War of the Rebellion: Serial 090 Page 0678 Chapter LV. OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. MD., AND PA.

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men behind breast-works on the opposite bank, they found some of the flooring of the bridge had been removed. Immediately after reaching the river the bridge was fired by an explosion and soon destroyed. The ford, which was a bad one, was barricaded and defended by men in rifle-pits and artillery in position behind earth-works. It was impossible to effect a crossing in front. Some deadly was caused by having to send through the country to find parties who knew the roads to fords above and below Liberty Mills, so that I could cross and flank them out of their position. Finally two columns were started, one to the right and one to the left. Two brigades of the First Division-First and Second, Second Brigade leading, commanded by Colonel Kellogg, Seventeenth Pennsylvania Cavalry-were to cross at Willis' Ford, about two miles above Liberty Mills, and come down on the Stanardsville and Orange Court-House road. One brigade Second Division, Colonel Capehart commanding, was to cross at Cave's Ford, about three miles below Liberty Mills, and come up on the Orange Court-House and Stanardsville road. It was represented that both of these fords were good, and that the detour of these columns would be about four miles, when, in fact, the column at Willis' Ford could only cross by twos and had to march about eight miles before getting to Liberty Mills, and the column by Cave's Ford could only cross by field and had to march about seven miles before getting to Liberty Mills. This caused an unexpected delay, and it was not until just dark when the right column came in sight and immediately charged the enemy, driving them across the Gordonsville pike and in the direction of Orange Court-House; here they were met by my left column, and the enemy withdrew by a country road in the direction of Gordonsville. The fighting was all after dark, and not being able to tell friend from foe, and my own men having fired into each other, the firing was ordered to cease and hold their positions for the night. This day and night was intensely cold. December 23, at daylight the enemy was again engaged and all their artillery-two-pieces-taken from them, and driven to within two miles and a half of Gordonsville to the top of the gap in southwest Mountain. Here the pass was narrow and the enemy were strongly posted behind rails and earth breast-works, where a few men could hold three times their number in check. I attacked the position with nearly half of my force, but could not carry it, and I immediately started a column to flank them on the left by crossing the mountain several miles to the north. While waiting to hear from this column, which had got well on its was, the cars wee heard about ten o'clock to arrive at Gordonsville, and about an hour after infantry was seen to file into the breastworks and relieve the cavalry. After becoming fully satisfied of the presence of infantry (Pegram's division), I concluded it was useless to make a further attempt to break the Central railroad. I had at this time six or eight men killed and about forty wounded, more than I could transport, and the worst cases were left behind. I decided to withdraw and at once crossed to the north bank of the Rapidan. That afternoon and evening I marched to Madison Court-House and Robertson's River. About thirty prisoners were taken, but having no provisions, and it being very difficult, if not impossible, for them to keep up, I paroled them. The guns, two 3-inch rifled, were brought to camp. December 24, at daylight started from Madison Court-House, marched, via James City, Griffinsburg, and Stone-House Mountain, to near Rixeyville. December 25, at daylight marched to the Fauquier White Suphur Springs, crossing in the meantime the Hazel and the