eHistory logo Primary Sources Section
Primary Sources Home | Search eHistory

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

You are currently in Volume XII | Pages range from 1 to 820

Go to Page (current volume):  
Index | Previous | Next
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 12, Part 2 (Second Manassas)
Page 730 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

tinuing the series from the morning of August 21, when the army was near Brandy Station, with my command in front along the Rappahannock, until its return to the south side of that river from a successful expedition to the enemy's rear at Catlett's Station:

In my last report I committed an error in saying that Lee's brigade joined me at Brandy Station on August 20. Only two regiments of that brigade - First and Fifth Virginia Cavalry - did so, under command of Colonel T. L. Rosser, Fifth Virginia Cavalry. Brigadier-General Lee with the remainder continued in observation of the enemy at Kelly's and below.

In pursuance of the plan of the commanding general I directed Colonel Rosser to move at daylight with his command for Beverly or Cunningham's Ford as advance guard to the army, to seize the opposite bank by a sudden attack, and hold as much of the country beyond as possible. This duty was nobly performed, and by the time I reached the spot Colonel Rosser had accomplished the object, capturing a number of prisoners, 50 excellent muskets, stacked (his sudden dash having frightened the enemy away from their arms), and held enough of the bank beyond to make a crossing by our infantry practicable. All this was promptly reported to General Jackson, who supplied me with two pieces of artillery, which were advantageously posted, under my immediate direction, beyond. For some reason the army did not follow, and our small force of cavalry and this section of artillery sustained an unequal contest for a greater part of the day with artillery, infantry, and cavalry, during which a brilliant charge as foragers was made by Colonel Rosser's cavalry, dispersing, capturing, and killing a number of the enemy, losing but one captured, whose bravery and heroism led him too far; I refer to Captain John Eeels, Fifth Virginia Cavalry. The daring of Colonel Rosser's command excited the unreserved praise of the enemy.

Late in the afternoon, as it appeared that a crossing of the main body would not be attempted by us, I deemed a prolongation of this resistance object less, which reason was rendered stronger by the fact that Brigadier-General Robertson, whose brigade had, by my direction, crossed above and penetrated toward the immediate front, reported the enemy moving with heavy force upon my position and close at hand. I therefore withdrew to the south bank; Brigadier-General Robertson also recrossing the Rappahannock proper above and resting for the night in the fork of the two streams. That evening, too, Brigadier-General Lee, with the remainder of his brigade, came up, except the Third Virginia Cavalry, left below on Longstreet's flank and rear.

On August 22 I moved early to Freeman's Ford, on Rappahannock River, where I had a picket the night previous, to carry out instructions by effecting a crossing if possible. The ford was commanded by the enemy's artillery and infantry, and four pieces of the Stuart Horse Artillery, under Captain Pelham, tried in vain to silence the enemy's guns. Having advantage in position, he handled the enemy severely, though suffering casualties in his own battery. While this cannonading was going on General Jackson's column passed just in my rear, going higher up, and I received a note from the commanding general that my proposition to strike with cavalry the enemy's rear was approved, and at 10 a. m. I started to the execution of the plan with the main portion of Robertson's brigade, except Seventh Virginia Cavalry (Jones'), and Lee's brigade, except Third Virginia Cavalry - say about 1.500 men - and two pieces of artillery. Proceeding through the village of Jefferson, part of the command crossed the Rappahannock at Waterloo


Page 730 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 12, Part 2 (Second Manassas)
Index | Previous | Next
This symbol external link icon indicates an external link
All images and content are the property of eHistory at The Ohio State University unless otherwise stated.
Copyright © 2014 OSU Department of History. All rights reserved. [citation and copyright information]
eHistory icon