War of the Rebellion: Serial 049 Page 0204 OPERATIONS IN N. C., VA., W. VA.,MD., AND PA. Chapter XLI.

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September 18, 1863-9. 30 p. m.

General MEADE:

I have been along my whole line to-day. About 3. 30 p. m. our cavalry on the right drove the enemy across Crooked Creek and were fired upon several times with artillery. The Valley of the Rapidan above the railroad bridge is such that I think the enemy's left flank could be turned. The railroad bridge head is only a weak trench, and I think was occupied by about 100 men, who seemed to be the reserve of the picket line circulating around it. The trench is only a shelter from our artillery. There seems from the smoke to be a considerable force along the railroad-might be 5,000 men or more. At Rovertson's Ford, at the base of Piney Mountain, the enemy are also on this side, and fired on us here. We can easily drive them across, but the high mountain on the other side rises from the stream. At Somerville Ford the banks do not give the enemy much advantage over us. This is as far down as I went. The enemy does not seem to be in much force at Somerville Ford, and none to speak of from there up to the railroad. I do not think there is any prospect of the enemy advancing, nor do I see how he can defend so long a line as he would have to hold from Germanna Ford up. When the firing began on our right, many of the enemy's tents were struck.

Our signal officer, Lieutenant Marston, discovered the enemy's new signals. He made out to-day:

Send me twenty wagons to subsist my division.


Also that the line would not be open to-night, as they were out of turpentine, and it is not open.

Lieutenant Marston is preparing the new code discovered to send up to chief signal officer. I would like to make some demonstrations to-morrow with my artillery and troops, if it will not interfere with other plans.



SEPTEMBER 18, 1863-10. 15 p. m.

Commanding Officer Second Corps:

Your dispatch is received. The major-general commanding considers that under existing circumstances it is not advisable to make any demonstration. Do you refer to the Valley of the Rapidan or Robertson's River in your dispatch when stating that the Valley of the Rapidan above the railroad bridge is such that you think the enemy's left flank can be turned? How much has the Rapidan on your front risen to-day?

A dispatch from General Kilpatrick, received about 6 p. m., states that one of his scouts who crossed the Rapidan yesterday saw one division moving down the river from Raccoon Ford, and learned that there was one brigade of infantry and all the dismounted cavalry at Ely's Ford.


Major-General, and Chief of Staff.