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

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 27, Part 2 (Gettysburg Campaign)
Page 693 Chapter XXXIX. THE GETTYSBURG CAMPAIGN.

to general Lee concerning Hancock's movement, and moved back to Buckland, to deceive the enemy. It rained heavily that night. To carry out my original design of Passing west of Centreville, would have involved so much detention, on account of the presence of the enemy, that I determined to cross Bull Run lower down, and strike through Fairfax for the Potomac the next day. The sequel shows this to have been the only practicable course. We marched through Brentsville to the vicinity of Wolf Run Shoals, and had to halt again in order to graze our horses, which hard marching without grain was fast breaking down. We met no enemy to-day (26th). On the following morning (27th), having ascertained that on the night previous the enemy had disappeared entirely from Wolf Run Shoals, as strongly fortified position on the Occoquan, I marched to that point, and thence directly for Fairfax Station, sending General Fitz. Lee to the right, to cross by Burke's Station and effect junction at Fairfax Court-House, or farther on, according to circumstances. Fairfax Station had been evacuated the previous day, but near this point General Hamtpon's advance regiment had a spirited encounter with and chase after a detachment of Federal Cavalry denominated Scott's Nine Hundred, killing, wounding, and capturing the greater portion, among them several officers; also horses, arm, and equipments. The First North Carolina Cavalry lost its major in the first onset-Major [John H.] Whitaker-an officer of distinction and great value to us. Reaching Fairfax Court-House, a communication was received from Brigadier General Fitz. Lee at Annadale. At these two points, there were evidences of very recent occupation, but the information was conclusive that the enemy had left this front entirely, the mobilized army having the day previous moved over toward Leesburg, while the local had retired to the fortifications near Washington. I had not heard yet from Major Mosby, but the indications favored my successful passage in rear of the enemy's army. After a halt of a few hours to rest and refresh the command, which regaled itself on the stores left by the enemy in the place, the march was resumed for Dranesville, which point was reached late in the afternoon. The camp-fires of Sedgwick's (Sixth) corps, just west of the town, were still burning, it having left that morning, and several of his stragglers were caught. General Hampton's brigade was still in advance, and was ordered to move directly for Rowser's Ford, on the Potomac, Chambliss' brigade being held at Dranesville till Brigadier General Fitz. Lee could close up. As General Hampton approached the river, he fortunately met a citizen who had just forded the river, who informed us there were no pickets on the other side, and that the river was fordable, though 2 feet higher than usual. Hampton's brigade crossed early in the night, but reported to me that it would be utterly impossible to cross the artillery at that ford. In this the residents were also very positive, that vehicles could not cross. A ford lower down was examined, and found quite as impracticable from quicksand, rocks, and rugged banks. I, however, determined not to give it up without trial, and before 12 o'clock that night, in spite of the difficulties, to all appearances insuperable, indomitable energy and resolute determination triumphed; every piece was brought safely over, and the entire command in bivouac on Maryland soil. In this success the horse artillery displayed the same untiring zeal in their laborious toil through mud and water which has distinguished its members in battle.


Page 693 Chapter XXXIX. THE GETTYSBURG CAMPAIGN.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 27, Part 2 (Gettysburg Campaign)
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