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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 | IIill 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
7° Nov. 26.
—through the mistake, it is said, of Gen. Prince, commanding one of its divisions, who took a wrong road— did not even reach Jacob’s mill till afternoon ; and then the banks of the river were steep, &c., &c.—the upshot of all being that the prompt corps had to wait for the laggard; so that, instead of concentrating on Itobertson's tavern that evening, as Meade had prescribed, our army spent the day in getting across, and the heads of its columns bivouacked a mile or two from the fords; thus precluding all possibility of surprising the enemy or taking him at disadvantage. Our troops moved on at daylight next morning;" the 2d corps repelling the enemy's skirmishers and reaching, at 10 A. M., Robertson's tavern; where Early's, Rhodes's, and E. Johnson's divisions of Ewell's corps confronted it. Warren was thereupon ordered to halt, and await the arrival of French, then momently expected. At 11, word came from him that he was near the plank road, and was there waiting for Warren. IIe was ordered afresh to push on at once to Tobertson's tavern, where he would find Warren engaged and requiring his support. Several officers having been sent by Meade to róiterate and emphasize * Nov. 27. * The Richmond Dispatch has a letter from a correspondent with the Rebel army, dated Nov. 28, which gives their loss during this day's fighting as “fully 500 killed and wounded;” adding: “Of the loss of the enemy, I am not advised; but I am now disposed to doubt if it was as
this order, an answer was received from French, at 1 P. M., that the enemy were throwing a force to his right flank at Raccoon ford. Once more, he was ordered to advance forthwith, and, if resisted, to attack with all his might, throwing forward his left to connect with Gen. Warren. French received this order at 2} P. M., but protested against it as hazardous, and desired the staff captain who brought it to assume the responsibility of suspending its execution Thus, with all manner of hesitations and cross-purposes— Prince once halting two hours at a fork for orders as to which road he should take—the day was squandered; Meade, sorely disappointed by French's non-arrival, being at length obliged to order the 1st corps over from the plank road to the support of Warren, who was hard pressed,” near Robertson's tavern, which he regarded as the key of the position. The 5th corps came up next morning;” and now Gregg went forward with his cavalry on the plank road, and had a smart collision with Stuart's troopers, whom he pushed back upon their infantry supports; when he recoiled and allowed Sykes to go forward, connecting with Warren, to the vicinity of Hope Church. Our losses on this day were 309; but this includes none from French's corps, who were skirmishing a good part of the day; while we lost a few more on the 29th and 30th. The Dispatch correspondent reports that Rosser's cavalry, raiding in our rear, struck a train near Wilderness tavern, and captured 70 wagons (whereof they destroyed 50), and brought off 150prisoners and as many mules or horses. It is probable that, including deserters, either
heavy as our own. They fought, I am told, quite well, and fired more accurately than usual.”
Among their casualties he instances Gens. Stuart (J. E. B.) and J. M. Jones slightly wounded; Col. Nelligan, 1st La., severely; and Lt.Col. Walton, 23d Va., killed.
army was depleted by fully 1,000 men during this Mino Run movement.
** Nov. 28.
Our army being now disposed for a determined attack, it was found that the enemy had retreated; whereupon the 2d corps moved out two miles farther, and found the enemy in position along the west bank of MINE RUN, facing eastward; where the 2d, 6th, 1st, and part of the 3d corps, under a pelting November rain, were brought into line confronting them a little after dark. The enemy's deliberately chosen position was of course a good one. The “run” was of little consequence, so far as water was concerned, being rarely over two feet deep; but its immediate banks were in places swampy and scarcely passable; while a bare, smooth slope ascended gently for half a mile or so to a crest or ridge, perhaps a hundred feet above the surface of the stream, already bristling with abatis, infantry parapets, and epaulements for batteries. After careful reconnoissance, an attack directly in front was negatived : so Warren, with the 2d and a division of the 6th corps, was impelled farther to our left (south), with instructions to feel for the enemy's flank and turn it if possible, while each corps commander should more closely examine the ground in his front, and report on the practicability of an assault. The next day" was spent in this reconnoissance—the Rebel defenses being of course strengthened every hour—Gen. Wright, commanding a division of the 6th corps, reporting, at 6 P.M., that he had discovered a point on our extreme right where an assault might be made with a good prospect of cheap and decisive success. Warren soon reported from our
left that he had outflanked the enemy’s line of defenses, and could easily assault and turn them. Meade thereupon decided to attack at all points next morning. At 8 P. M., Warren reported to Meade in person, expressing such confidence in his ability to carry every thing before him, while French had reported against the assault just ordered on the enemy's center, that Meade decided to forego, or at least to postpone, that assault, and send two divisions of the 3d corps to réenforce Warren, so as to give him six divisions (nearly half the army), and thus render the success of his contemplated attack a moral certainty. So our men lay down once more on their arms, with orders to the corps commanders that the batteries of the right and center should open at 8 A. M.;” at which hour, Warren was to make the grand assault: Sedgwick striking in on our right an hour later; while the three divisions of the 1st. and 3d corps, left to hold our center, which were only to demonstrate and menace in the morning, were to advance and assault whenever the flank attacks should have proved successful. Meantime, our cavalry skirmished at various points with the enemy’s, who attempted to molest our communications at the fords and elsewhere; but who were repulsed and driven off. Our batteries opened at the designated hour; our skirmishers in the center dashed across Mine Run, pushing back those of the enemy; while Sedgwick, who had massed his column during the night, as near the enemy's lines as possible, awaited the moment for attack. But nothing
