Tag Archives: William W. Averell

Showdown Looms in the Shenandoah Valley

May 13, 1864 – Major General John C. Breckinridge’s Confederates moved out to confront Major General Franz Sigel’s Federal Army of West Virginia advancing south “up” Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.

Federal Gen Franz Sigel | Image Credit: CivilWarDailyGazette.com

In late April, the third of four planned Federal offensives in Virginia began when Sigel led 10,000 Federals out of Martinsburg. Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant, the overall Federal commander, had tasked Sigel with clearing Confederates out of the Valley, which provided vast amounts of foodstuffs. Destroying this fertile region could starve the Confederate armies into submission.

On the 2nd, the fourth offensive began when Brigadier General George Crook moved 6,000 Federals southeast out of the Kanawha Valley toward Dublin Station in West Virginia. Crook’s mission was to advance to the New River Bridge and wreck the Virginia & Tennessee Railroad. A detachment of 2,000 cavalry under Brigadier General William W. Averell was to ride from Logan’s Court House to destroy the salt and lead mines at Saltville and Wytheville.

Crook and Averell were then to move to Staunton, where they would join forces with Sigel and destroy the Virginia Central Railroad connecting the Shenandoah Valley to Richmond. Grant had little faith in Sigel as a commander and therefore expected Crook to be the campaign’s driving force. Sigel’s main task was to guard the Valley until Crook’s force arrived; as Grant said, “If Sigel can’t skin, himself, he can hold a leg whilst someone else skins.”

Sigel arrived at Winchester on the 2nd, covering just 22 miles in three days. News of his advance reached General Robert E. Lee, commanding the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia about to do battle in the Wilderness. Lee notified Breckinridge, heading the Confederate Trans-Allegheny Department: “Grant’s whole army is moving on our right… (Sigel) will probably cross at Chester Gap and move upon our left.”

With Lee’s army stretched to its limit, Breckinridge was assigned to stop Sigel. Breckinridge immediately began moving two infantry brigades toward Staunton. This left West Virginia open for Crook and Averell to strike the vital railroad, saltworks, and lead mines there.

Meanwhile, Sigel remained at Winchester for a week due to incorrect reports that Confederates were poised to threaten his flanks. He finally left town on the 9th, with his troops wearing new uniforms and marching with confident precision. According to a soldier, “They had heard reports that a great battle had been fought between Grant’s and Lee’s armies, and that our army had the advantage.”

Major General John C. Breckinridge | Image Credit: Wikimedia.org

Breckinridge had just 4,000 Confederates to oppose Sigel in two infantry brigades, a cavalry command under Brigadier General John B. Imboden, and various other independent units. On the 10th, he called upon the cadets at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington to march 32 miles to join him at Staunton. After commemorating the first anniversary of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson’s death (Jackson had taught at VMI), the cadets headed out, led by Lieutenant Colonel Scott Shipp.

Farther west, Crook’s Federals arrived at the 400-foot New River Bridge on the 10th. A small Confederate unit traded artillery fire with the Federals before withdrawing, and Crook’s men burned the bridge. Crook was now within eight miles of Dublin, where he was to wait for Averell’s cavalry and then head east to join Sigel at Staunton.

However, Crook issued orders for his men to return to Meadow Bluff, near Lewisburg, where they could resupply. Crook later justified this dubious withdrawal by claiming, “I saw dispatches from Richmond stating that General Grant had been repulsed and was retreating, which determined me to move to Lewisburg as rapidly as possible.”

Farther southwest, Averell found the way to Wytheville blocked by Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan’s Confederate horsemen at Crockett’s Grove. The Confederates made several charges, inflicting 114 casualties and pushing the Federals eastward. Averell withdrew to Dublin, where he learned that Crook would not be meeting up with him.

When Breckinridge reported to Richmond that the New River Bridge had been destroyed, Chief of Staff Braxton Bragg urged him to turn southwest and confront Crook. Bragg left the final decision to Lee, who simply told Breckinridge, “You must judge.” Fortunately for Breckinridge, Crook and Averell made the decision easy by falling back; Breckinridge could now focus solely on Sigel.

As Sigel’s Federals continued southward, they were harassed by Imboden’s cavalry in their front and Colonel John S. Mosby’s Confederate partisans on their flanks and rear. On the 11th, Imboden attacked one of Sigel’s cavalry regiments stationed at Front Royal and captured 464 men. But neither Confederate cavalry nor foul weather stopped Sigel’s methodical advance up the Valley. The Federals reached Woodstock the next day.

