Today in History:

27 Series I Volume XII-II Serial 16 - Second Manassas Part II


able force, and that he would be able to crush their advance before their main body could come up from the direction of the Rapidan. He accordingly threw forward his whole corps into action, against superior forces of the enemy strongly posted and sheltered by woods and ridges. His advance led him over the open ground, which was everywhere swept by the fire of the enemy, concealed in the woods and ravines beyond. Notwithstanding these disadvantages his corps gallantly responded to his orders and assaulted the enemy with great fury and determination. The action lasted about an hour and a half, and during that time our forces suffered heavy loss, and were gradually driven back to their former position, at which point, just at dusk, Rickett's division, of McDowell's corps, came up and joined in the engagement.

As soon as I arrived on the field at the head of Ricketts' division I directed General Banks to draw in his right, which was much extended, and to mass the whole of his right wing at the center of his line, pushing forward at the same time Ricketts' division to occupy the ground thus vacated. The enemy followed Banks as he retired with great caution, and emerging from the woods, which had sheltered him all day, attempted to push forward to the open ground in front of our new line. A sharp artillery engagement immediately commenced, when the enemy was driven back to the woods, principally by the batteries of Ricketts' division.

The artillery firing was kept up until near midnight of the 9th. Finding that Banks' corps had been severely cut up and was much fatigued I drew it back to the rear and pushed forward the corps of Sigel, which had begun to arrive, to occupy the woods on the left of the road, with a wide space of open ground in his front. Ricketts' division was also drawn back to the cover of the woods and behind the ridges in the open ground on the right of Sigel. These dispositions were completed about daybreak on the morning of the 10th. Banks' corps, reduced to about 5,000 men, was so cut up and worn down with fatigue that I did not consider it capable of rendering any efficient service for several days. I therefore directed General Banks, or, in his absence, General Williams, who succeeded to the command, to assemble his corps on the road to Culpeper Court-House, and about 2 miles in rear of our front; to collect his stragglers, send back his wounded to Culpeper Court-House, and proceed as rapidly as possible to put the corps in condition for service.

In consequence of the vigorous resistance of the night previous, and the severe loss of the enemy in attempting to advance, before daylight of the 10th Jackson drew back his forces toward Cedar Mountain, about 2 miles from our front. Our pickets were immediately pushed forward, supported by Milroy's brigade, and occupied the ground.

The day of the 10th was intensely hot, and the troops on both sides were too much fatigued to renew the action. My whole effective force on that day, exclusive of Banks' corps, which was in no condition for service, was about 20,000 artillery and infantry and about 2,000 cavalry. General Buford, with the cavalry force under his command, not yet having been able to join the main body, I had telegraphed General King at Fredericksburg to move forward on the 8th by the lower fords of the Rappahannock and Stevensburg to join me. A large part of his command had just returned from a very fatiguing expedition against the Central Railroad, but he marched forward promptly, and joined the main body late in the evening of the 11th. The whole day was spent by both armies in burying the dead and in bringing off the wounded.

Although, even after King joined me, my whole effective force was