We remained quiet the rest of the day and the first day of December, during which time the rebels continued, like sensible leaders, to strengthen and enlarge their fortifications, improving the leisure and security afforded them by our inactivity at all points. Our whole army fell back from their position on the night of December first. We began to retire just after dark, and on the morning of December second, in pursuance of orders from army headquarters, our troops recrossed the Rapidan, the infantry and artillery crossing at Culpeper and Germania Fords, and the principal part of the cavalry at Ely's Ford. The Second corps, General Warren, lost in killed, wounded, and missing, two hundred and eighty-nine men, being engaged on the twenty-seventh, twenty-eighth, and twenty-ninth of November. General H. D. Terry, Third division, Sixth corps, lost about twenty men. It was most unfortunate that General French, of the Third corps, lost his road on the twenty-seventh of November, thereby causing so great a delay in uniting with the forces of General Warren. Another misfortune was the failure of a certain general to relieve the pickets at the proper hour, which aided in frustrating the plans of the campaign. The above lengthy review of our recent movements on the Rapidan is a correct one, my information having been derived from personal observations at the front during the campaign, and the details are from official reports, with full explanations from various staff-officers of the different corps and divisions participating in the operations. I have taken considerable pains to secure entire accuracy, and after submitting this account to the close examination of officers high in command, they have pronounced it authentic.
Richmond Dispatch account.
army of Northern Virginia, Nov. 28, 1863.The enemy have at last undertaken an advance, in good faith, I suppose, and the result has been a collision about eighteen miles below here, on the turnpike and plank road leading to Fredericksburgh. The enemy began his forward movement on Wednesday last. He started on this campaign with eight days rations, which, according to computation, will give out on Wednesday next. The enemy have their force largely strengthened by the return of the troops sent to New-York to enforce the draft, and those sent to Pennsylvania to influence the elections, besides those drawn from the fortifications at Washington. As early as Wednesday last it was evident that there was some move on hand with the Yankee army. On Thursday morning, demonstrations were made at Morton's, Sommerville, and Raccoon Fords; but these were merely to divert our attention while their forces effected crossings almost unopposed (for we had only cavalry pickets at the lower fords) at Jack's, Germania, and Ely's Fords. So soon as the enemy had crossed his whole force, he turned the heads of his columns up the river toward Orange Court-House. The true purpose of the enemy was developed on Thursday evening, at which time they commenced to cross the river, and by Friday morning they had thrown over their whole army at the points designated. On Friday morning a good part of our army, which had been lying around Orange Court-House, moved down the plank road, and it all at once became evident that a battle would be fought somewhere betwen Orange Court-House and Fredericksburgh, and most probably in the vicinity of the Chancellorsville battle-ground. On Friday, about ten o'clock, skirmishers from Johnson's division, which was the head of Ewell's column, came up with the enemy, who were advancing up the road leading from the Fredericksburgh turnpike to Raccoon Ford, about a mile below Bartley's Mill, in Spotsylvania County, some eighteen miles below Orange Court-House, and some twenty-two miles above Fredericksburgh, and about twelve miles above the Chancellorsville battle-ground. The Louisiana brigade, under General Halford, first became engaged, and afterward the whole division of General E. Johnson, consisting of the Stonewall brigade, under General Walker, General G. H. Stuart's brigade, and General G. M. Jones's brigade, took part in the battle. The force of the enemy engaged consisted of French's and Birney's corps. Skirmishing began about ten o'clock in the morning, and was kept up quite briskly until about three in the evening, when the whole line of this division became engaged, and from this time until night there was quite a severe and brisk fight. During the fight we drove the enemy, who were the attacking party, back full a mile, capturing a few prisoners. The fight was altogether an infantry affair. Little or no artillery was brought into action on our side — we could get but two pieces into position. The enemy, it is said, fired only twice with their artillery. Our loss will be fully five hundred in killed and wounded. Early's and Rodes's divisions also had lines of skirmishers out, which were slightly engaged, but the principal fighting was done by Johnson. It is also said that Heth's division, of Hill's corps, was engaged for a while in skirmishing on another part of the line, but with trifling damage. Of the loss of the enemy I am not advised, but I am now disposed to doubt if it was as heavy as our own. They fought, I am told, quite well, and fired more accurately than usual. There was no fighting to-day, save some slight skirmishing. Our line of battle reaches from the Rapidan across some six or seven miles, at a line running at right angles with the river. Our army faced down the plank road toward Fredericksburgh, and the enemy's line was formed facing up the plank road, with its back toward Fredericksburgh. Among the casualties on our side are Lieutenant-Colonel Walton, Twenty-third Virginia, killed; General J. M. Jones, slightly wounded in head; Lieutenant-Colonel Coleston, Second Virginia, leg amputated; Major Terry, Fourth Virginia, slightly wounded; Lieutenant-Colonel Brown, First North-Carolina, slightly