Monday, November 18, 2013

October 10, 1863

October 10, 1863

---Bristoe Station Campaign: Union scouts confirm that part of the Army of Northern Virginia has indeed evacuated its lines along the Rapidan.  The Rebels (A.P. Hill’s Third Corps, followed by Richard Ewell’s Second Corps) march northeast up the Robertson’s River, and JEB Stuart throws out a cavalry screen east of Madison Court House to discourage Yankee curiosity.  The Rebels turn north and are soon in a position to flank Meade and even get into the rear of the Federal forces.  The Federal cavalry under Gregg and Kilpatrick probe the Confederate march, but find out little, at first.  When the Federal troopers are able to get convincing news about Lee’s moves, they report to Meade, who informs Gen. Halleck that he intends to withdraw back across the Rappahannock.  Watching the Rebels warily, Meade becomes convinced that Hill’s advance is meant to threaten his right flank, and that his army, mostly in the neighborhood of Culpeper Court House, must retreat.  He sends the V Corps marching north back towards the Bull Run area, and Gen. Warren with the II Corps (in the absence of the wounded Hancock) following behind, shadowing the Confederate advance parallel to his east. 

---Battle of Blue Springs, Tennessee:  A small fight with large consequences.  Gen. Burnside, commanding the Federal forces in mountainous East Tennessee, slowly and awkwardly inches toward the Virginia frontier along the line of the East Tennessee & Virginia Railroad, the only rail link between the two states, hoping to eventually capture the main salt works in western Virginia near Abingdon.  A brigade of Southern cavalry, under Brig. Gen. John S. Williams, has been skirmishing with some of Burnside’s cavalry, under Brig. Gen. Samuel P. Carter, near Bull’s Gap for nearly a week.  On this date, Williams attacks Carter’s troopers at Blue Springs.  As Carter holds the Rebels in place as a division of IX Corps troops under Gen. Edward Ferrero moves up in an attempt to cut off Williams’ route of retreat.  Ferrero’s assault breaks through the Rebel line and threatens to cut them off, when Williams deftly withdraws his troops, after suffering heavy losses.  Carter chases the Confederate column all the way into Virginia.  Union Victory.

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