At Woodstock, Sigel learned that Breckinridge was organizing an army to oppose him. Having moved deep into enemy territory, with partisans harassing him and no word yet on what happened to Crook, Sigel informed his superiors:

“My forces are insufficient for offensive operations in the country where the enemy is continually on my flank and rear. My intention, therefore, is not to advance farther than this place with my main force, but have sent out strong parties in every direction. Skirmishing is going on every day. If Breckinridge should advance against us I will resist him at some convenient position.”

Breckinridge arrived at Staunton that same day to take “general direction of affairs” past the Blue Ridge. Rather than wait for Sigel to attack him there, Breckinridge advanced his makeshift force to join with Imboden’s horsemen, which fell back from Mount Jackson to New Market, 40 miles away. The VMI cadets arrived to join Breckinridge just as his men began moving out of Staunton on the morning of the 13th.

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References

CivilWarDailyGazette.com; Davis, Jefferson, The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government: All Volumes (Heraklion Press, Kindle Edition 2013, 1889), Loc 20385; Foote, Shelby, The Civil War: A Narrative: Volume 3: Red River to Appomattox (Vintage Civil War Library, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Kindle Edition, 2011), Loc 5148-77, 5193-203, 5212-22, 5232-242; Fredriksen, John C., Civil War Almanac (New York: Checkmark Books, 2007), p. 427, 436-37; Lewis, Thomas A., The Shenandoah in Flames: The Valley Campaign of 1864 (Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1983), p. 16, 20, 23, 25, 28-29; Wert, Jeffry D., Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War (New York: Harper & Row, 1986, Patricia L. Faust ed.), p. 146, 527-28

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The Grand Federal Offensive Begins

April 29, 1864 – One part of Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant’s overall offensive began as Federals advanced in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.

Federal General U.S. Grant | Image Credit: Wikispaces.org

From his headquarters at Culpeper Court House, Grant shared his overall plan with Major General George G. Meade, commanding the Army of the Potomac. Grant would remain headquartered with Meade’s army, and, “So far as practicable, all the armies are to move together, and towards one common centre.”

Major General Nathaniel P. Banks, commanding the Federal Army of the Gulf, was “instructed to turn over the guarding of the Red River to General (Frederick) Steele and the navy, to abandon Texas with the exception of the Rio Grande, and to concentrate all the force he can, not less than 25,000 men, to move on Mobile.”

Major General William T. Sherman, commanding three Federal armies, faced General Joseph E. Johnston’s Confederate Army of Tennessee in northern Georgia. Grant told Meade that Sherman “will move at the same time you do, or two or three days in advance, Jo. Johnston’s army being his objective point, and the heart of Georgia his ultimate aim.” If Banks and Sherman succeeded, they would join forces and operate in the Deep South.

Major General Benjamin F. Butler, leading the 33,000-man Federal Army of the James from Fort Monroe, will “seize City Point, and operate against Richmond from the south side of the (James) river. His movement will be simultaneous with yours (i.e., Meade’s).”

Major General Ambrose E. Burnside who had been reunited with his beloved IX Corps at Annapolis, “will reinforce you. I will give him the defense of the road (Orange & Alexandria Railroad) from Bull Run as far south as we wish to hold it. This will enable you to collect all your strength about Brandy Station.” As for Meade:

“Lee’s army will be your objective point. Wherever Lee goes, there you will go also. The only point upon which I am now in doubt is, whether it will be better to cross the Rapidan above or below him. Each plan presents great advantages over the other with corresponding objections. By crossing above, Lee is cut off from all chance of ignoring Richmond and going north on a raid. But if we take this route, all we do must be done whilst the rations we start with hold out. We separate from Butler so that he cannot be directed how to co-operate. By the other route Brandy Station can be used as a base of supplies until another is secured on the York or James rivers.”

Maj-Gen Franz Sigel | Image Credit: CivilWarDailyGazette.com

The last major part of Grant’s overall plan involved Major General Franz Sigel’s Army of West Virginia. This consisted of Sigel’s main force in the Shenandoah Valley and Brigadier General George Crook’s Federals operating in West Virginia’s Kanawha Valley. According to Grant:

“Sigel collects all his available force in two columns, one, under (E.O.C.) Ord and (William W.) Averell, to start from Beverly, Virginia, and the other, under Crook, to start from Charleston on the Kanawha, to move against the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad. Crook… will endeavor to get in about Saltville, and move east from there to join Ord. His force will be all cavalry, while Ord will have from 10 to 12,000 men of all arms.”

