Today in History:

1082 Series I Volume XXV-I Serial 39 - Chancellorsville Part I

Page 1082 N.VA.,W.VA.,MD.,AND PA. Chapter XXXVII.

possible mobility having been attained, on the 30th the division crossed the Rapidan at Raccoon Ford.

On May 1, the division marched in rear of Buford's brigade, on the road leading to Orange Court-House, to a point on the Plank road at which the road forked. Taking the road leading south to Orange Spring, after marching 5 miles I reached that place. The advance guard of the division, when near the place, surprised a cavalry picket of the enemy, captured 12 prisoners, including one commissioned officers; also one transportation wagon and a small quantity of public stores. Having learned that a train of transportation wagons had left early that morning for Spotsylvania, I sent strong parties rapidly in pursuit, but my division being now in advance, and directed to move upon Louisa Court-House [17 miles distant], the pursuit could not longer be permitted, and my parties were recalled.

Leaving Orange Spring at 6 p.m., the division arrived within three-fourths of a mile of the Court-House t 3 a.m. on the following day. At once placing the two sections of artillery under command of Captain J. M. Robertson, Second Artillery, in a commanding position, and forming Colonel Wyndham's brigade into three columns of attack-one to strike the town, one the railroad 1 mile above, the third the railroad 1 mile below the town. These parties, commanded, respectively, by Colonel Kilpatrick, Lieutenant-Colonel Irvine, and Major Avery, Tenth New York, did the work handsomely. Not finding the enemy, the pioneer corps were at once set to work destroying the railroad. This was effectually done for a distance of 5 miles. The water-tank was also destroyed. Some commissary stores were also seized at the depot. During the morning, the enemy's cavalry appeared on the right in the direction of Gordonsville. Strong reconnoitering parties were sent in that direction, and the enemy withdrew.

On the afternoon of the same day the march was resumed, the South Anna crossed, and Thompson's Four Corners reached that night.

At this place the major-general commanding the corps assigned to Lieutenant-Colonel Davis, Twelfth Illinois, with his regiment, Colonel Kilpatrick, Second New York Cavalry, with his regiment, and Colonel Wyndham, First New Jersey Cavalry, with the First New Jersey and First Maryland Regiments, specific operations in the direction of the Central Railroad and James River.

At 3 a.m. on the 3rd, I proceeded with the First Maine and Tenth New York Regiments down the south bank of the South Anna, for the purpose of destroying the several bridges between Thompson's Four Corners and the Gordonsville and Richmond Railroad. Lieutenant [Captain Wesley] Meritt, aide-de-camp to General Stoneman, who had preceded me with a squadron, was overtaken at the first bridge, which he had already destroyed. Proceeding down the river, I destroyed two bridges, the last the Ground Squirrel Bridge, at the crossing of the Louisa and Richmond road. Hearing that the South Anna Bridge was guarded by but a small picket of cavalry, I sent forward Lieutenant-Colonel Smith, First Maine Cavalry, with 200 men to destroy it. Lieutenant [Captain] Merritt joined this party with his squadron. On reaching the bridge, 15 miles distant, it was discovered that the enemy had sent a force of infantry and artillery for its protection, this precaution doubtless having bridge was not destroyed, but a portion of the railroad track was torn up and some store-houses burned.

This party having rejoined me at 3 a.m. on the 4th, on that day,

Page 1082 N.VA.,W.VA.,MD.,AND PA. Chapter XXXVII.