War of the Rebellion: Serial 016 Page 0028 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

Search Civil War Official Records

barely equal to that of the enemy, I determined, after giving King's division one night's rest, to fall upon him at daylight on the 12th on his line of communication, and compel him to fight a battle, which must have been entirely decisive for one army or the other. But during the night of the 11th Jackson evacuated his position in front of us and retreated rapidly across the Rapidan in the direction of Gordonsville, leaving many of his dead and wounded on the field and along the road from Cedar Mountain to Orange Court-House. No material of war nor baggage trains were lost on either side, but the loss of life on both sides was severe. Brigadier-Generals Geary, Augur, and Carroll were badly wounded, and Brigadier-General Prince was captured by accident. Very many of our best field and company officers were killed or wounded. From the verbal reports and statements of General Banks and others the Massachusetts regiments behaved with especial gallantry and sustained the heaviest losses, but the conduct of the whole corps of General Banks was beyond all praise. Although I regret that General Banks thought it expedient to depart from my instructions, it gives me pleasure to bear testimony to his gallant and intrepid conduct throughout that action. He exposed himself as freely as any one under his command, and his example went far to secure that gallant and noble conduct which has made his corps famous. Generals Geary, Augur, Carroll, Gordon, and Greene behaved with distinguished gallantry. General Prince, who had led his brigade throughout the action with coolness and courage, was captured after dark whilst passing from one flank of his command to the other. As I have not received any report from General Banks, it is not in my power to mention the field and company officers who distinguished themselves under his immediate eye in this actio, but as soon as his report is received I will transmit it to the Government, and endeavor to do justice to every officer and soldier who belonged to his corps. Brigadier-General Roberts, chief of cavalry, of my staff, accompanied General Banks throughout the day, and rendered most important and gallant service.

No report of killed and wounded has been made to me by General Banks; I can therefore only form an approximation of our losses in that battle. Our killed, wounded, and prisoners amounted to about 1,800 men,* besides which fully 1,000 men straggled back to Culpeper Court-House and beyond, and never entirely returned to their commands. A strong cavalry force, under Generals Buford and Bayard, pursued the enemy to the Rapidan and captured many stragglers. The cavalry forces immediately resumed their original positions, and again occupied the Rapidan from Raccoon Ford to the base of the Blue Ridge. On the 14th of August General Reno, with 8,000 men of the forces which had arrived at Falmouth, under General Burnside, joined me. I immediately pushed forward my whole force in the direction of the Rapidan, and occupied a strong position, with my right, under Major-General Sigel, resting on Robertons's River, where the road from Cedar Mountain to Orange Court-House crosses that stream; my center, under General McDowell, occupying both flanks of Cedar Mountain, and my left, under General Reno, a position near Raccoon Ford, and covering the road from that ford to Stevensburg and Culpeper. I began immediately again to operate with my cavalry upon the enemy's communications with Richmond. From the 12th to the 18th of August reports were constantly reaching me of large forces of the enemy re-enforcing Jackson from the direction of Richmond, and by the morning of the 18th I


* See revised statement, p. 136.