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The battle of Kelley's Ford.
further particulars.

[Written for the Richmond Dispatch.] A short time since, when Brig. Gen Stoughton and other Yankee prisoners were brought to Gordonsville, they were heard to remark that it would be a good place to capture. Setting that they ware overheard, they turned to one of our officers and said, "Well capture this place one of these days."

"How? was asked.

"By our cavalry. We know all about it, but supposed it larger."

This little incident showed the Yankees were aware of the importance of Gordonsville to us, and also that it was a general depot. It showed, too, that a raid upon it had been talked of among the Yankee cavalry Generals. From that point to the Canal and the High Bridge is but a short distance, and could have been made easily by a Yankee cavalry force, provided such obstacles as our Cavalier Stuart and Fitz Lee had not been placed in its way. With every preparation for a long trip, with a week's rations in haversacks, packed pork and hard bread in boxes, cartridge-boxes full of ammunition, and ca ons and limber boxes well packed, the enemy started out very confidently, and unless prevented would have done us an incalculable amount of injury. Greater than the mere pecuniary loss, would have been the moral effect of a successful cavalry raid within our lines.

So much as to the object of the expedition.

On the morning of the 16th a telegram from Gen Chilton informed Gen Stuart that a cavalry force of the enemy, 3,000 strong, was in motion, and cautioning him to look out for it at the river. Gen. Fitzhugh Lee's brigade was upon the river, and that evening be got a report from Capt. Randolph, of the "Black Horse," confirming the telegram, and saying the enemy appeared in motion. Later the advance videttes appeared at Kelley's Ford, and also at Rappahannock bridge. Gen. Lee immediately sent down reinforcements to the companies already at those places, and, owing to rifle pits and the natural strength of the position concluded our sharpshooters could hold-in check any force the enemy might attempt to cross; therefore he made himself easy for the night.

On account of insufficient vigilance on the part of the company on picket the enemy forced a passage about 6 o'clock in the morning. Being under heavy fire, those in the pits were unable to escape, and all were captured. This information was carried to Gen. Lee by a courier, who also stated the Yankees were rapidly advancing. The brigade was ordered out to go immediately, without order of march. The 3d was first on the road, followed by the 5th, Col. Rosser, and then the others. All took the direction of Kelley's Ford. The enemy advanced so slowly that Gen. Lee was of opinion that he had gone down the river to cross at Raccoon Ford, and thus get in his rear; supposing the small force seen at Kelley's Ford only a party left to cover the rear, and to deceive him. Under that impression he boldly determined to go and meet him, and ordered a charge at sight. To the surprise of all, however, behind the small force first discovered was the entire cavalry division of Averill, in line, and seemed to have anticipated us entirely.

Owing to the condition of the horses, their hard usage through the tedious winter, the want of proper and sufficient forage, the sum total of efficient mounted men Gen Lee was able to turn our, amounted to less than one thousand men. The great disparity of numbers did not intimidate this splendid brigade, and they darted at the Yankees as soon as the head of the column came in sight of them. The 3d Virginia led the charge and a magnificent charge it was — all honor to those brave and noble men!. The enemy although three to one, dismounted and fought as infantry behind a heavy stone wall, with a deep ditch in front of them.--Notwithstanding they fled their posts as the 3d approached. The charging regiment being unable to follow on account of the wall and ditch, were forced to fall back under a sharp fire. The 3d having failed, Col. Rosser with the 5th, was ordered to sustain it, and without being aware of its repulse, charged also down upon the wall, which could not be seen from the sterling point. Not being able to get over the wall Col. Rosser led the 5th down it at a charge, into the lane, and during down it, fell upon the flank, of the enemy. This lane had high stone walls on either side, also embankments, and led up to an enclosure and a house, where it terminated. This wall was lined with sharpshooters, and around the house and in the enclosure several hundred were posted, all the while keeping up an incessant fire. It was here that Major Fuller of the 5th was shot through the body and I filed.

Being wedged up in this narrow space, with the Rappahannock river on one side, and a wall and gorge on the other, and being constantly subjected to a galling fire, unable to go further on account of the house, Col. Rosser was obliged to wheel about and move back two or three hundred yards, behind a hill, where the men could be protected.

