No. 131. Reports of Colonel John B. Walton, Washington (Louisiana) Artillery, of operations August 23-31.
HDQRS. ARTY. CORPS, RIGHT WING, DEPT. NORTHERN VA., August 25, 1862.
MAJOR:I have the honor to report that, in obedience to an order received from Major-General Longstreet on the evening of the 22nd instant, accompanied by Major John J. Garnett, chief of artillery, on the staff of Brigadier General D. R. Jones, and Captain C. W. Squires, commanding First Company Washington Artillery, I made a reconnaissance of the position of the enemy in the vicinity of Beverly Ford and Rappahannock Station, on the Rappahannock River, with the view, as instructed, to place the long-range guns under my command in position to open upon the enemy's batteries early the following morning.
Having during the night made all necessary preparation, at daybreak on the morning of the 23rd I placed in position on the left at Beverly Ford Captain M. B. Miller's battery Washington Artillery, four light 12-pounder guns (Napoleons), a section of two 10-pounder Parrot guns under Captain [A. L.] Rogers, and one 10-pounder Parrott gun under Captain Anderson; and on the hill in front of General D. R. Jones' headquarters, on the right, Captain Squires' battery Washington Artillery, four 3-inch rifles; Captain [R. M.] Stribling's battery, one 3-inch rifle, and three 12-pounder light guns (Napoleons), a section of Captain Chapman's battery, one 3-inch rifle, and one 12-pounder light gun (Napoleon), under Lieutenant Chapman, and two Blakely guns, of Captain Victor Maurin's battery, under Lieutenant [R. P.] Landry. The heavy for prevailing obscured the opposite bank of the river and the enemy's positions entirely from view until about 6 a.m., at which hour, the sun having partially dispelled the fog, I opened fire from Captain Miller's battery upon a battery upon a battery of long-range guns of the enemy directly in front at a range of about 1,000 yards. By previous arrangement the batteries on the right and left of Captain Miller's position immediately opened and the fire became general along the line. We had not long to wait for the response of the enemy, he immediately opening upon all our positions a rapid and vigorous fire from all his batteries, some in positions until then undiscovered by us. The battery engaged by Captain Miller was silenced in about forty minutes, notwithstanding the long-range guns under Captains Rogers and Anderson on the left had shortly after the commencement of the engagement been withdrawn from action and placed under shelter of the hill on which they had been posted, thus leaving the battery of the enemy, which it was intended these guns should engage, free to direct against Miller and the batteries on the hill on the right a most destructive enfilading fire. At this time Captain Miller changed position and directed his fire against this battery, when a battery on the right of that which had been silenced opened upon him, subjecting him to a cross-fire and causing him to lose heavily in men and horses. The fire was continued by Miller's battery alone on the left until 7 o'clock, when, after consultation with General Jones and the firing of the enemy having greatly slackened, I ordered him to retire by half battery, which was handsomely done in good order. At this time Lieutenant Brewer fell mortally wounded.
The combat on the right was gallantly fought by the batteries there placed in position. Captain Squires assumed command of that part of