Today in History:

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

Page 143 Chapter XXIV. CEDAR MOUNTAIN, VA.

force, strongly posted in the woods about 2,000 yards in front of us. Here they skirmished until about noon, the enemy occasionally firing upon them by companies. Whenever this occurred I would send a few shells among them, causing their sudden withdrawal. During the afternoon my skirmishers drove the enemy from the woods, following them some three-fourths of a mile. About 4 p. m. sent out my cavalry to reconnoiter, and, if possible, to allow the ambulances to bring off some of our wounded. In this they were quite successful, bringing off about 100. The cavalry had in the meanwhile approached within 300 yards of the enemy's lines without drawing their fire, and having ascertained their position withdrew to our lines.

On the morning of the 11th, it being determined to take the dead and wounded from off the field, I was ordered to advance my brigade and cover the ambulances and working parties. I accordingly sent forward my three companies of cavalry, followed by my infantry. The cavalry, upon arriving at the outskirts of the wood halted, finding ahead of them a strong cavalry force under the direction of General Bayard. I then rode forward, followed by several ambulances, which I sent back loaded with wounded. About an hour had thus elapsed, when I was informed a flag of truce had been sent in by the enemy, and at the same time received a request from General Bayard to attend a conference with the rebel general Stuart relative to a cessation of hostilities for the purpose of attending to the dead and wounded of both parties. An armistice until 2 o'clock p. m. was finally agreed upon, but was afterward, by mutual consent, extended to the evening.

A reconnaissance on the morning of the 12th found the enemy had withdrawn during the night in the direction of the Rapidan River. I followed as rapidly as possible as soon as this was ascertained, but only succeeded in discovering the rear guard of their cavalry in full flight. Having advanced some 6 miles, as far as Crooked Creek, and finding it impassable on account of previous heavy rains, encamped my brigade upon its banks and awaited orders.

On the morning of the 13th, finding Crooked Creek and Robertson's River fordable for my cavalry and artillery, I crossed my infantry on slight bridges hastily constructed. When about 800 yards south of Robertson's River I was obliged to halt my brigade, with the exception of cavalry, on the banks of a narrow and deep creek emptying into Robertson's River. The bottom if this creek, where it crossed the road, was composed of mud worn into deep holes, thus rendering it impassable for my artillery. In the course of two hours I had thrown across it a bridge strong enough to sustain my heaviest guns. A party of my cavalry had in the mean time reconnoitered as far as Rapidan River, some 5 miles beyond us, reporting a small party of the enemy on the opposite shore. Having crossed the bridge I proceeded about a quarter of a mile to where I was ordered to halt for the day.

About 4 p. m., when I was about to post my pickets for the night, I received orders to fall back on my original position left in the morning. I accordingly withdrew my brigade, with the exception of my cavalry and a section of my battery, which I left in a favorable position.*

* * * * * * *


Brigadier General, Commanding Ind't., First Corps, Army of Va.


Assistant Adjutant-General.


* Portion here omitted is printed on pp. 315-323.


Page 143 Chapter XXIV. CEDAR MOUNTAIN, VA.