** Nov. 29. WTOL. II.-26
** Nov. 30.
was heard from Warren, till ten minutes before 9, when his dispatch reached Meade, stating that he had found the enemy's defenses so strong that he did not feel able to carry them, and had suspended his attack in consequence. Sedgwick was thereupon directed to hold off till further orders, while Meade galloped to Warren, four miles off, and conferred with him as to the situation. He found Warren fixed in the conviction that an attack on this flank was hopeless; and now it was too late to concentrate for a determined attack on the center; while, if the attempt to flank the enemy's left was to be further prosecuted, the whole army must be moved toward our left, abandoning the turnpike, which was our main line of communication and of retreat. Meade concluded to desist for the day: the 5th and 6th corps, with two divisions of the 3d, returning to their former positions. Meanwhile, the opening of our batteries in the morning had exposed to the enemy the point on his left where we had purposed to attack, and he had made haste to strengthen it by earthworks, abatis, and guns. Our supply trains had been left north of the Tapidan. If the movement should be persisted in, they must be brought over, in order that our soldiers’ haversacks might be re
plenished. Then the turnpike and plank roads must be abandoned, and our army cut loose from its resources, at a season when a few hours' rain would convert the river in its rear into a raging, foaming flood. All the important roads in this region run from Gordonsville and Orange Court IIouse eastward to Fredericksburg; and our army, moving southward to flank the enemy, must cut and bridge roads for its guns and trains. That army, if not discouraged by the bungles and failures of the last week, must by this time have been soured and intensely disgusted. To rush it now on the Rebel defenses—which had grown and were growing stronger each hour—would be to expose it to defeat in a position where defeat was sure to be disastrous, and might prove ruinous. Meade decided, therefore, to back out—and this was the least wretched part of the entire wretched business. He says he should have marched to the heights of Fredericksburg, if IIalleck had left him at liberty to do so; but he probably evinced more sense, if less spirit, in plumply retreating, so bringing his army back across the Tapidan during the night,” and taking up his pontoons next morning, without having been pursued, or anywise molested during his retreat." And this terminated, with the Army of the Potomac, the campaign of 1863.
* Dec. 1–2.
* Gen. A. P. Howe, testifying before the Committee on the Conduct of the War, thus sums up the judgment of those officers of his army who were dissatisfied with Meade's leadership:
“I do not think they have full confidence in the ability or state of mind of Gen. Meade. What I mean by that is the animus that directs the movements of the army. They do not think there is that heart, and energy, and earnestness of purpose in the war, to make every use of the means at his command to injure the enemy and carry on the war successfully. I do not think
they have, I will not say confidence, but faith in him. They do not expect from him what the crisis seems to call for. They believe that, if he is attacked, he will do all he can to defend his position. But that he will act with zeal and energy, or that his whole heart and soul are in the bringing all the means successfully to bear to break down the enemy, so far as I can judge, they do not look for that; they do not expect it. So far as I can judge, a great many officers think he can do very well in a defensive fight. If he was called upon to guard the Potomac or Washington, he will make good marches to stop the enemy; but that he will be active, zealous, en
The more important military operations in (and from) WEST WIRGINLA, during 1863, were as follows:
A raiding expedition, 1,000 strong, consisting of the 2d Virginia (Union) cavalry, Col. John Toland, and 34th Ohio infantry (mounted), which struck out" from Browntown, West Virginia, crossing Lens mountain to Coal river, and thence moving southeasterly by Raleigh and Wyoming Court House, zigzagged over the Guyan, Tug, and several other ranges of mountains, swooped down” on Wytheville, a village of 1,800 inhabitants, and a place of considerable importance. IIitherto, they had passed over a rugged, wild, and sterile region, having very few inhabitants and no elements of resistance; but, charging into Wytheville, they were fired on from the houses, whereby Col. Toland was soon killed and Col. Powell, 34th Ohio, mortally wounded, as were several of their leading subordinates. After firing some of the buildings whence they were thus assailed, our men, abandoning their dead and wounded, fell back two miles and encamped ; starting for home, under Lt.-Col. Franklin, 34th Ohio, early next morning. IIungry, worn out, and dispirited, they lost
nearly.half their horses on their de
vious way homeward: wending from
early dawn till midnight over the
roughest mountains, and being four days without food, till they struck Tug fork the second night, where they found and killed some cattle. Misled by a treacherous guide, they wasted next day wandering through the mountains, finding" rations and feed at Fayetteville; having ridden over 400 miles, lost 83 men, with at least 300 horses, and endured as much misery as could well be crowded into a profitless raid of eight days.
Gen. W. W. Averill, setting forth from Huttonsville, Itandolph county, moved down the line dividing West from old Virginia, pushing back the small Rebel forces in that quarter under Col. W. S. [“Mudwall’] Jackson, and menacing an advance on Staunton. At length, when near Lewisburg and White Sulphur Springs, he was met" by a force about equal to his own, under Maj.-Gen Sam. Jones, but more immediately commanded by Col. Geo. S. Patton, who had chosen a strong position in a gorge between steep mountains that precluded flanking, where a spirited fight was maintained throughout the day, and till noon of the next; when Averill drew off, short of ammunition, leaving one disabled gun. IIe had calculated on help from Gen. Scammon, commanding on the Kanawha, which did not reach lim. Our
crgetic, in using his means to strike successful
ernment: they do not like the way the Negro
* July 13. * July 1s. “July 23, ”Aug. 26.