The cavalry engagement on the Upper Rappahannock.

Yesterday some excitement was created by the announcement that a severe engagement had taken place on the Rappahannock, and it was conjectured by the uninformed that the ball had again opened at Fredericksburg. Later in the day anxiety was somewhat relived by the following official dispatches received at the War Department.

Headquarters, two miles from Kelly's Ford, March 17--7 P. M.
To General R. E. Lee:
The enemy is retiring. He is badly hurt. We are after him. His dead men and horses strew the reads.

(Signed) J. E. B. Stuart, Major Gen.

[second Dispatch]

Culpeper March 18,
To General R. E. Lee:
The enemy have retired to the north bank of the river, badly hurt.

(Signed) J. E. B. Stuart, Major Gen.

[third Dispatch]

Culpeper, March 18.
To General R. E. Lee:
Telegraphed you last night that the enemy had retired to the north bank of the Rappahannock. From the best information, it was Averth's division, force thousand in the saddle. Pork and hard bread packed in boxes.

He was very badly hurt, and left a hospital on this side. It was undoubtedly intended as a great expedition; but, thanks to the superior conduct of Gen. Fitzhugh Lee and his noble brigade, it has failed; of, however, without the lose to us of such noble spirits as Majors Pelham and Fuller.

(Signed) J. E. B. Stuart.

From parties who came down on the Central train last evening we have some fuller particulars of this engagement. It seems that early on Tuesday morning the enemy attempted the passage of the Rappahannock at Kelly's Ford, in Culpeper county. A detachment of thirty five of our men were posted in rifle pits commanding the ford, and gallantly met the approach of the enemy. This detachment was finally overpowered by superior numbers, and were compelled to surrender. This was the principal loss sustained by us in prisoners. The enemy, in considerable force, consisting of cavalry and artillery, then succeeded in crossing the river, and drove in cut- pickets. Gen. Stuart advanced with four regiments of cavalry, and after a brisk engagement, lasting several hours, succeeded in driving the enemy back to the north side of the river. Our loss is said to have been pretty heavy — estimated to be not less than two hundred and fifty in killed, wounded and prisoners. The less of the enemy not known, but believed to be very heavy. Among those killed were Major Pelham of the artillery, and Major Puller and Lieut Harris, of the cavalry, the latter from Powhatan county. Their bodies were brought to this city last night. Col. Roster is reported slightly wounded. Major Breckinridge was taken prisoner.

Some of the prisoners captured in the fight report that the enemy's force consisted of two divisions, under Gen. Averill. The principal part of the engagement was between the cavalry of the opposing forces.

Major Pelham was killed by the explosion of one of the enemy's shell whilst riding with Gen. Stuart, and before his battery become engaged in the fight.

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