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History of Lane's North Carolina brigade.

by Brigadier-General James H. Lane.

Close of the campaign of 1863.

Camped at Culpeper Court-house.

On our return from Pennsylvania we camped near Culpeper Court-house for a short time, where we were once ordered out, on a Sunday, to meet the Yankee cavalry, reported advancing on the Warrenton road. None of our infantry, however, became engaged.

Camped at Orange Court-house.

We were then moved to Orange Court-house, and went into camp in a piece of woods belonging to a Doctor Taliaferro, near the residence of a Mr. Somerville, where we remained doing picket duty on the river at Morton's Ford, until General Stuart's fight at Jacks's shops.

Ordered to Liberty Mills to support cavalry.

We were then ordered to Liberty Mills, as a support to our cavalry, but the brigade did not become generally engaged; that part of it which was sent to guard the road leading to Stanardsville repulsed a body of Yankee cavalry which had been driving some of ours.

Winter quarters at Liberty Mills.

When the infantry returned to Orange Court-house, we were left to picket the Rapidan at Liberty Mills, and soon after went into winter quarters in a fine body of woods belonging to Doctor Newman. Here the brigade established an enviable reputation for good order. Private property was everywhere respected, and the fences around camp and on the picket lines kept in good order. When we broke up camp in the spring, some of the citizens said to me that they had nothing to complain of except the great destruction of timber, which they knew was unavoidable — declared their fences were in better order than they had been for a long time, and expressed the desire, should it be necessary to have troops quartered in their neighborhood again, to have our brigade sent back.

Fight at Bristow Station.

On our march to this place we guarded the wagon train and a part of the artillery of A. P. Hill's corps. At Bristow we formed line of battle on the left of the road, in an old open field, and were under fire, but were not ordered forward. After the enemy retired we assisted in tearing up and destroying the railroad track to the Rappahanock river, and then went into camp near Brandy Station.

Here we remained until after the capture of Hays and Hoke's brigades at the river. We then, with the rest of our corps, formed [72] line of battle near Culpeper Court-house. We were subsequently, on the same day, ordered to the Warrenton road to repel the advance of the enemy's cavalry.

Repulse of the enemy's cavalry on the Warrenton road.

On reaching this point a courier reported that our cavalry was hard pressed and would be compelled to retire. I replied that when they did come back they must do so at full speed. This small body of Confederate cavalry soon after retired as directed and were chased by the enemy. When the Yankee cavalry was in range the battery on the right of the road and the Thirty-seventh North Carolina, from its concealed position on the left of the same road, opened and drove them back in the greatest disorder. Afterwards there was continuous skirmishing with the enemy's dismounted cavalry until nightfall, when we withdrew and returned to our old and comfortable quarters at Liberty Mills.

Mine Run.

While in winter-quarters at Liberty Mills, Orange county, Va., our brigade did picket duty at the bridge over the Rapidan at that point, and on the Stanardsville road until Meade crossed the river at Mine Run.

Here we confronted the enemy, and there was firing on the skirmish line, but no general engagement. At this point the men suffered intensely from the cold. The men, being compelled to lie in the rifle-pits without fires, were relieved every half hour, and yet when they came back they could hardly articulate.

To show how cheerfully such sufferings were endured, I will state that I saw a young rebel in the Seventh North Carolina, barefooted, without drawers, and his pants in front split up to the knee,take off his knapsack, take out an old dirty counterpane — the only thing, by the way, it contained — and when he was in the act of replacing his knapsack upon his shoulders, some three or four merry-hearted fellows ran up, crying out, “Hold on, Jake, hold on, and let us help you!” Yelling and laughing, they helped him on with it, and when he had folded his counterpane and wrapped it around his shoulder, another glorious old rebel, almost as “seedy” looking, who had been sitting with his back against the works, watching the whole performance in silence, yelled out, “Now Jake, you have fortified one end, what are you gwine to do with t'other?” Jake's only reply was a back-step and a double-shuffle, the wind all the while making streamers of his torn pants. This performance was greeted with shouts and uproarious laughter from every looker on.

After Meade withdrew we returned to Liberty Mills.


An amusing order from Colonel Barbour.

Headquarters Lane's brigade, March 14th, 1863.
Special Order No.----.
The colonel commanding has the pleasure to announce to the gallant officers and men of the Twenty-eight North Carolina troops, the success of their worthy colonel in an enterprise of the most hazardous character. After a campaign of less than two weeks, with all the disadvantages of bad roads and limited transportation, his expedition has proved a complete success. After a short and spirited contest, the heart of the fair one surrendered at discretion and the gallant colonel is certainly married. My informant, thoa neither a telegraphic correspondent nor “the reliable gentleman just from the seat of war,” is still entitled to full faith. In consideration of this great success, the colonel commanding, thinks it proper that to-morrow should be set aside as a day of fasting or thanksgiving — either course to be adopted in accordance with the amount of rations on hand.

By order,

will. M. Barbour, Colonel Commanding Brigade.

List of casualties in Lane's brigade-campaign 1863.

names of battles.Killed.WoundedMissing.Total.aggregate.
Chancellorsville, May 2 and 31214959567112172837909
Gettysburg, July 1, 2 and 3        660
Hagerstown, July 13        29
Falling Waters, July 14        42
grand Total        1,640

The loss at Chancellorsville was one-third of the entire command. Entire loss in the “Trans-Potomac” campaign, seven hundred and thirty-one, out of an effective total of one thousand three hundred and fifty-five (1,355), including ambulance corps and rear guard.

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