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

Page 184 OPERATIONS IN N.VA., W.VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

strewing the narrow valley with their dead. In this charge Archer's brigade was subjected to a heavy fire. At this time the Federal cavalry charge upon Taliaferro's brigade with impetuous valor, but were met with such determined resistance by Taliaferro's brigade in its front, and by so galling a fire from Branch's brigade in flank, that it was forced rapidly from the field with loss and in disorder.

In the mean time General Ewell, on the right, found himself kept back from advancing by the incessant fire from our batteries in the valley, which swept his only approach to the enemy's left. This difficulty no longer existing, he moved with his two brigades (Trimble in the advance) and pressed forward under a heavy fire from the enemy's artillery, the front covered by skirmishers from the Fifteenth Alabama, and the brigades advancing en echelon of regiments. Thus repulsed from our left and center, and now pressed by our right, center, and left, the Federal force fell back at every point of their line and commenced retreating, leaving their dead and wounded on the field of battle.

Though late, I was so desirous of reaching Culpeper Court-House before morning as to induce me to pursue. The advance was accordingly ordered, General Hill, with his division, leading; but owing to the darkness of the night it was necessary to move cautiously. Stafford's brigade, which was in front, captured some prisoners. Before we had probably advanced more than 1 1/2 miles Farrow, my most reliable scout, reported to me that the enemy was but a few hundred yards from our advance. Pegram's battery, supported by Field's brigade soon took position just beyond the wood through which we had passed and opened upon the enemy. This well-directed and unexpected fire produced much disorder and confusion among that portion of the Federal troops. Three batteries were, however, soon opened in reply, and a heavy cannonade was continued for some time, causing Captain Pegram severe loss and silencing him.

In the mean time Colonel Jones, with the Seventh Virginia Cavalry, had passed to our right and front. He succeeded in capturing some prisoners, one of whom reported that Federal re-enforcements had arrived. Believing it imprudent to continue to move forward during the darkness, I ordered a halt for the night.

On the following morning (10th), having reason to believe that the Federal Army had been so largely re-enforced as to render it imprudent for me to attempt to advance farther, directions were given for sending the wounded to the rear, for burying the dead, and collecting arms from the battle-field. In the course of the same morning General J. E. B. Stuart arrived on a tour of inspection. At my request he took command of the cavalry, and made a reconnaissance, for the purpose of gaining information respecting the numbers and movements of the enemy. From his report, as well as from other sources of information, I was confirmed in my opinion that the heavy forces concentrated in front rendered it unwise on my part to renew the action. The main body of my troops were, however, so posted as to receive the attack if the enemy decided to advance.

On the 11th a flag of truce was received from the enemy, who requested permission until 2 o'clock to remove and bury his dead not already interred by our troops. This was granted, and the time subsequently extended, by request of the enemy, to 5 o'clock in the evening.

We captured some 400 prisoners, and among them Brigadier-General Prince; 5,302 small-arms; one 12-pounder Napoleon and its caisson, with 2 other caissons and a limber, and 3 colors by Winder's brigade,

Page 184 OPERATIONS IN N.VA., W.VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.