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[166] still fought on, and when compelled to yield ground to overwhelming odds, fell back with a force of about seventy-five men, still returning the enemy's fire, and refused to surrender until fighting was useless.

Lieutenant-Colonel Tate and Major York, Captains McPherson and Ray, and Lieutenant Mebane, of the Sixth, with Captain Adams, of the staff, broke away, and escaped over the bridge in the darkness. Lieutenants Williams, Smith, and Fitzgerald, of the Fifty-fourth; Brown, of the Sixth, with a few others, plunged into the river and swam safely over; but, unfortunately, some others were drowned. Lieutenant-Colonel H. Jones, Jr., of the Fifty-seventh, and Captain White, of the Sixth, plunged in to swim, but the coldness of the water compelled them to put back.

The casualties of our brigade are small in killed and wounded. Adjutant Mebane, of the Sixth, wounded in arm and side; William Johnston, Captain White's company, wounded in thigh severely, though not mortally; Sergeant Crisman, Captain Hooper's company, killed. The brigade is almost annihilated. The Fifty-fourth regiment has only one captain (Paschall) left, with five lieutenants, and about fifteen men remaining. The fragments of the brigade are now collected under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Tate, of the Sixth, and attached to the Louisiana brigade. These fragments now number about two hundred and seventy-five men. This is a serious disaster, so far as our feelings are concerned, but it does not shake our hopes as to success. This sad affair took place in the presence of General Lee and Major-General Early, who had arrived on this side the river.

The loss of the enemy has been serious, as the ground in front of our works was literally covered with his dead. At midnight on Saturday night, General Lee began to fall back. On Sunday morning, he formed the line of battle beyond Culpeper; but although the enemy had forced the guard at Kelly's Ford, and compelled General Rhodes to fall back with a loss of two hundred men killed, wounded, and missing, yet no attack was made on us by the infantry. In the afternoon, the enemy's cavalry attacked General Wilcox's brigade, and were badly cut up. During Sunday night General Lee fell back to his old position south of the Rapidan.

P. S.--Lieutenants Morrison, Lefler, and Maynard, of the Fifty-seventh, are all safe.

John Paris, Chaplain Fifty-fourth Regiment N. C. T.


General Meade's congratulatory order.

headquarters army of the Potomac, November 9.
General order No. 101.

The Commanding General congratulates the army upon the recent successful passage of the Rappahannock in the face of the enemy, compelling him to withdraw to his intrenchments behind the Rapidan. To Major-General Sedgwick and the officers and men of the Fifth and Sixth corps participating in the attack, particularly to the storming party under Brigadier-General Russell, his thanks are due. The gallantry displayed in the assault on the enemy's intrenched position of Rapahannock Station, resulting in the capture of four guns, two thousand small arms, eight battle-flags, one bridge train, and one thousand six hundred prisoners. To Major-General French and the officers and men of the Third corps engaged, particularly to the leading column, commanded by Colonel De Trobriand, his thanks are due for the gallantry displayed in the crossing at Kelly's Ford, and the seizure of the enemy's intrenchments, and the capture of over four hundred prisoners, The Commanding General takes great pleasure in announcing to the army that the President has expressed his satisfaction with its recent operations.

By command of Major-General Meade. S. Williams, Assistant Adjutant-General.


General Russell's congratulatory order.

headquarters Third brigade, Monday, Nov. 9, 1868.
General orders, No. 51.

officers and soldiers: Your gallant deeds of the seventh of November will live in the annals of your country, and will be not the least glorious of the exploits of the Army of the Potomac.

But your General cannot but express to you himself his congratulations upon your success, and his appreciation of your daring and gallantry. To have carried by storm, with a mere skirmish line and a feeble support in numbers, powerful earthworks, a strong natural position, manned by the flower of the rebel army, and strengthened by artillery, would be an achievement that a division of our forces might well feel pride in; but it was not too much for the gallant sons of Maine and Wisconsin.

The hearty, generous, and glorious support of Pennsylvania in the strife should serve to bind yet closer together the East, the Middle States, and the West, and to her troops belongs no small share of our victory.1

Your General felt confident that soldiers, who in camp observe all the strict rules of military life with fidelity, would prove equally reliable in the field; and in this, the first essay of your prowess, you exceeded his most sanguine expectations.

With the actual results of your engagement you are all too familiar to render any recapitulation necessary; but there is the further reflection to offset the saddening influence of the loss of your well-tried and courageous brothers-inarms, that any subsequent attack upon your opponents, better prepared and strengthened as they would have been, must have been attended with a yet sadder and, it may be, a less successful result.

And it is just and fitting here to acknowledge the soldierly conduct and valuable assistance of


1 This brigade consisted of the Sixth Maine, Fifth Wisconsin, Forty-ninth and One Hundred and Nineteenth Pennsylvania.

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