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RUSSELL'S ASSAULT AT RAPPA HANNOCK STATION. 397
his dash across the Rappahannock; | both above and below the enemy's while our captures were hardly half works; then our lines were quietly 80 many. In killed and wounded, advanced over rugged ground till the losses were nearly equal—not far within half a mile of the works; from 500 on either side. But the whence a flat, open vale, traversed prestige of skill and daring, of au- by a wide ditch, with high, steep dacity and success, inured entirely banks and three feet of mud and to the Rebel commander, who, with water in its bed, then by a moat 12 an inferior force, had chased our feet wide by 5 deep, now dry; bearmy almost up to Washington, yond which, rose a hill or ridge, utterly destroyed its main artery of directly on the river's bank, on which supply, captured the larger number were the enemy's works. Gen. of prisoners, destroyed or caused us | Wright had command of the 6th to destroy valuable stores, and then corps; while Brig.-Gen. David A. returned to his own side of the Rap- Russell " commanded the 1st divispahannock essentially unharmed; ion, whereof the 3d brigade, comhaving decidedly the advantage in prising the 5th Wisconsin, 6th Maine, the only collision which marked his 49th and 119th Pa., now commanded retreat.
| by Col. P. C. Ellmaker, of the latter, Nettled by the trick which had was his own, and had been carefully been played upon him, Meade now drilled by him into the highest effisought permission to make an at- ciency. This brigade was advanced tempt, by a rapid movement to the directly opposite the enemy's works ; left, to seize the heights of Freder- and Russell, after a careful observaicksharg; but Halleck negatived the tion, reported to Wright, just before project; so Sedgwick, with the 6th sunset, that those works could be and 5th corps, was sent forward at carried by storm, and was authorized daybreak” from Warrenton to Rap- to try it. pahannock Station, where the Rebels. The next moment, his brigade had strongly fortified the north bank moved forward in two lines : five of the river, covering a pontoon companies of the 6th Maine deploy. bridge. The works on this side were ing as skirmishers, while the 5th Wisheld by Hayes's Louisiana brigade; consin, dashing in solid column on while Hoke's brigade, composed of the largest and strongest redoubt, folthe 6th, 54th, and 57th N. C., was lowed close behind them; the 20th sent over to support it by Lee, who, Maine, of another brigade, closing with Early's division, was just across on their left, and advancing in line the river. Our approach was of with the 6th ; Russell himself at the course well known, and Hoke pushed front, and giving the order to over on purpose to make all secure. charge;' whereupon, with fixed bay
Arriving at noon opposite the Sta- onets and without firing a shot, the tion, our troops were halted behind a line swept forward through a deluge hill a good mile away, rested and of case-shot and Minié bullets. carefully formed, and our skirmish Ten minutes later, the rest of the lines gradually advanced to the river brigade came up at double-quick to * Nov. 7.
*Of Salem, N. Y.-son of the late Ilon. David Russell
their aid; but, during those ten min- | Berdan's sharp-shooters in front, and utes, the 6th Maine had lost 16 out charged into the enemy's rifle-pits, of 23 officers, and 123 out of 350 en-capturing Col. Gleason, 12th Virlisted men; three of their veteran ginia, and over 400 men, with a loss captains lying dead, with Lt. Col. of some 40. Our command of the Harris, of this regiment, and Maj. ford was complete; and Lee, thorWheeler, of the 5th Wisc., severely oughly worsted, fell back to Culpepwounded. Adj. Clark, of the former, per that night, and across the Rapiand Lt. Russell, a relative and aid of dan the next. Our railroad was then the General, were likewise wounded. rebuilt down to and across the RapBut now the Pennsylvania regiments pahannock, and rëopened" to Branrushed in at their highest speed, and dy Station; which thus became our the struggle at this point was over; dépôt of supplies. while the 121st New York and 5th Maine, of the 2d brigade, firing but It was a prevalent conviction a single volley, swept, just at dusk, among its more energetic and enterthrough the Rebel rifle-pits on Rus- prising officers that our army might sell's right, and down to the pon- have advanced directly on the heel toons in the Rebel rear, cutting off of its brilliant success at Rappahanthe retreat of the routed garrison, nock Station and its seizure of the and compelling 1,600 of them to sur- fords, and caught that of the enemy render. Four guns, 7 flags, 2,000 dispersed in Winter cantonments or small arms, and the pontoon bridge, compelled it to fight at disadvantage were among the captures; Gen. | before it could be concentrated and Hayes surrendered, but afterward intrenched in a strong position. escaped. Two of his Colonels swam Meade, however, with his habitual the river. Several who attempted to caution, waited till the bridge at do so were drowned. The whole Rappahannock Station was rebuilt, was the work of two brigades, num- and every thing provided for moving bering less than 3,000 men; and safely; when, finding that he was most of it of Russell's, barely 1,549 not assailed nor likely to be, he strong. And, while no praise is too again gave the order to advance. high for his men, it is not too much A storm forthwith burst, which dicto say that the credit of this rarely tated a delay of three days; after paralleled exploit is mainly due to which, the start was actually made: David A. Russell--as capable, mod. Gen. French, with the 3d corps, fol. est, and brave a soldier as the army lowed by Sedgwick, with the 6th, of the Potomac ever knew.