Meant the Col. Drake, of the 1st, had fallen upon the enemy in another part of the field but finding it equally guarded his charge was also unsuccessful. Being immediately followed by a charge by the 2d Col. Drake moved off on flank to a y his man and be ready for emergencies. This was a happy thing. The charge of the 2d was also unsuccessful and its commanding officer, Major Breckinridge, was captured. The enemy now pursued the 2d as it was falling back, and pressed closely upon it. At this time Capt. Newton, of the 4th on one side, and Col. Drake, of the 1st, charged on either flank, killing and capturing a good number of the enemy, driving their advancing column back in disorder and confusion. But their artillery being so favorably posted, their sharpshooters so numerous and so well protected, no advantage could be taken of this, and further; pursuit was impossible.

Our command had, by successive and unsuccessful charger, become somewhat scattered, and presented a front of some half a mile. The enemy saw this and took advantages of it, throwing out a heavy force upon our left, which came out rapidly. The first charge drove in our videttes, and the shock fell upon the 5th and 3d--the enemy in heavy column. The charge was met by the 5th, checked, driven back upon their main body, artillery and sharpshooters — our men using pistol and sabre alone. Checked again by the heavy fire of artillery and carbines the 5th became somewhat confused and shattered, but they maintained their position, obeying the orders of Col. Rosser, and forming under fire, remained until the 3d again gallantly charged and relieved them. The 5th rallied again a few hundred yards from the enemy's line. Protected by a fine battery, and by a naturally strong position lined with dismounted carbineers, the mounted men charged cut at times through gates and openings in the wall, whenever our line wavered, and they deemed it safe to do so. We had no position, no reserve, no protection, no artillery support, and yet each successive charge was repulsed with spirit. When next they advanced the 5th and 3d charged upon them simultaneously and drove them clear out the field. Meantime on the right the 2d, 4th and 1st regiments had made repeated charges in the most gellant manner, keeping them back in that part of the field, and all their efforts to advance had been frustrated. Our artillery had not come up, and we were forced to rely upon pistol and sabre alone, the Yankees using their artillery with superb ammunition, and long range carbines, subjecting us at all times to a deadly fire.

The position of affairs at this time would have given any General confidence in his command. The men were all life — all spirit — their eyes glistened with fire, their hearts beat with chivalric valor, and their strong arms were nerved with impulse as they grasped their swords. Although disordered and scattered by so many charges, not a man shirked his duty, not one faltered; they were determined to give the invaders another lesson! At this time Gen. Stuart, with the reckless disregard of his own life that marks this brave man, rode under fire, and, while he praised the deter mined bravery of his men, said it would not do to fight longer at such odds — he must concentrate his force — get them where be could see them, and fall back to a position of his own selection. The enemy had not gained a foot of ground since morning. We retreated slowly for nearly a mile, and took position in rear of a broad field, near a patch of woodland.

It was in one of the last charges before we fell back that Major Pelham was killed. He had ridden ahead of his artillery, and had gone upon the line of videttes to encourage the men by his presence. His excessive gallantry coat him his life. A regiment charged by him, and rising in his stirrups, his eyes glowing like belts of fire, large drops of sweat standing upon his brow, he waved his hat in the air, his voice ringing out in exulting cheers. At that moment the Yankees opened a heavy fire with their battery and carbines upon our advancing column, and this flower of Southern chivalry fell from his saddle mortally wounded.

With four or five thousand men dismounted, the enemy advanced, skirting along the woods taking advantage of every bit of cover, and soon came near enough to reach our lines, and Suneya us with their fire. At this time our artillery came up, and opening upon them at once checked their advance; but they were then so close that their carbines endangered the it's of our cannot its, and it became necessary to charge them, force them back, or retire still farther. It was determined to give them no more ground, and our force was formed in line.

The appearance of the battle field at this time was magnificent — no powers of the pen could do it justify. Only those who sew it can fully appreciate the beauty of the exciting picture. To our rear were woods, broad field before, divided here and there by fences; through the entire for a road, and upon either side the opposing forces ready for the coming encounter. It was now evening. The sun was rapidly sinking towards the Western horizon; the all was still, broken only by the crack of Yankee rifles. The firing for a moment died away and, like a momentary calm before a renewed outburst of the storm, the sounds of battle ceased.

