The importance of the victory at Rappahannock Station is revealed by the fact that a special order was issued by General Meade
expressing his own and the President
's admiration and gratitude for the exploit, and especially mentioning the brilliant and successful charge made by the First Division.
It is couched in these words: “To Major-General Sedgwick
and the officers and men of the Sixth Corps participating in the attack, particularly to the storming party under Brigadier-General Russell
, his thanks are due for the gallantry displayed in the assault on the enemy's entrenched position at Rappahannock Station, resulting in the capture of four guns, 2,000 small arms, eight battle flags, one bridge train and 1,600 prisoners. The commanding general takes great pleasure in announcing to the army that the President
has expressed his satisfaction with the recent operations.”
Gen. John B. Gordon
of the Confederate Army says that he was sitting on his horse, not much more than a stone's throw from the river, when the charge upon the entrenchments began, and that neither General Early
nor any other of the officers standing there expected the “brilliant success” of the charging force.
Their confidence no doubt was based on the fact that the regiments in the fortifications were all veterans of many battles.
The North Carolina regiments had been in Pickett
's famous charge at Gettysburg
, and the Louisiana
troops had won the title of the “Louisiana
Tigers” by their previous savage fighting.
On the same afternoon the Third Corps, a little farther down the river, had succeeded in forcing a crossing of the river and occupied the earthworks of the enemy with the capture of 400 prisoners.
The Fifth Corps, on the right of the Sixth, came