10.-fights on the Rappahannock.
The Third corps was in the advance, and as they neared the ford, they threw out strong lines of skirmishers and sharp-shooters.
, who was in command of the corps, advanced two batteries and placed Randolph
on the right, near Mount Holly Church, and the Tenth Massachusetts battery on the left.
Though the enemy shelled us all the time while our batteries were getting into position, still we suffered very little.
Our position now was a strong one.
A range of high hills rises abruptly along the north side of the river, their wooded crest, and the little brick church peeping out of the foliage giving them a picturesque appearance.
At their base runs the Rappahannock
, while a little way up on the south side of the river are the mill and extensive concerns of Mr. Kelly
, whose son is now enjoying free quarters in the Old Capitol.
Our battery now occupied a sweeping range of the extensive plateau on the south side.
Under shelter of the guns, which were vomiting forth shot and shell on them and forcing them back from the river, the working parties advanced to lay the pontoons.
The First division, commanded by General Ward
, was now massed, and the Third brigade ordered to lead the attack.
They were commanded by Colonel de Trobriand
, native of Britanny, France
, who has displayed the chivalrous daring of his race.
The pontoons were now laid, the enemy's guns were silenced, and the attacking party rapidly advanced across the bridge.
The First United States Sharp-shooters, known as Berdan
's Sharp-shooters, led by Lieutenant-Colonel Trappe
, were in front.
Having gained the opposite bank, the Sharp-shooters, armed with Sharpe
's rifles, deployed and charged the enemy's rifle-pits, and after a brisk fire of musketry, the enemy, finding themselves surrounded on all sides, threw down their arms and surrendered.
Our regiments engaged were the First United States Sharp-shooters, the Fortieth New-York, the First and Twentieth Indiana, the Third and Fifth Michigan, and the One Hundred and Tenth Pennsylvania, but the brunt of the fight fell on the Sharp-shooters.
We captured Colonel Cleason
, of the Twelfth Virginia, who was in command; one surgeon, one major, two captains, several lieutenants, and nearly five hundred privates.
They mostly belonged to the Twelfth Virginia, Thirteenth North-Carolina, and Ninth Alabama, and were skirmishers selected from Ewell
We lost in killed and wounded about thirty-five; the enemy I should think the same.
As Captain Maynard
, Commissary of Subsistence
, was giving a drink to a wounded rebel, he was hit by a stray ball, and died next morning.
This and the fight at Rappahannock Station must have a disheartening and demoralizing effect on the enemy.
One thing is certain: they did not fight with their accustomed desperate bravery, and numbers of them openly expressed their joy at being captured.
Some of the officers even stated that the “rascals did not fight, and only wanted the opportunity of deserting us.”
This tells enough for the war feeling of the South
It was also certain that Lee
was outmanoeuvred this time, for they were taken by suprise, both at Kelleyville and at Rappahannock Station.
Just before we attacked the forts on the north side of the river, General Lee
was over with Colonel Godwin
, who was in command, and gave him his instructions.
He had the pleasure of seeing from the other side his troops captured, without the possibility of assisting them.
The fight at Rappahannock Station.
The Rappahannock Station is protected by several strong forts.
On the north side is a strong fort, two redoubts, and several rifle-pits.
These were protected by a force of nearly two thousand men, and a battery of guns, in command of Colonel Godwin
, of the Fifty-fourth North-Carolina.
They were part of Ewell
's corps, Early
It was about three o'clock when the head of the column neared the station.
A heavy line of skirmishers and sharp-shooters was thrown out to cover the advance of our batteries.
There is a commanding position to the rear of the forts, and here Martin
's and the First reserve artillery of heavy guns got into position and opened on the foe. Just before dark the storming parties — Russell
's and Upton
's brigades, led by General Russell
in person — were formed.
The Fifth corps were now advancing on the centre, and threw out the Fifth division in support of the Sixth corps, and in order to take up a position lower down the river, so as to cover the advance and cut off the enemy's retreat that way.
The batteries now opened fiercely and desperately on one another.
Shot and shell flew like hail across the river, sweeping through the forts on both sides.
The storming party, comprising the Sixth Maine, the Fifth Wisconsin, and the Fourteenth New-York, now rushed on the forts, while a strong party took possession of the pontoon, thus cutting off the enemy's retreat and their
chance of succor.
Our troops dashed into the pits and forts on every side, and one of the fiercest hand-to-hand conflicts of the war commenced.
The troops poured one fierce volley along the forts.
The assailants actually grasped the bayonets of the defenders.
As friend and foe were promiscuously mingled together, the batteries on both sides ceased, and the ringing cheers and shouts and death-groans rung above the sound of musketry.
Men grappled one another in their death-struggles — some fighting with their clubbed muskets, others with their fists.
This fierce and savage conflict continued for about twenty minutes, but our supports were pouring in from every side, and the enemy, finding longer resistance useless, surrendered.
One wild cheer, one wild huzza, informed General Lee
that we were successful, and in a few minutes the Stripes and Stars floated above the trampled palmetto.
Our victory was decisive, and no fewer than four colonels--two of them commanding brigades--one hundred and thirty-two officers, and fifteen hundred men fell into our hands, besides four guns, four caissons, and eight battle-flags.
availed himself of the darkness of the night to effect his escape.
Boston Journal account.
A rebel narrative — capture of Hoke's brigade.