Gen. Fitz Lee formed his brigade in one line.--On one side of the lane was stationed the 2nd and 4th, and on the other the 5th, 1st, and 34. Generals Stuart and Fitz Lee were everywhere; their animated, cheerful faces, their confidant daring, the clan which always characterizes the men now especially conspicuous, gave courage to every heart. They rode along the line, gave their orders in a clear, distinct voice, as seemingly unconcerned as of before their bivouac fires. Both behaved gloriously. At length Gen. Fitz Lee gave the order to charge, and the whole line moved promptly forward. This was a signal for the enemy's fire and they now poured it in more rapidly than ever.--The 5th, 1st and 3d charged down upon the Yankee line over hillocks ditches, and every obstacle, frequently having so stop and re-form, then pressing quickly forward. Upon approaching the enemy they dashed at once upon him, breaking through his line, going beyond it and then charging back again. For a moment their pistols cracked, their sabres flashed in the air, and the the Yankees broke in confusion. On the other side of the lane the 4th and 2d had also gallantly charged in the face of a heavy fire. When near the enemy the 4th was stopped by a fence, and, halting there, while the bullets fell around them in showers, they removed fifteen panels of fence, and, remounting, dashed bravely on, scattering the Yankees before them. The Yankee cannoneers fled, their guns and their battery was virtually ours; but their reserve sharpshooters pressed forward and protected it, thus preventing our carrying it away. The cannoneers then returned. In this charge both Gen. Stuart and Gen. Lee participated riding ahead with the men, using both their sabres and pistols.

Again we fall back to reform, but were not pursued. The brigade, although in great confusion, quickly rallied, and formed a good line face to face with the enemy. It is true, our loss had been heavy, but we had inflicted great loss upon the enemy, and felt more determined than ever to resist his further advance. In this last charge Col. Rosser, of the 5th, who was wounded once before, at Gaines's farm, was shot through the foot. His wound was received in almost the last volley fired by the enemy.

It is impossible to say whether fear or the conviction that further attempts to advance was useless induced the enemy to withdraw. As night drew on he made preparations to retire, and, to protect his retreat, posted as before, his dismounted sharpshooters behind the walls and fences. Our artillery opened upon them retiring and so effect anally that several dead bodies were left upon the field, and a so a number of wounded in a house — Protected very thoroughly, retreating carefully, our pursuit was befitted, and when night came they had again forded the river — gone back like whipped curs to their kennels.

Many gallant individual feats were performed and many a man showed himself a hero on this day. Of course, it is impossible to collect all the interesting instances of daring there performed. One may be mentioned. On the last charge, prominent among those engaged in tearing down the fence was Adjutant Fountain of the 4th. While thus engaged he was severely wounded, but crawling away beneath the fence, when the position of the forces changed upon the field, he was enable to escape.

If the Yankees had accomplished their object they would have done us an incalculable amount of harm. A victory to them would have been hailed by the Yankee press as a harbinger of what was to come when the spring campaign opens; it would have given additional courage to thousands of despairing men. The daring bravery of our little band, and the skill and efficiency of Gens. Stuart and Lee, has sent them back to tell of defeat rather than of success. Our loss will amount to nearly two hundred in killed, wounded, and prisoners, and this shows with what a determined spirit we fought. We lost no artillery or arms.--Taking all things into consideration, the render of this sketch may decide if our cavalry has done nobler work since the war.

Below is a list of the Confederate less, furnished by Dr. J. B. Fontaine, Surgeon of Lee's cavalry brigade:

Report of Casualties in Brig Gen. Fitz Lee's Cavalry Brigade in an Engagement with the Enemy near Kelley's Ford, in Culpeper county, Va. on the 17th day of March, 1863.

