From the North.
We continue our extracts from Northern papers of the 21st inst.:
The Yankee march to Fredericksburg — Incidents on the Route.
The army correspondent of the Philadelphia Inquirer
writes the following account of the advance on Fredericksburg
As we stated in a previous dispatch, our forces passed through Warrenton
in three columns, Gen. Hancock
on the right, Gen. French
the centre, and Gen. Howard
on the left.
This constitutes Gen. Couch
The ninth army corps, commanded by Gen.
's corps, are under the command of Gen. Sumner
The troops took the direct road to Warrenton Junction early on Saturday morning, and encamped on the evening of that day in the vicinity of the Junction
, and again started early on Sunday morning, making the next camp near the Spotted Tavern
, in Stafford county
being the county we had been passing through.
Nothing of any great moment occurred during the march, except that it was conducted with great order — few or no stragglers to be seen — and such was the rapidity of the march that the citizens of the very few houses to be found were taken by surprise, not dreaming of an advance of our forces.
The countenances of all whom we came across plainly told of their astonishment.
The first place of any name, after leaving the Junction
, was Elk Run
a village consisting of two or three houses, with the usual out-buildings.
A great majority of the dwellings in this county are built of logs, and are very uncomfortable within, invariably being heated by fires on the hearth — not the large fire-places where a quarter of a cord of wood can be used at once, but miserable little fire places narrow and contracted, of just sufficient use to freeze one to death at the opposite side of the room, away from the fire.
The inhabitants of this region are indeed a ½shiftless½ set. The Spotted tavern
is about fifteen miles from Fredericksburg
, and consists of one house with a large barn.
The original tavern was burned down some time ago.
Just previous to reaching this place, where the troops encamped, the marks of a former invading army can easily be traced by fences being down, made through ploughed fields no signs of husbandry, no shocks of corn-fodder standing — all is gone.
First came our forces, then came the Confederates
, away they go, and then our forces again.
All these troops must be fed, and the consequence is the which country is skinned completely out.--as most of the other armies passed in the summer very little fire was used by the troops, consequently very few rail fences were destroyed Now it is quite different; the cold snap has made a fire very agreeable, and as the rails make a quick and hot fire, they are used by thousands, much to the chagrin and discomfiture of the Secesh
farmers.--Last night bright fights could be seen for miles, looking not unlike to a large city with all the street camps and stores lit up.
The day opened on Sunday morning with a dull and heavy sky, giving evidence that a storm was brewing.
By noon it cleared up somewhat, and the sun came cut, warming the chilled atmosphere. --late in the afternoon it again clouded up, the weather becoming quite cold and raw.
The weather all day yesterday was threatening, and quite cool.
In the morning a very heavy fog impeded observation, and drops of it fell like rain.
Once or twice during the morning it attempted to rain, but did not succeed.
Late in the afternoon the sun partially made his appearance.
We all hope there will be no rain until the whole army is en route
for its destination.
Up to to-day the roads have been very good for the passage of an army, but one severe raid of a day or two will make them impassible.
The soil is cloyed in some places, while in many others it is very sandy and gravelly.
The road here and from the Junction
runs on a ridge, and is almost a desert, so far as water is concerned.
What few streams there are running seem to be nothing but muddy pools.
Water is very scarce, and the troops, after the long march, were suffering for the want of it. At the headquarters of General Sumner
there is a well of good water.
The advance guard placed a sentry over this well, ordering him to allow no one to get water from it except an officer from headquarters.
When Gen. Sumner
heard of this order he went to the sentry at the well, in person, and gave him instructions to let all get water who wanted it, at the same time stating that he would rather go without water himself than to let his men go thirsty.
Some of the inhabitants of this almost deserted region have been in mortal fear of the ½Yankees½ for some time past, as they had been told our troops kill women and children, and burn all dwellings — A female at the house used as headquarters, near the Spotted Tavern
, implored us not to kill her or the children, and was most agreeably surprised when she learned that was not our line of business.
She had heard we had been burning and destroying all within our reach.
A number of our troops, while overhauling a wheelwright shop some miles from the tavern found an Alabama ambulance and some 25 shot guns, with patterns for gun-stocks, &c. The guns were rather roughly handled, and the remnants left as mementoes of the past.
It is said upon good authority that there are five Mississippi
regiments and Major Crutch
's rebel cavalry brigade in Fredericksburg
to dispute our crossing.
The 30th Virginia, Col. Cary
, is also supposed to be there, or ready to come, as houses have been cleared to be used as barracks for them.
is a very old town, some of the houses dating as far back as 1717, and some claim a greater antiquity.
A portion of the town has a neat air about it, while the mass of the houses are old and ill-shaped.
