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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 12, Part 2 (Second Manassas)
Page 596 OPERATIONS IN N.VA., W.VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

skirmish occurred between a portion of General Featherston's brigade and the enemy and afterward between our artillery and the enemy:

The division crossed the Rapidan at Raccoon Ford on August 20, and continuing its march bivouacked for the night about 5 miles from Kelly's Ford, on the Rappahannock.

Early next morning the march was resumed, the three brigades under my command leading the advance. The march was continued on the road to Stevensburg until we came to a road that bore off to the right to Kelly's Ford. My command was directed to take this road.

Advancing about 1 1/2 miles, we crossed a small stream, Mountain Run (my brigade did not cross this run), this run being about 2 miles from the ford. We had not advanced far beyond Mountain Run when cavalry pickets that had been posted on this road near the ford returned, reporting that a large cavalry force had crossed the Rappahannock and were advancing on the road. I immediately ordered two regiments from Feartherston's brigade to be formed in line of battle, one on each side of the road, and each of these regiments to be preceded by a line of skirmishers, the remainder of Feartherston's brigade close in rear and Pryor in rear of Feartherston. I now ordered the lines to advance. This had not continued long when a shot was heard on the right, and it soon became quite brisk and extended to the left. Our lines continued to advance until the skirmishers reached a fence. This was about 1,000 yards from the Rappahannock-a field extending down to the river, the ground falling gradually. Some 400 yards in this field a few of the enemy's skirmishers were seen. On the far side of the Rappahannock the enemy's skirmishers were seen. On the far side of the Rappahannock the enemy's camp was visible, being on high ground-much higher than where we were. The camp covered considerable space. The skirmishers continued to fire at each other. Two of my men were wounded here. The major-general commanding now directed me to withdraw my force back across Mountain Run, leaving a picket force on the far side. I directed two companies to be posted at the junction of two roads, both of which led to the ford (Kelly's), and two regiments in rear of these companies some 300 or 400 yards. The two companies left at the forks of the road were Captains [A. M.] Feltus' and [William H.] Hardy's, Sixteenth Mississippi Regiments; the two regiments in the rear were the remainder of the Twelfth Mississippi. The enemy, seeing that our forces had withdrawn, made a spirited dash with his cavalry at these two companies, and, being much superior in numbers, surrounded them and demanded a surrender. Captain Feltus immediately gave the command to fire, which was done with effect, killing 9 horses and emptying several saddles. The heavy firing caused Colonel Posey to send a third company to the assistance of these two, but they had already driven the enemy off, and now fell back to their supports, the two regiments.

Colonel [Carnot] Posey now posted the Twelfth Mississippi in a corn field on his left, which fronted upon an open field, no danger being apprehended on his right, as there was a dense forest on that flank. Scarcely had the Twelfth Mississippi taken its position when a very large cavalry force made its appearance in the open field at some distance off; but showing an evident design to attack, Colonel Posey moved, unobserved by the enemy, at double-quick time with the Sixteenth Mississippi to the support of the Twelfth Mississippi. He had barely reached his position when the enemy's cavalry came down in line at full speed. When at good range the command to fire was given, and one volley from the two regiments scattered the cavalry with the utmost confusion. Some 30 saddles were emptied and the cavalry were scattered over the field for more than a mile. At length they reformed far off from


Page 596 OPERATIONS IN N.VA., W.VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 12, Part 2 (Second Manassas)
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