November 8, 1863
---Battle of Rappahannock Station, Day 2: Skirmishing continues into the morning hours along the river, and nearly three corps of Union infantry have crossed the Rappahannock at Kelly’s Ford, as Meade follows up the smashing of the attempted Confederate crossing the evening before. Under cover of a heavy fog, Lee pulls back a mile and a half back from Brandy Station and establishes a line to defend the town of Culpeper. Gen. French (III Corps) and Gen. Sedgwick (VI Corps) shake out skirmish lines and advance across the river toward Lee’s lines through the foggy landscape. Skirmishers from both armies clash throughout the morning, as Lee realizes that he cannot hold his current line, and decides he must withdraw back south across the Rapidan. Union cavalry pushes past Lee’s right flank, and Kilpatrick pushes even almost to the Rapidan. Lee puts his wagon train in motion, and by late evening his army begins crossing, and find themselves in their entrenchments from the previous year. Meade’s troops occupy the Rebel positions north of the Rapidan. Union Victory.
---Josiah Marshall Favill, a young Union officer, writes in his journal of what he saw this day in this fight:
November 8th. At 7 A. M. the Second corps crossed the Rappahannock following the Third corps, which partially crossed yesterday and carried the heights, in spite of a good deal of opposition. The Sixth corps, General Sedgwick, crossed at Rappahannock Station, completely surprising the enemy, capturing a battery and eleven hundred prisoners. The Second corps formed line of battle and advanced to Berry Hill; met with no resistance. Berry Hill is three miles southeast of Brandy Station. The men put up their tents, as the weather appeared very threatening.
---Blockade runners Cornubia and Robert E. Lee, loaded with cargo, are captured off New Inlet, North Carolina, by U.S. Navy blockaders.
---Kate Cumming, a Confederate Army nurse, notes in her journal some of the ironies of two Christian nation fighting each other:
When we look at the history of the world, and the persecutions, called religious ones, how little the calm and holy spirit of religion has had to do with it all!
Christianity breathes nothing but peace and good-will toward men; but if men, in their blindness and evil hearts, pervert it, it loses none of its sanctity or truthfulness, but only adds tenfold to the condemnation of those who abuse it. The devil quoted Scripture, why may not his followers?
I am not one of those who say there are no Christians in the North, because of the terrible blasphemy which is now raging there. If we are to believe their own papers, the birthday of Tom Paine is kept as a grand festival; and men wearing the garb of the sanctuary cry, Down with the Holy Bible because it upholds slavery. . . .
I think, even with the true picture which the above represents, that there are many good and true Christians in the North—men who have not let the wicked one take possession of them altogether. And it is with the hope that we have many such that I look forward to that happy day when they will rise in their might, and with one voice demand that the demagogues and fanatics who are now having full sway desist from this unholy strife, and treat us as they should. They seem to have forgotten that we are God’s creatures as well as they, with at least as much power of reasoning.
My Kentucky friend says he has just heard from his home, and that his wife is dying, and he is not permitted to go and see her. It is not much wonder that he is so bitter.