There is not a public house in the whole town, or any place for strangers to stop.
The best houses are white frames, while the old antiquities are the old- fashioned bricks, with heavy garret windows.
Very few men are to be seen, but there are an abundance of women and children.
During the silencing of the batteries across the river the utmost consternation prevailed among the inhabitants.
The children seemed very much frightened.
During the early part of yesterday morning a ferry scow, belonging to Mr. Fichler
, of Falmouth
was destroyed by the rebels to prevent our crossing.
The river is fordable in many places, and this will have very little effect in keeping back the troops of General Hancock
's Division and the remainder of the column.
This morning has opened again threatening rain, but our army is safe, the mass of it having got over the roads; in fact, the roads have been first-rate for the artillery and teams.
During the march to this point our troops were in the very best spirits; their merry, echoing voices rung through the forests, raising the spirits of the weary ones in the rear, all hurrying on towards this point.
The two trains of cars that were observed leaving Fredericksburg
last evening carried away with them, no doubt, many a guilty head whose cowardly consciences feared to let them meet the Union
Each discharge of our battery at them, as they hurried away, must have caused their cheeks to blanch at the prospect of receiving a shell in the trains.
The enemy succeeded last night in getting their battery away.
About dusk they brought a limber over a bridge that spans a branch stream, and our battery gave them a parting shot just as night came on.
Light Cavalry arrived in town this morning, and it is presumed they will cross over the river and examine the country.
The First New Jersey Cavalry is also on the scout in this neighborhood.
No sign of an enemy is visible on the opposite shore.
telegraphed to the citizens of Fredericksburg
yesterday that we were coming in two columns.
He was mistaken, as we came in three, with the artillery on the road, making the fourth.
Account of the Shelling the trains — Another history of the advance — the Tribune's Opinion.
The New York Tribune
has an account of the advance on Fredericksburg
, which is dated Warrenton Junction, Nov. 16th. It says:
Onward is still the order of the day, we having, as our part of the great movement now going forward, some to this place to-day, from our last
night's camp near Fayetteville
(In speaking of ½we½ and ½our,½ I refer to the movements of the ninth army corns, under Gen. Wilcox
, to which I am, pro tem,
An attack of the enemy upon the baggage train of the 1st and 2d brigades, (Gens. Negles
.) of Sturgis
's division, yesterday forenoon, which resulted in the death of Lieut Howard McIlvain
, of Durell
's battery, and which came very near resulting in the destruction or capture of a portion of the train, has been already partially described to you by another correspondent.
Being personally in the midst of the engagement, from its commencement to its close, I have waited till now to gather together all the particulars of a rather warm skirmish, which at one time threatened to become a really serious affair.
The first and second brigades broke camp at about 7 o'clock A. M. yesterday, to move from the camp at White Sulphur Springs
to the neighborhood of Fayetteville
, then and still occupied by General Doubleday
, of Franklin
There was a choice of two roads, one of which led back from the Rappahannock
, and was therefore safe from the shot and shell of the enemy, while the other — the most direct route, and considerably more convenient for the transportation of the wagon trains — passed the Spring
and the ruined hotel mentioned in my last letter, and, approaching the river, turned to the left at a sharp angle in plain view of and but a trifling distance from the large mansion upon a hillside on the other bank of the stream, now rendered somewhat famous as the scene of the capture of Lieutenant-Colonel Carruth
and Adjutant Wales
, of the 35th Massachusetts regiment, an account of which I have already sent you.
The road as it approaches the river exposes a column of troops or train of wagons passing over it to a dangerous enfilading fire from the hill, where the house is situated, and after the turn is made, troops and trains moving away to the left, are in range from the hill for some distance, till they are finally protected by hills, rising upon either side of the river, behind which the road winds.
The two brigades had been for some time in motion, and a portion of the train, under charge of Capt. Plate
, Division Quartermaster, had passed the dangerous turn in the road, when our cavalry were seen skirmishing with the rebels in the neighborhood of the house on the opposite hill.
Finally, our cavalry seeing the departure of the troops, formed in a solid square and retired toward the river at the point where the ruins of the bridge crossing the stream was guarded by the 35th Massachusetts regiment.
At the same moment the rebel cavalry emerged from the wood in the rear of the house, formed in a hollow square, protecting two pieces of artillery, which were planted by the house.
A moment more, and a 20-pound rifled shell from a Parrot gun came whizzing along over the line of wagons approaching the river, exploding in unpleasant proximity to the train.
, battery A, 104th Pennsylvania Artillery, immediately took up position, and opened as soon as possible, being assisted toward the close of the engagement by two or more guns of Captain Romer
's battery, L, 2d New York Artillery.
