Friday, August 6, 2010

Richmond Reports on the August 1 fight

Today at Brandy Station: August 6, 1863

The Richmond Daily Dispatch carried a story of the fighting that took place on August 1st. Portions of the article follow.

Friday night last a force of the enemy's cavalry, estimated at three brigades, crossed, or were reported to be crossing, the Rappahannock at Kelly's Ford. Hampton's cavalry brigade were on picket at the time, their line extending from Kelly's to Beverly's Ford.--By morning the entire Yankee force engaged were across, and began a bold advance towards Brandy Station. Their force greatly outnumbering ours, Hampton's brigade commenced falling back slowly, the pickets having been previously driven by the enemy back to the main body. After falling back a mile or more, the brigade halted and checked the enemy's advance for a considerable time. The enemy's movements were covered, in a measure, by woods, of which they availed themselves; but whenever the opportunity and ground favored, were frequently and most gallantly charged by our regiments and driven back.

The day thus passed with successive skirmishing, fighting, and charging, until between four and five o'clock P. M., when within about a mile and a half of Culpeper two regiments of infantry from Anderson's division — the 12th Va., of Mahone's brigade, and the 2d Miss, of Posey's brigade — were thrown out as skirmishers, and advanced to the support of our cavalry. The Yankees perceiving these supports coming up, "about-faced" and "skedaddled" across an open field, or other open space of ground, in our front. The pursuit was continued until the enemy escaped out of sight, and, it is believed, recrossed the river that night.

We had not more than one battery of artillery engaged, which poured at interval a number of rounds of grape and canister into the enemy's ranks with great effect. Six or eight of our artillerymen were wounded, three of them mortally. The Yankees had at least two batteries engaged; but most of the casualties among our men were caused by their sharpshooters, their artillery on this occasion having been an ineffective auxiliary. It is alleged that our artillery would have done greater execution but for the deficiency of rifle ammunition provided.

Gen. Hampton being yet disabled from returning to the field by his wound, the brigade, as you have probably learned, was commanded and admirably handled by Col. Baker, of the 1st North Carolina regiment. Our loss is, at this writing, unknown, but will probably be covered by 75 or 100 killed and wounded.

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