6 p.m. scouts reported them at Morrisville, a little place 6 miles from Kelly's Ford. At 1 a.m. another report informed me that the enemy had encamped at that place, coming from three different directions.
I that night re-enforced my picket of 20 sharpshooters by 40 more. I regret to say that only about 11 or 12 of them got into the rifle-pits in time for the attack of the enemy (owing to an unnecessary delay in carrying their horses to the rear.), which commenced about 5 a.m. The force in the pits,under Captain James Breckinridge, of the Second, behaved very gallantly, holding in check a large force of the enemy, mounted and dismounted for an hour and a half, killing and wounding 30 or 40 of them. I also ordered the remaining sharpshooters of the brigade, under that very efficient officer, Major [W. A.] Morgan, First Virginia, to move from their camps by daybreak to a point on the railroad where the road turns to Kelly's, half a mile from the railroad bridge and 3 1\2 from Kelly's, and the rest of the command was ordered to be in readiness to move at the shortest notice. At that time a force was reported to be at Bealeton, supposed to be their advance guard, and it was uncertain whether they would attempt to cross at Kelly's, the railroad bridge, or move on toward Warrenton.
The report that enemy's attack was made at Kelly's never reached me; and the first intimation I received from the point was at 7.30 a.m., to the effect that they had succeeded in crossing, capturing 25 of my sharpshooters, who were unable to reach their horses. I moved my command at once down the railroad, taking up a position to await their approach ordering my baggage wagons and disabled horses to the rear, toward Rapidan Station. Some time elapsing, and they not advancing, I determined to move upon them, and marched immediately for Kelly's. First met the enemy half a mile this side of ford,and at once charged them. Their position was a very strong one, sheltered by woods and a long, high stone fence running perpendicular to my advance. My men, unable to cross the fence and ditch in their front, wheeled about, delivering their fire almost in the faces of the enemy, and reformed again, facing about under a heavy fire from their artillery and small-arms. The Third in this charge was in front, and First Lieutenant [Bernard] Hill Carter, jr., was very conspicuous in his behavior. From that time it was a succession of gallant charges by the various regiments, and once by the whole brigade, in line, whenever the enemy would show their mounted men, they invariably falling back upon their artillery and sheltered dismounted skirmishers. Their total advance was 2 miles from the ford. At that time my artillery arrived, and they were driven back, recrossing the river about 7.30 p.m., with us in close pursuit.
My whole command acted nobly; sabers were frequently crossed and fences charged up to, the leading men dismounting and pulling them my command, in the order it arrived in this enervating section of country, and not weakened by the absence of four squadrons on picket, guarding a line stretching from Griffinsburg on the Sperryville turnpike, to Richard's Ford, and by the large number of horses unfit for duty by exposure to the severe winter, with a very limited supply of forage, I feel confident rout,and the whole brigade resupplied with horses, saddles, and bridles.
Commanding officers of the detachments from the various regiments engaged mention in their reports as deserving especial attention---
In the Fifth: Private William J. Haynes, Company F (badly wounded); Private A. R. Harwood, Company E; Private Henry Wooding, Company