Today in History:

45 Series I Volume XXIX-I Serial 48 - Bristoe, Mine Run Part I


After 10 o'clock that night information was received which satisfied me that the enemy had abandoned the pursuit of Colonel Jackson, and that, while the First Brigade was marching toward Warm Springs, General Averell was advancing from Warm Springs to Callaghan's. I immediately ordered Colonel Patton to return on the Antony's Creek road in the hope of intercepting the enemy on the road from the Warm to the White Sulphur Springs. By a night march our advanced guard reached the intersection of the latter-named road at the same instant that the head of Averell's column debouched from the defile through the Allegheny Mountains on the road from Callaghan's. General Averell endeavored to force his way through, but the first Brigade was quickly placed in position, when an engagement commenced, which for five hours was very warm and continued at intervals until dark.

That night the troops occupied the same position that they had taken in the morning. The enemy made two vigorous attacks the next morning, which were handsomely repulsed, when he abandoned his position and retreated towards Warm Springs.

My cavalry and artillery wee ordered in pursuit. For about 10 or 12 miles the road passes through a narrow and thickly wooded defile. The enemy availed himself of the advantage offered to retard pursuit by felling trees across the road. I was informed that he had left a regiment of infantry and a squadron of cavalry at the Warm Springs,and under the impression that he would make a stand at the latter place, the First Brigade was pushed forward in pursuit. The enemy, however, turned off from the direct road at Morris' Hill and retreated rapidly by way of Huntersville toward Beverly.

The reports and accompanying papers from Colonels Patton and William L. Jackson will give the details of the engagement near White Sulphur Springs and of the pursuit of the enemy.

The conduct of the troops on the 26th and 27th was admirable, and they moved forward in pursuit with spirit and alacrity, and, although much fatigue, without straggling.

Colonel George S. Patton, commanding the brigade, displayed good judgement in placing his troops in action, and his gallantry was conspicuous throughout the engagement.

I am greatly indebted to the officers of my staff who were with me (Major W. B. Myers, assistant adjutant-general; Captain R. L. poor, Engineer Corps; and my aides, Lieuts. James L. Fraser and P. C. Warwick) for the intelligent and active performance of their duties. Lieutenant Warwick made a difficult and hazardous reconnaissance of the enemy on the night of the 25th and morning of the 26th.

I must add that on receiving information of Averell's movements, I telegraphed to the Secretary of War and General Lee, informing them of it, and asking that Jenkins' brigade of cavalry and Wharton's, of infantry, be returned to me by way of Staunton and Warm Springs, and they were ordered accordingly. If Wharton's brigade had moved by railroad to Millborough, as I supposed it would, it would have reached Callaghan's on the evening of the 26th or morning of the 27th. With that force at Callaghan's and the First Brigade pressing in the rear, the country is such that I scarcely think that General Averell's command could have escaped destruction.

On first receiving information of the enemy's movement, apprehending that he might be aiming at Virginia and Tennessee Railroad, I warned the home guards along the line of that road to be in readiness to turn out at a moment's notice. On the night of the 25th, I