing a number of men and five guns. Thus, without a general battle, a large portion of the state was for the time liberated. On November 7th the enemy advanced upon our force at Kelly's Ford, of the Rappahannock River, effected a crossing, and, rushing upon two brigades who were at Rappahannock Station defending the bridges, overwhelmed and captured most of them, taking between twelve and fifteen hundred men, and four pieces of artillery. The movements of the enemy were concealed by the darkness, and his attack was a surprise. On November 26th the army under General Meade crossed the Rapidan, with the intention of interposing between the widely separated wings of his adversary. Instead of being successful, this movement resulted in an entire failure. General Meade found Lee's army posted behind Mine Run, and ready to receive an attack whenever he was disposed to make it. ‘Meade declared, it is related, that he could carry the position with a loss of thirty thousand men; but, as that idea was frightful, there seemed nothing to do but retreat.’1 Lee had inaugurated that system of breastworks which did him good service in his long campaign with General Grant. When the troops were halted in a wood, the men felled the large trees, heavy logs were dragged without loss of time to the prescribed line, where they were piled upon one another in double walls, which were filled in rapidly with earth; in a short space of time, therefore, defenses which would turn a cannon shot were often constructed. In front, for some distance, the felled timber made a kind of abatis. As General Meade did not attack, General Lee, on the night of December 1st, determined to assail his adversary on the next morning; when the dawn broke over the hills, however, his camps were seen to be deserted. General Meade had abandoned the campaign, and was in full retreat toward the Rapidan. Pursuit was immediately made, but he had too much the start, and reached the north side of the Rapidan before he could be overtaken. Both armies then retired to their original positions. We captured about seven hundred prisoners, four hundred mules and horses, and destroyed or secured one hundred twenty wagons.
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.