Today in History:

1062 Series I Volume XXV-I Serial 39 - Chancellorsville Part I

Page 1062 N.VA.,W.VA.,MD.,AND PA. Chapter XXXVII.

had been freed by the recall of General Averell by General Hooker, made its appearance in the vicinity of Shannon's Cross-Roads, and Captain Harrison, in order to gain time to draw in and save his pickets, in the most gallant manner charged the head of the advancing column of the enemy, 1,200 strong, and saved all his little force, except Captain Owens, who had his horse shot, and Lieutenant Buford, taken on picket, 1 private, killed on the spot, 3 wounded, who escaped, and 30 missing. Before we could arrive, the enemy had moved off at a rapid rate in the direction of Charlottesville, leaving in our hands as prisoners Major [William J.] Johnson, of General Stuart's staff, and 3 privates.

We remained at Shannon's Cross-Roads during the 4th, and on the morning of the 5th moved to Yanceyville, on the South Anna, where we were joined by General Gregg, Colonel Wyndham, and Captains Merritt and Drummond, each with his command.

The six days having now expired, during which we were assured by the commanding general he would certainly communicate with us, and no communication having been received, no retreating enemy having been seen or heard of, and no information as to the condition of things in the vicinity of Fredericksburg except vague rumors of our defeat and capture having been obtained; supplies for man and beast becoming scarce; having accomplished all that we were sent to perform, and having come to the conclusion that Colonels Kilpatrick and Davis, with their commands, had gone in the direction of Yorktown, I determined to make the best of our way back to the Army of the Potomac.

To take the enemy by surprise and penetrate his country was easy enough; to withdraw from it was a more difficult matter. We knew that Lee and Hampton were to the west of us, and that they were under the impression that we were going in the direction of Charlottesville, with the object of destroying the railroad and other bridges over the Rivanna River, and the depots in that region, which we should have attempted but for the jaded condition of our horses, the weariness of our men, and the weakened strength of the command by the absence of Colonels Kilpatrick and Davis with their regiments, who had gone down the Peninsula. We knew also that there was a strong force at and in the vicinity of Gordonsville, and heard that another force was at Louisa Court-House, and a small force of infantry at Tolersville.

After thinking the matter over, I determined to send General Buford, with 650 picket horses of his brigade, to threaten any force in the vicinity of Gordonsville, and induce Lee and Hampton to believe that we were going to get out by that way; and another force, under Captain Rodenbough, was sent in the direction of Bowling Green, with the view of threatening the enemy's communication in that direction, and, under cover of night, with the main body, to take the middle road leading through Tolersville, and crossing the North Anna near the Victoria Iron Works; from thence to Orange Springs, where all were to rendezvous the next day.

All our plans and calculations worked admirably, and though we had no little difficulty in finding and following the almost impassable roads, owing to the inky darkness of the night and the incessant pouring of the rain, the whole command was assembled at Orange Springs at 12 m. of the 6th. Here we first began to hear rumors, through negroes, of the repulse and withdrawal of our army to the north side of the Rappahannock.

After watering and feeding our animals, we pushed on to the Plank road leading from Fredericksburg to Orange Court-House, and from

Page 1062 N.VA.,W.VA.,MD.,AND PA. Chapter XXXVII.