War of the Rebellion: Serial 039 Page 1059 Chapter XXXVII. THE STONEMAN RAID.

Search Civil War Official Records

prospects, saw a look or heard a word from officer or private soldier that indicated doubt or fear, nor during the whole trip did I hear a murmur or a complaint. Each appeared to vie with the other as to how much instead of how little he could do to forward the undertaking, and to look upon the expedition as his own personal affair. All felt as though they were going forward to the accomplishment of an object of the greatest importance to the army and the country, and they engaged in it regardless of the future or the consequences. I informed them that I was determined at all hazards and any risks or hardships to carry out the wishes of the commanding general, and to fulfill the expectations of the country, after which it would be time enough to look for some way of withdrawing from the position we would be in. I also informed them that the commanding general had assured me that there was not the slightest doubt in the world but that if we performed our part of the work the whole rebel army would be captured or destroyed; that he had promised me to communicate with us certainly within six days, and that we could depend upon it. It was besides, understood that we would be held responsible for the failure of the entire operation, if it should in any respect miscarry.

The fighting during this first day consisted in some artillery practice between General Averell and the Thirteenth Virginia Cavalry, Colonel Chambliss, and some pretty sharp work between their skirmishers; the driving in the enemy's pickets on the road toward Brandy Station by Captain Drummon, and on the road toward Stevensburg by the Sixth U. S. Cavalry. No fires were built during the night, lest the enemy should become aware of our whereabouts and strength. Four a.m. came, and with it a cold, drenching rain. The pack-mules were sent off, and we started on our way, a command numbering about 3,500, as unencumbered and determined a set of men as ever started upon any expedition in this or any other army.

About 9 a.m., April 30, a staff officer of General Averell overtook me and reported for orders, which I gave in substance the same as the evening before. He also handed me a note picked up by some one, and sent me by General Averell, and to the following effect:

Important.] HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY DIVISION,

Near Brandy Station, Va., April 29, 1863.

Colonel CHAMBLISS,

Thirteenth Virginia Cavalry:

COLONEL: The major-general commanding directs me to say that he wishes you to get a man posted, so as to have a view of the road leading down on the other side to Kelly's Ford, and find out what kind of troops marched down behind the wagons. The enemy have made a demonstration toward Stevensburg, but so far it amounts to nothing. The general is very anxious to know where to look for Stoneman, as we have heard nothing from him.

Most respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. CHANNING PRICE,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

Feeling satisfied that we should find Raccoon Ford guarded, and that its passage would be disputed, I struck the Rapidan River about 6 miles below; crossed over the portion of the command under General Buford, who sent a party under Captain Peter Penn Gaskell, of his staff, who at a dash cleared the ford above, capturing an officer, Lieutenant Bourier [James Boulware], of the Ninth Virginia Cavalry, and 6 privates of the Ninth and Tenth Virginia Cavalry. The rest of the cavalry and the artillery made their escape.

The main body immediately crossed at the Raccoon Ford, the rear getting over about 10 p.m. No fires built to-night, as we were in plain