crossing the Rapidan at Jacob's mill; Simultaneously with this move- Gen. Warren, with the 2d, at Germent, the 2d and 3d corps, Gen. mania ford—both moving on RobFrench, advanced to Kelly's ford; ertson's tavern; while Sykes, with where pontoons were quickly laid, the 5th, followed by Newton, with under the fire of their guns, and the two divisions of the 1st, crossed at 3d brigade of Ward's division, Gen. Culpepper ford, and Gregg, with a De Trobriand, at once dashed across, division of cavalry, crossed at Ely's 77 Nov. 19.
** Nov. 23.
MINE RUN AND VICINITY. ford, and advanced on the Catharpen Lee (Longstreet being still absent) road, covering the left or most ex- could oppose to it only the two heavy posed flank of our infantry: the corps or grand divisions of A. P. other two divisions, under Custer Hill and Ewell, estimated by Meade and Merritt, watching respectively at 50,000 strong. the upper fords of the Rapidan and Our troops moved at 6 A. M.;"" but the trains parked at Richardsville in energy and punctuality, save in reour rear. Fully 70,000 men were treat, seem to have long ere now deengaged in this movement; while serted this army; and the 3d corps
70 Nov. 26.
-through the mistake, it is said, of this order, an answer was received Gen. Prince, commanding one of its from French, at 1 P. M., that the divisions, who took a wrong road- enemy were throwing a force to his did not even reach Jacob's mill till right flank at Raccoon ford. Once afternoon; and then the banks of more, he was ordered to advance the river were steep, &c., &c.—the forthwith, and, if resisted, to attack upshot of all being that the prompt with all his inight, throwing forward corps had to wait for the laggard; his left to connect with Gen. Warso that, instead of concentrating on ren. French received this order at Robertson's tavern that evening, as 24 P. M., but protested against it as Meade had prescribed, our army hazardous, and desired the staff capspent the day in getting across, and tain who brought it to assume the the heads of its columns bivouacked responsibility of suspending its exea mile or two from the fords; thus cution! Thus, with all manner precluding all possibility of surpris- of hesitations and cross-purposesing the enemy or taking him at dis- Prince once halting two hours at a advantage.
fork for orders as to which road he Our troops moved on at daylight should take—the day was squannext morning ;" the 2d corps repel. dered; Meade, sorely disappointed ling the enemy's skirmishers and by French's non-arrival, being at reaching, at 10 A. M., Robertson's length obliged to order the 1st corps tavern; where Early's, Rhodes's, and over from the plank road to the E. Johnson's divisions of Ewell's support of Warren, who was hard corps confronted it. Warren was pressed," near Robertson's tavern, thereupon ordered to halt, and which he regarded as the key of the await the arrival of French, then position. momently expected. At 11, word The 5th corps came up next morncame from him that he was near the ing;' and now Gregg went forward plank road, and was there waiting with his cavalry on the plank road, for Warren. He was ordered afresh and had a smart collision with to push on at once to Robertson's Stuart's troopers, whoin be pushed tavern, where he would find Warren back upon their infantry supports; engaged and requiring his support. when he recoiled and allowed Sykes Several officers having been sent by to go forward, connecting with WarMeade to rëiterate and emphasize ren, to the vicinity of Hope Church. 60 Nov, 27.