  1. First Regiment Virginia Cavalry--Co D — K lied: None. Wounded: D T Celly Missing: None — Co E — Killed: None. Wounded: C M Corne — Missing: None. Co F — Killed: None. Wounded: G F Andrews. Missing: None. Co G — Killed: None. Wounded: A B Chapman Missing: None. Co K — Killed: None. Wounded: Corp'l W H Barnes, mortally, since dead, A C Lepper, J Walker. Recapitulation — Killed: 1 Wounded: 6. Total: 7.
  2. Second Regiment Virginia Cavalry--Major Carey Breckenridge missing, (prisoner) Co C — Killed: None. Wounded: None. Missing: Sergt John a Biggs, Corp'l M Dinkenhoker, privates D McCoy, M Stanley, R pek, J. T Young, E Kale N Bishop Co D — Killed: Wm Buroughs. Wounded: Capt Holland, in elbow; privates Ed Sackey, hand shot off; Wat Sinclair, right thigh fractured, flesh wound in left thigh and breast; S Edwards, in hand. Missing: None. Co E — Killed: None. Wounded: Lt Blank, in head; privates R L Davis, do; Wm Pete, flesh wound by shell; W Chalet slightly; J King, severely from the fall of his horse; Missing: Private J Blank. Co F — Killed: None. Wounded: None. Missing: J T Nance, A L Crezty. Co G — Killed: None. Wounded: Sergt J G Hatcher, in thigh; private A Perrow, in leg. Missing: None. Co H — Killed: None. Wounded: Sergt G W Snapp, mortally; private Wood, by fall of his horse. Missing: None. Co I — Killed: None. Wounded: Privates Lipscomb, sabre cut on heart; Leftwich, mortally. Missing: R Lee, T E Moiver. Co K — Killed: None. Wounded: Privates R Harrison, leg; J C Serpens, slightly on arm; Jno Day, severely in ankle; D Anderson, slightly. Missing. Private Morrell. Recapitulation — Killed, wounded and missing. 15. Total 34.
  3. Third Regiment Virginia Cavalry--Co A — Killed: None. Wounded: J E Reynolds. Missing: None. Co B — Killed: W W Young. Wounded: Lieut Millan, Serg J B Herbert, private West, severely. Missing: None. Co C — Killed: Sergt G M Betts, private J T Wilkins. Wounded: Capt Chappel, slightly; Lieut Jas W Hall, severely. Missing: W H Brower. Co D — Killed: None. Wounded: Jas E Adams, severely; L A Masston, F Mountcastle, Pat Carroll, Chas Walker. Missing: None. Co E — Killed: None. Wounded: Corp Fester Missing; None. Co F — Killed: None. Wounded: Lt B W Lacy, Lt Chump, Sergt Apperson; W G Christian, H C Grump, W McKenzie. Missing: None. Co G — Killed: Private J C Fowler. Wounded: Sergt Jeffrey, Corp Page, Corp McLaurin, privates J W Bryant, S F Goodman, G H Grigg, W W Jonas Missing: None. Co H — Killed: None. Wounded: Lt Carner, privates Jas Green, E Cage Geo Green, Thos Walker. Missing. None. Co I — Killed: None. Wounded: Corp A A Dance. Missing: Sergt R E Boleseaux, private Tweatte. Co K — Killed: None. Wounded: Privates H M Edmonds, J R Cunningham, L Scott, E A Bondurant, W D Booker, J D Fowlkes, W W Booker. Missing: None. Recapitulation — Killed: 4. Wounded: 37 Missing: 3. Total: 44.
  4. Fourth Regiment Va Cavalry — Lieut P Fontaine Adjutant, wounded severely in the neck. Co A — Killed: None. Wounded: L C Primrose. Missing: None. Co B — Killed: None. Wounded: G B Yates. Missing: F Hancock, S T Lacy. Co D — Killed: None. Wounded: sergt Coons. Missing: None. Co E — Killed: Lieut S Marris. Wounded: Private Crowder, R Mosely, H H Winfree. Missing: None. Co F — Killed: None. Wounded: Privates. B S Wandridge, W A Price. Missing: None. Co G — Killed: J P Harris. Wounded: None. Co G — Killed: J P Harris. Wounded: Sergt Kimbrough, arm fractured and saber out in head; Corporal J R Gilman, cut in head; privates J C Gilman. Shot in breast and cut in head; A W Brock, in thigh; J B Brown, in hand; Geo B Sydner, cut in head; J J Perry, slightly in mouth. Missing: L Priddy, W A Poindexter, J A Nuckol. Co K — Killed: None. Wounded: None. Missing: Sergt Croxton, private Powell, Jones Shepard, Drumheller, Gregory, Brightwell, Nicholas, Garnett, Chick, Pollard, Amest. Recapitulation — Killed: 2. Wounded: 17. Missing: 16. Total: 85.
  5. Fifth Regiment Virginia Cavalry--Col. F L Rosser, wounded severely in foot; Major John W Puller, killed. Co V — Killed. Corporal Hayden Wounded: None. Missing: None. Co. C--Killed: None. Wounded: John C Powell, John C Wayne. Missing: None. Co E — Killed: None. Wounded: Lieut. Bohannon, Sergt Wayne. Missing: None. Co F — Killed: None. Wounded: W J Haynes Geo Mason. Missing: None. Co H — Killed: None. Wounded: A B Willis. Missing: None. Co K — Killed: None. Wounded: Sergt Saddles. Missing: None. Recapitulation — Killed. 2. Wounded, 9.--Missing, none. Total 11. Recapitulation in Brigades — Killed, 10. Wounded, 81. Missing, 34. Total, 131.

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