The rebels now got five guns in position, three of them being 20-pound Parrots, and a hall of shot and shell flew over the heads of the train, the troops having got beyond range.
, seeing the danger to which his wagons were exposed, many of them containing ammunition, turned back that portion which had not reached the turn, and they moved to their destination over the more difficult but less dangerous road.
's battery, occupying an exceedingly exposed position, withstood for something like an hour the fire from the heavy 20-pound guns.
Early in the fight Lieutenant Howard McIlvain
was struck by a shell, which carried away his arm, side, thigh, and his hip, laying open his entrails, and causing one of the most fearful wounds ever recorded.
The brave and unfortunate young man lay in most horrible agony, raving from pain a great portion of the time, from the moment of receiving his wound till 8 o'clock this morning, when he was relieved from his sufferings by death.
He said to a friend, as he lay writhing in agony, that he was not afraid to die; he only wished that death might come soon to rid him of the dreadful pain he suffered.
The deceased was from Reading, Pennsylvania
, and had been in service since the opening of the war, having served with Capt. Durell
in the three months volunteers.
In September, 1861 the present Durell
's battery was sworn into the service of the United States
, and has since been constantly employed.
All who have come in contact with Lieut McIlvain
pronounce him a young man of remarkable promise and most excellent qualities, social and otherwise, and one who would have made a noteworthy mark in the world had he been spared.
He is universally lamented in this corps, with which he had been connected since the 11th of last August, and Capt. Durell
mourns in him his best and most trustworthy officer, which is saying nothing derogatory to the other brave men in his command.
While Capt. Plato
(to return to the attack) was turning back that portion of his train which had not yet reached the turn in the road, he observed a squadron of our cavalry crossing the river in retreat, leaving the bridge to be defended only by the 35th Massachusetts regiment in case of an attempt on the part of the enemy to cross and attack us in the rear.
He immediately rode up to the officer in command and ordered him back.
‘½By whose authority?½’ inquired the officer.
‘½By authority of Gen. Sturgis
,½’ replied Capt. Plato
. ‘ ½But there will be a shell here in a moment!½’ said the officer.
‘½I know that,½’ replied Capt. Plato
, ‘½and it's for that reason you are wanted here!
The cavalry turned back.
The next moment the expected shell — the first one of the fight — passed over the train, and a short time afterward occurred the very charge anticipated by Capt. Plato
, which was successfully met and repulsed by our infantry and cavalry at the bridge.
The long string of heavy wagons — many of them filled with ammunition — which had passed the turn now found themselves slowly and toilsomely crossing a boggy meadow, filled with mud-holes and ditches.
Over their heads — the hill upon which our batteries were planted partially protecting them — flew the rebel missiles, many of them bursting directly over the train.
Some wagons were struck, though generally the enemy fired too high.
One driver was hit by a shell which fractured his right leg and disabled two mules.
One ammunition wagon had the tail-board knocked out by a shell, which, fortunately, did not explode.
Two wagons, laden with oats, were disabled, their contents being saved and the wagons burned, to prevent their falling into the hands of the enemy.
A horse was left behind, used up and worth less for the time, which I had the ‘½melancholy pleasure½’ of shooting for the same purpose.
With these exceptions the entire train was got off in safety, having been extricated from an exceedingly unpleasant predicament.
The second brigade, General Ferrero
, being nearest the train, had meanwhile been ordered back to its protection.
, of the third division, followed closely by General Burns
, of the first, arrived on the ground about half past 9 o'clock, and by 10 o'clock Benjamin
's famous battery R, Second U. S. Artillery, took up a commanding position on the hill above the ruined hotel, and opened on the enemy with his six 20-pound Parrots, silencing their guns in about half an hour.
One of his shells, I am glad to say, entered the house where Conuth had been betrayed, and beside which the rebel battery was planted.--It is singular that last August he occupied the same position with his battery, and fought the rebels over the same ground.
At the last accounts we heard from the Springs
, Gen. Burns
still occupied them, and there was no enemy in sight.
It was a little singular that Gen. Sturgis
had not been informed that Gen Doubleday
was at Fayetteville
, and, upon our hearing drums in that direction, we marched in some expectation of meeting the enemy in our front.
Below are the casualties in the fight of Saturday:
--Junior 1st Lt. Howard McIlvaine
's battery A, 104th Penn. Artillery.
, of the same battery, arm badly shattered, amputated on the field; private Amidon
, same battery, contusion of face by piece of shell; Charles K Darling
, Sixth New Hampshire Volunteers, wagoner, leg fractured below the knee by a shell.
I should have stated earlier in this letter that the conduct of the drivers in the wagon train, when exposed to a very hot fire, was most excellent.--They were aware of an order to shoot any man who abandoned his saddle or seat.
They all kept their places.