Our losses on this day were 309; but this inof The Richmond Dispatch has a letter from a cludes pone from French's corps, who were correspondent with the Rebel army, dated Nov. / skirmishing a good part of the day; while we 28, which gives their loss during this day's lost a few more on the 29th and 30th. The fighting as “fully 500 killed and wounded;" Dispatch correspondent reports that Rosser's adding:
cavalry, raiding in our rear, struck a train near “Of the loss of the enemy, I am not advised; / Wilderness tavern, and captured 70 wagons but I am now disposed to doubt if it was as
(whereof they destroyed 50), and brought off 150 heavy as our own. They fought, I am told,
| prisoners and as many mules or horses. quite well, and fired more accurately than usual." Among their casualties he instances Geps.
It is probable that, including deserters, either Stuart (J. E. B.) and J. M. Jones slightly wound.
army was depleted by fully 1,000 men during
this Mine Run movement. ed; Col. Nelligan, 1st La., severely; and Lt.Col. Walton, 23d Va., killed.
THE MINE RUN FIASCO.
Our army being now disposed for a , left that he had outflanked the enedetermined attack, it was found that my's line of defenses, and could easily the enemy had retreated; whereupon assault and turn them. Meade therethe 2d corps moved out two miles upon decided to attack at all points
the 2d corp sound the enemy in posta
At 8 P. M., Warnspressing such
tion along the west bank of MINE At 8 P. M., Warren reported to Run, facing eastward; where the Meade in person, expressing such 2d, 6th, 1st, and part of the 3d corps, confidence in his ability to carry under a pelting November rain, were every thing before him, while French brought into line confronting them a had reported against the assault just little after dark.
ordered on the enemy's center, that The enemy's deliberately chosen Meade decided to forego, or at least position was of course a good one. to postpone, that assault, and send The 'run' was of little consequence, two divisions of the 3d corps to rëenso far as water was concerned, being force Warren, so as to give him six rarely over two feet deep; but its divisions (nearly half the army), and immediate banks were in places thus render the success of his conswampy and scarcely passable; while templated attack a moral certainty. a bare, smooth slope ascended gently So our men lay down once more on for half a mile or so to a crest or their arms, with orders to the corps ridge, perhaps a hundred feet above commanders that the batteries of the the surface of the stream, already right and center should open at 8 bristling with abatis, infantry para- A. M.;" at which hour, Warren was pets, and epaulements for batteries. to make the grand assault : Sedgwick After careful reconnoissance, an at- striking in on our right an hour later; tack directly in front was negatived: while the three divisions of the 1st so Warren, with the 2d and a divi- and 3d corps, left to hold our center, sion of the 6th corps, was impelled which were only to demonstrate and farther to our left (south), with in- menace in the morning, were to adstructions to feel for the enemy's vance and assault whenever the flank and turn it if possible, while flank attacks should have proved suceach corps commander should more cessful. Meantime, our cavalry skirclosely examine the ground in his mished at various points with the front, and report on the practicability enemy's, who attempted to molest of an assault. '
our communications at the fords and The next day o' was spent in this elsewhere; but who were repulsed reconnoissance—the Rebel defenses and driven off. being of course strengthened every Our batteries opened at the desig. hour-Gen. Wright, commanding a nated hour; our skirmishers in the division of the 6th corps, reporting, center dashed across Mine Run, pushat 6 P. M., that he had discovered a ing back those of the enemy; while point on our extreme right where an Sedgwick, who had massed his colassault might be made with a good |umn during the night, as near the prospect of cheap and decisive suc-enemy's lines as possible, awaited cess. Warren soon reported from our the moment for attack. But nothing Nov. 29.
* Nov. 30. . VOL. II.-26