The fight near Kelley's Ford Saturday--further Particulars;
The excited reports circulated in the city Saturday
; about the capture of two whole brigades of Confederates on the Rappahannock
by the Yankees
, turn out to have been greatly exaggerated.
We are enabled, from conversation with a number of wounded officers and men who were in the fight, to give a fuller and more reliable narrative of the affair than has been published.
The fight occurred near Kelley's Ford, our forces being on the further side of the river, and the Yankees
appearing in force to drive them off and force a passage of the stream.
The Confederates engaged were Hayes
's brigade, consisting of the 5th, 7th and 9th Louisiana regiments, commanded by Gen. Hays
; and the 6th and 30th N. C. regiments of Hoke
's brigade, commanded by Col. Archibald
These troops had been stationed on the north side of the Rappahannock
, doing picket service, when, about 11 o'clock on Saturday morning, the drums beat to quarters, and orders were given that every man must fall into the ranks and be prepared for an immediate attack.
In a very short time our outpost pickets and the enemy's skirmishers were hotly engaged, our own pickets gradually yielding the ground to superior numbers.
The main body of the enemy was not long in making its appearance, emerging from the woods, and soon our small force were confronted by overwhelming numbers, estimated at between ten and fifteen thousand.
Then commenced a terrific battle, which continued without intermission from two o'clock in the afternoon till dark, at which time, it seems, we had been entirely surrounded, and a large portion of our troops had already fallen into the hands of the Yankees
The situation becoming desperate, and it appearing that the longer resistance was continued on our side the less chance there would be of escape, orders were given for a retreat, which was done under very great disadvantages.
The bridge crossing the Rappahannock
being commanded by the enemy in such a manner as to render it madness to attempt to cross by that means, the whole of our retreating force took to the river, which they forded.
The number which fell into the hands of the enemy is about fifteen hundred.
We learn that the 6th North Carolina regiment entire fell into their hands, and that about 400 of Hayes
's brigade also failed to escape.
The fight is represented to have been of the most terrific character, and when we take into consideration the great disparagement in the two forces engaged it is remarkable that any of our gallant men escaped at all. For the space of three miles in an open field, we learn, that the ground seemed late.
rally swarming with Yankees, who, to adopt the expression of one of the wounded, seemed to rise up out of the ground.
In this fight their artillery was used with great efficiency, and, unlike what has hitherto been their practice, it was used at shorter range than usual.
Part of the time the conflict was hand-to-hand, and it was in this manner that the most of our men were pressed upon by overpowering numbers and compelled to yield up to them.
It is regretted that our artillery were not supplied with shrapnel shot, as it is believed greater destruction could have been done with them than the solid shot which were used.
Never were guns more stubbornly defended or more efficiently manœuvred, and charge after charge was repulsed before the enemy finally succeeded in capturing them.
At one stage of the battle the impetuosity of Gen. Hayes
led him into the very heart of the enemy's ranks, and before he was aware of it he was hemmed in on all sides.
Drawing his sword and putting spurs to his horse, he dashed through them, and finally escaped capture.
In his flight he leaped a parapet of considerable height, and plunging his horse into the river reached the south bank of the Rappahannock
, of the 9th Louisiana regiment, Lieut-Col. Hodge
, of the same regiment, and Lieut. Col. Terry
, of the 7th Louisiana regiment, were also taken prisoners at on time, but succeeded in making their escape.
Among the prisoners are Col. Penn
, of the 7th Louisiana regiment, and Capt. John Angel
, commanding the 5th Louisiana regiment.
It is also believed that Col. A. C. Godwin
is a prisoner, as on Sunday, the day after the battle, both brigades were under the charge of Gen. Hayes
The list of killed and wounded on our side will probably not exceed three or four hundred, a very small proportion of whom being officers.
, of the 30th North Carolina regiment, received a mortal wound in the right breast.
This officer led his regiment into the fight on foot, and is represented to have showed great fearlessness, and courage.
In the early part of the engagement he received a severe wound in the arm, but refused to leave the field, and continued to cheer on his men till later in the evening, when he was struck the second time, and had to be borne off the field, Capt. John Weatherspoon
, of company K, 30th N. C. regiment, was also severely wounded.
Among the Yankees
it is believed that several General officers were killed, as a short time before the close of the day, and when perhaps the enemy thought they had captured all our troops, a group of mounted officers, evidently prominent leaders, rode right into a party of our troops who were in a ravine, when they immediately rose up and fired.
Not one of them escaped, as they were seen to fall apparently lifeless from their horses.
Previous to this one Yankee officer was seen to fall wounded, and afterwards, in a prostrate condition, continued for several minutes to fire at our men till a well directed shot succeeded in ending his career on this earth.
There was no fighting yesterday, but information was received through the wounded that on Sunday a heavy fight occurred about one mile beyond Culpeper C. H. From all indications we may reasonably look for a renewal of the conflict in a few days on a general scale.
About one hundred and fifty of the wounded were yesterday received at the Seabrook Hospital
, who had their wounds properly attended to, and were afterwards assigned to the different hospitals in the city.