The battle of Payne's Farm.

The recent engagement on the Rapidan has been designated the battle of "Payne's Farm. " The battle reflects much credit upon the skill of Major-General Edward Johnson and the gallantry of the officers and men of his division. The division is composed of the Stonewall Brigade, under Brigadier-General J. A. Walker, and Stuart's, J. M. Jones's, and Stafford's brigades, with four pieces of Anderson's artillery. These were the only troops engaged in the battle on our side. Opposed to them were Major General French's corps (the 3d) and one division of the 5th corps. The enemy was in position and opened the attack before our forces knew of their presence. Their object, as has since been ascertained, was to make a sudden attack from their concealed position upon our flank, disperse the troops, and capture our wagon train. They not only failed of their object, but were driven from the field with considerable slaughter. Their loss was certainly double that of ours, exclusive of fifty prisoners.

On the day of the fight Gen. Early was in command of the 2d corps, of which Johnson's division forms a part. A few days after Gen. Ewell returned to duty, and in turning over the command Gen. Early issued the following order:

Headq'rs 2nd Army Corps, December 4th, 1863.
In turning over the command of the corps to its proper commander, Major Gen. Early takes occasion to express to the officers and men of the entire corps his high appreciation of their good conduct during the recent operations.

The cheerful spirit with which they have met all demands upon them for work and vigilance are deserving of the highest praise.

To Major Gen. Johnson and his division great credit is due for the spirited manner in which they met and repulsed the column of the enemy, which was endeavoring to get in their rear on the afternoon of the 27th ult.

The spirit manifested by all would have ensured a signal victory to our arms had not the exceeding caution of the enemy caused him to withdraw from the contest which he at one time appeared to court.

J. A. Early, Maj. Gen.
Official: R. W. Hunter, A. A. G.

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