Today in History:

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

Page 177 Chapter XXIV. CEDAR MOUNTAIN, VA.

General Pendleton, chief of artillery, placed forty-three guns in position within range of the enemy's shipping in the river and of the camps on the north side, upon both of which fire was opened, causing consternation and inflicting serious damage. The guns were withdrawn before daybreak, with the loss of 1 killed and 2 wounded by the gunboats and batteries of the enemy. This attack caused General McClellan to send a strong force to the south bank of the river, which intrenched itself on Coggins Point.

In the latter part of July the enemy's cavalry from Fredericksburg attempted to cut Jackson's communications by destroying the Central Railroad at Beaver Dam. This force did no serious damage, but to prevent the repetition of the attempt and to ascertain the strength and designs of the enemy General Stuart was directed to proceed from Hanover Court-House, where he was posted, toward Fredericksburg. His progress was delayed by high water until August 4, when he advanced, with Fitzhugh Lee's brigade and the Stuart Horse Artillery, upon Port Royal. Arriving at that place on the 5th without opposition, he proceeded in the direction of Fredericksburg, and the next day came into the Telegraph road at Massaponax Church just after two brigades of the enemy had passed that point on the way to the Central Railroad. His vigorous attack caused the expedition to return in haste to Fredericksburg, and General Stuart retired with a loss of only 2 men, bringing off 85 prisoners, and a number of horses, wagons, and arms. No further attempt was made upon the railroad.

On August 5 our cavalry reported that the enemy had advanced in large force from Westover to Malvern Hill, and the next day the divisions of Generals Longstreet and McLaws and that commanded by General Ripley were moved down to the Long Bridge road. The enemy was found occupying the ground on which the action of July 1 was fought, and seemed ready to deliver battle in as great force as on that day. McLaw's and Ripley's division, re-enforced by D. R. Jones' division, formed our left; Longstreet the right. The heat was intense, and the progress of the troops necessarily show. Before the road was cleared of the enemy's pickets and his line of battle disclosed the sun had almost set. Orders were given for our left wing to advance to Willis' Church, threatening the communication with Westover by extending well to the left, while two brigades of Longstreet's division were directed to advance upon Malvern Hill and drive in the enemy on Curl's Neck. The latter operation was handsomely executed by General Evans with his own and Cobb's brigade, forcing the enemy back to his guns on Malvern Hill.

The next morning, upon advancing, it was found that he had withdrawn during the night and retired to Westover. Our pickets were re-enstablished, and troops returned to their formed positions. This expedition, which was the last undertaken by General McClellan on James River, was attended with small loss on either side. General Hampton, with his brigade of cavalry, kept the enemy closely confined within his lines until his final withdrawal.


While the main body of the army awaited the development of McClellan's intentions, General Jackson, now re-enforced by A. P. Hill, determined to assume the offensive against General Pope, whose army, still superior in numbers, lay north of the Rapidan.


Page 177 Chapter XXIV. CEDAR MOUNTAIN, VA.