War of the Rebellion: Serial 039 Page 0059 Chapter XXXVII. ENGAGEMENT AT KELLY'S FORD, VA.

Search Civil War Official Records

I cordially concur with the brigadier-general commanding in the high praise he bestows on Colonel T. L. Rosser, Fifth Virginia Cavalry, who, though severely wounded at 2 p.m. remained in command at the head of his regiment until the day was won, and night put an end to further operations; on Colonel James H. Drake, First Virginia Cavalry, who led his regiment in a brilliant charge upon the enemy's flank, routing and pursuing him to his stronghold; on the lamented [Major John W. Puller and his comrades fallen; on Lieutenant [Bernard] Hill Carter, jr., Third Virginia Cavalry, and [Adjutant] Peter Fontaine, Fourth Virginia Cavalry whose individual prowess attracted my personal attention and remark, the latter receiving a severe wound; on the very efficient staff of General Lee, enumerated in his report, and the many others to whom the 17th of March will ever be the proudest of days.

Brigadier General Fitzhugh Lee exhibited in the operations antecedent to and consequent upon the enemy's crossing, the sagacity of a successfully general, and under the blessing of Divine Providence we are indebted to his prompt and vigorous action and the determined bravery of his men for this signal victory, which, when the odds are considered was one of the most brilliant achievements of the war, General Lee's command in action being less than 800.

Most respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major-General, Commanding.

Brigadier General R. H. CHILTON,

Asst. Adjt. and Insp. General, Hdqrs. Army of Northern Virginia.



Numbers 8.

March 18, 1863.

The series of fierce contests in which Brigadier General Fitz. Lee's brigade was engaged on the 17th instant, with an enemy greatly superior in numbers, resulting in entire success to us, reflects the highest credit on its commander, its officers, and its men. On no occasion have I seen more instances of individual prowess-never such heroic firmness in the presence of danger the most appalling. The enemy, afraid to contest the palm as cavalry, preferred to rely upon his artillery, ensconcing his cavalry dismounted behind stone fences and other barriers, which alone saved him from capture or annihilation, thus converting the long vaunted raid, which was "to break the backbone of the rebellion," with preparations complete for an extensive expedition, into a feeble advance and a defensive operation. The serious disaster inflicted upon this insolent foe, in which he was driven, broken and discomfited, across the Rappahannock-leaving many of his dead and wounded on the field-was not without loss to us. The gallant Pelham-so noble,so true-will be mourned by the nation. The brave [Major John W.] Puller, the intrepid Harris, and our fallen heroes in the ranks have left a legacy of imperishable renown, and the memory of their fate will give a keener edge to vengeance in the next conflict.

Commanders will take care to record while fresh in their memories the instances of personal heroism for future use, and the brigade will have the [battle] of Kellysville inscribed on its banner as its greatest achievement.


Major-General, Commanding.