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[449] orders to force back the enemy as far as possible. Sharp skirmishing then ensued, the enemy's line gradually retiring before our skirmishers. The right wing of the skirmish-line was commanded by Colonel Bull, of the One Hundred and Twenty-sixth, and the left by Lieutenant-Colonel Baird, of the same regiment, and here it is but just to state that the latter officer won the highest commendation from General Hayes and other general officers for an exhibition of gallantry seldom witnessed on the battle-field.

Colonel Bull, it will be remembered, was dismissed for misbehavior in presence of the enemy at the surrender of Harper's Ferry. Assured of his innocence of the charge of cowardice, he was afterward reinstated by the President, and by the Governor of his State promoted from Major to Lieutenant-Colonel--the position which he now holds in his old regiment. Those of his regiment instrumental in his dismissal, are now ready to testify to his merit as a gallant soldier. At twelve M., Colonel Carroll, commanding the First brigade of General Hayes's division, crossed to the support of the Third, and at five P. M., Colonel Powers, Second brigade, followed.

The position occupied by Colonel Powers's brigade being an exposed one, his command suffered more than any other. It was nearly dusk when the brigade mentioned got into position, and at this time the heaviest fighting occurred. The Thirty-ninth and One Hundred and Twenty-sixth New-York, having occupied the picket-line all day, were relieved by the Fourteenth Connecticut, which suffered more severely than any other regiment engaged during the day.

Some little disorder at one time occurred on the right of the skirmish-line, but it was almost instantly checked by the officers in command. The fight continued fiercely until half an hour after dusk, when the cannonading and musketry ceased, and all was quiet except occasional shots from the sharp-shooters. At half-past 8 P. M. General Webb's Second division was ordered to ford the river to support the Third.

At midnight, General Warren, who had come down to the front in the afternoon, received orders to recross his troops, which he did in good order and without being molested by the enemy. One division of the Third corps--the Second--marched on Saturday afternoon to the support of General Warren; but their services were not needed.

General Alexander Hayes, commanding the Third division of the Second corps, whose reckless daring on many a battle-field has excited the astonishment and admiration of his troops, met with a narrow escape while on the other side of the river.

A rebel bullet pierced his trowsers, burying itself in his saddle, without, however, inflicting a wound. Above the flag of his division is a white silk streamer, presented to him by members of his command, bearing the words: “My God, my country, and General Hayes.” The inscription is indorsed by “the boys,” among whom he is a great favorite. Captain J. C. Lynch, Acting Inspector-General of the division, had the top of his hat blown away by a shell during the engagement.

General Kilpatrick, accompanied by battery C, Third artillery, Lieutenant Kelly, left camp at seven o'clock A. M. on Saturday morning, and, after several feints, crossed at Culpeper Mine Ford, where six rebel pickets belonging to Hampton's Legion were found posted. On crossing, detachments were sent out to scour the country in every direction. Colonel Alger, commanding the Fifth Michigan, was sent on the macadamized pike to Robertson's Tavern; while General Kilpatrick, with the main body, proceeded down the Fredericksburgh plank-road to the vicinity of Chancellorsville, meeting no infantry force, and but small parties of cavalry, who fell back before his advance.

In accordance with instructions, he returned to the vicinity of Culpeper Ford on Saturday night, to await further orders, and was there directed to return to camp, which he did the next day. On recrossing, Major White, with one battalion, was sent up the river, for the purpose of capturing any pickets which might be stationed at the upper fords. He recrossed the river at Jacob's Mills, where four or five videttes were taken prisoners.

General Kilpatrick's reconnoissance conclusively proves that no force of the enemy occupies the country east of Mine Run. The small parties of cavalry all belonged to Hampton's Legion, which is stationed at Fredericksburgh. More than half the videttes have no horses, are seldom relieved, and are sometimes obliged to walk twenty-three miles to their post of duty. The rebels are represented as being engaged in replanking the road from Chancellorsville to Orange Court-House, and are laying out several new roads through the wilderness.

Twelve or fifteen prisoners were captured by General Kilpatrick, and he returned to his camp yesterday evening, without having lost a man during his reconnoissance. At cavalry headquarters last night, no special details of General Merrill's operations had been received, except that he had been to Madison Court-House, and that he was, at the time his courier was despatched on Saturday night, at Barnett's Ford. He had encountered no considerable force of the enemy, and had met with no losses.

The First corps, General Newton, left its camp on the night of Friday, fifth instant, and proceeded to the vicinity of Raccoon Ford. The corps, which was afterward followed by two divisions of the Third, encamped two miles from the river; but no important demonstrations against the enemy were made.

Warren's movements on the left seem to have drawn the main body of the enemy to Morton's Ford; while at Raccoon Ford but comparatively a small body was observable on the opposite bank of the river. Our total loss is covered by two hundred, but a small proportion being among the killed. Nearly one hundred rebel prisoners were sent to headquarters this morning.

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