Monday, November 18, 2013

October 11, 1863

October 11, 1863

---Bristoe Station Campaign:  Soon, the entire Army of the Potomac is in retreat northward.  Meade knows now that Lee is attempting to get in position to attack either his right or his rear, although erroneous reports to the contrary spread confusion for much of the day.  The cavalry of both armies boisterously skirmish with each other at various points along the way, and discover little about enemy positions.  Lee, who has intended to attack the flank of the Union army at Culpeper, finds that they have moved also, and that Lee’s cavalry has little idea where the Yankees actually are.  By this point, nearly all of the attacking force (Hill and Ewell) are north of Culpeper Court House, and Meade has managed to get almost all of his army across the Rappahannock to the northeast bank of that river.  Lee then writes to President Davis that he is determined to continue his march to Manassas in order to get in Meade’s rear and hopefully cut him off from Washington. 

---Of the fighting on this day, George Michael Neese, a Southern artilleryman with Stuart’s cavalry, writes of the action his battery was in, and the disabling of his gun:

When we put our gun in position right near the Barbour house the Yankee battery was firing on our cavalry and artillery in its immediate front, and paid no attention to us; but when we opened fire the whole Yankee battery turned its fire on my one lonely gun, and before I could make my third shot a thunderbolt from a twelve-pound gun struck my piece and crushed one of the wheels to smithers, and slightly wounded two of my cannoneers. We had just loaded our gun and were ready to fire when the twelve-pound solid shot came crashing through a little house that stood near our position and struck the gun carriage, then whizzed past us at a fearful speed and unhealthily close. When I saw the debris of the little house, such as shivered weather boarding, pieces of window sash, and fractured glass flying at us, and very sensibly felt the concussion of the solid shot, I thought that the hill had exploded.

The Yankee battery fired some six or eight shots at our position after our gun was disabled, but they were wasting their ammunition on a dead gun, for the time being. Soon after the Yankee battery ceased firing at our hill our cavalry made a bold advance on the enemy’s whole line, and successfully charged and captured the battery that disabled my gun.

This last fight occurred just as the sun dipped behind the crest of the distant Blue Ridge, and by the time the twilight changed into the dusky shades of night the last sound of battle had died away and the Yankee cavalrymen were moving once more with their faces turned toward the friendly infantry camps along the banks of the Rappahannock.

We are camped to-night one mile south of Brandy Station.

---George Templeton Strong writes in his journal as he travels to Washington, musing on the old slaveholding Maryland aristocratic planter class, and the fading of old ways:

Went to Washington by the usual unavoidable railroad Monday. . . . The ride presented no incidents, unless it might be the lovely glimpses of the arms of the Chesapeake which the railroad traverses—beautiful bays, bordered by golden autumnal woodland.  Genteel seceshdom has its had along their sequestered shores and waxes fat on soft-shell crabs and canvasback ducks.  But Maryland seceshdom is nearly played out.  It will soon be what Jacobitism was in England sixty years ago or seventy, the sentimental tradition of a few old families.  A new order of society is coming there, and the patriarchs must clear the track.

---The blockade runner Spaulding, a British-owned ship, is captured off Charleston Harbor, in addition to the Duoro, which is driven ashore by U.S. Navy blockading forces.

No comments:

Post a Comment