The recent cavalry fighting in Culpeper.
The Lynchburg Virginian
publishes the following extract from a letter which gives the first intelligible account of the recent cavalry fighting in Culpeper
that we have seen:
Last night while we were the only brigade of our corps left on the line of the Rapidan
, near Raccoon ford
, the enemy, I suppose to cover the retreat of his army, attempted, and succeeded in effecting, the crossing of a large cavalry and artillery force at the ford below us. Small as our force was it had to be divided, and one part was sent to aid the cavalry at the lower ford while the rest remained at Raccoon ford
The portion at the lower ford (Morton's ford) engaged the Yankees
at an early hour this morning, keeping them at bay. No demonstration was made against the upper ford, where I was stationed.
The enemy's flank was thus exposed to us. Gen. Fitz Lee
determined to take advantage of this, and about 10 o'clock crossed over at Raccoon ford
with a brigade of cavalry and our force of infantry — about two regiments.
A fine charge made upon their flank relieved our force engaged below, and they commenced retrograding.
They did not, however, fail to offer a stubborn resistance, and more than once our cavalry showed signs of giving way. Our infantry was brought up, and upon the Yanks getting a view of them, they allowed their discretion to surpass their valor, and yielded to the necessity of the case.
Our forces pressed the advantage thus gained, and the Yankees
, not having succeeded in uniting their whole force, continued to retreat.
After this was kept up for a while, they were more successful in getting their whole force together, and in the vicinity of Stevensburg
, a small village, they drew up their lines in a commanding position and offered us battle.
It was a grand sight to see their numerous lines drawn up in battle array on the wide extended plain.
We were in an open field, as level as a floor; they occupying the only eminence in the vicinity.
Orders soon came from General Lee
.) for us to advance and charge them. --There was no flanking, no shelter, no protection whatever to our men, but the manner in which our lines advanced drew encomiums from every beholder.
The charge was made with a cheer.
They delivered terrible volleys of musketry in our midst, and their artillery ploughed through the lines; but there was no halt — no wavering.
Above the din of battle their yell was heard.
On and on went the line — volley after volley was poured against them; but resistance by the Yankees
They begin to waver, and, in a moment more, away go their lines to the rear in one confused mass.
It was a grand sight.
Our cavalry continued the pursuit, our brigade not being hotly engaged again.--The pursuit was continued until we reached Brandy Station
, near which we now are.
A desperate fight occurred at this point between the opposing cavalry forces.
For a while the issue was doubtful, and once I feared a panic in our cavalry.
They rallied to waver no more till the Yankees
were driven beyond the Rappahannock
, at Kelly's ford
A decided victory has been gained by our troops.
The moral effect gained by the movement of our Commanding General
, cannot be over-estimated.
In conclusion, it gives me great pleasure to bear testimony to the valor and fighting qualities of our cavalry.
In the past, they may have acted badly, but not so to-day. --Their conduct in this engagement has been beyond reproach.
It was gallant — worthy of the most chivalrous age.
Our loss has been severe — not so heavy as that of the enemy.
We have captured many prisoners, with their horses and equipments; and what was more to the purpose of our hungry men, a good many boxes of crackers, &c.