Grant initially planned for Sigel to stay in the northern part of the Shenandoah, guarding the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad against Confederate raiders. However, Sigel proposed moving up the Valley from Martinsburg to join forces with Crook at Staunton, after Crook wrecked the Virginia & Tennessee Railroad. At Staunton, Sigel and Crook would wreck the Virginia Central Railroad. Grant responded on the 19th: “I approve your plan of operations. Make your preparations for executing it with all dispatch.”

Crook’s force of 6,155 men set out toward Dublin Station on the 29th, but the advance was slowed by pouring rain and the harsh terrain of West Virginia. Sigel led his portion of the army, consisting of 8,000 Federals, out of Winchester the next day. Meanwhile, Brigadier General William W. Averell’s Federal cavalry would target the salt mines at Saltville and the lead mines at Wytheville.

This operation began ahead of Grant’s other offensives, and it would face intense Confederate opposition come May.

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References

Angle, Paul M., A Pictorial History of the Civil War Years (New York: Doubleday, 1967), p. 166-67; CivilWarDailyGazette.com; Delaney, Norman C., Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War (New York: Harper & Row, 1986, Patricia L. Faust ed.), p. 730-31; Denney, Robert E., The Civil War Years: A Day-by-Day Chronicle (New York: Gramercy Books, 1992 [1998 edition]), p. 391; Faust, Patricia L., Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War (New York: Harper & Row, 1986, Patricia L. Faust ed.), p. 407-08; Foote, Shelby, The Civil War: A Narrative: Volume 3: Red River to Appomattox (Vintage Civil War Library, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Kindle Edition, 2011), Loc 5138-58; Fredriksen, John C., Civil War Almanac (New York: Checkmark Books, 2007), p. 414-16, 419, 425-26; Lewis, Thomas A., The Shenandoah in Flames: The Valley Campaign of 1864 (Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1983), p. 24-25; Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 481-83; Longacre, Edward G., Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War (New York: Harper & Row, 1986, Patricia L. Faust ed.), p. 504-06, 788; Pritchard, Russ A., Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War (New York: Harper & Row, 1986, Patricia L. Faust ed.), p. 23; Rowell, John W., Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War (New York: Harper & Row, 1986, Patricia L. Faust ed.), p. 180; Sommers, Richard J., Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War (New York: Harper & Row, 1986, Patricia L. Faust ed.), p. 177-78; Stanchak, John E., Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War (New York: Harper & Row, 1986, Patricia L. Faust ed.), p. 737; Wert, Jeffry D., Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War (New York: Harper & Row, 1986, Patricia L. Faust ed.), p. 146, 739

West Virginia: Early Chases Averell

December 22, 1863 – A new Confederate force moved into West Virginia to stop Federal raiding in the region, and endured freezing cold in the process.

Brig Gen W.W. Averell | Image Credit: Wikipedia.org

This month, Brigadier General William W. Averell’s Federal cavalry continued efforts to destroy the Virginia & Tennessee Railroad linking Virginia to the west. In bitter cold, Averell led his troopers from New Creek in southwestern West Virginia, with Brigadier General Eliakim P. Scammon’s Federal cavalry moving from Charleston toward Lewisburg in support.

Averell clashed with Confederates on the 10th, while another Federal raid began from Harpers Ferry. General Robert E. Lee, commanding the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, responded by assigning Major General Jubal Early to stop this raiding in the Shenandoah Valley and West Virginia. Early led two infantry brigades and Major General Fitzhugh Lee’s cavalry brigade from Lee’s army, as well as Brigadier General John D. Imboden’s cavalry already operating in the Valley.

Early’s Confederates left Hanover Junction on the 15th to block Averell’s troopers at nearby Millborough. The next day, Averell surprised the residents of Salem by riding through the town and destroying its railroad depot and nearby bridges. Averell’s Federals then fell back upon learning that Early was heading their way. The Confederates pursued Averell until the weather turned too cold for active operations. Imboden recalled that on the 22nd:

“It was an awful night for men to be out. Our clothes and beards were loaded down with ice. The roads were very rough and freezing rapidly, but in many places not yet hard enough to bear the horses and gun carriages. Through all the dreary hours we pushed on. I heard that two of Fitz Lee’s men froze to death that night, and just before daybreak one of mine was reported frozen to death. Many of my men had no overcoats and only ragged blankets. Fearing more would freeze, I halted in a rich man’s lane, two miles long, and ordered the men to make piles of the rails on either side and set fire to them, thaw the ice off their clothing and get themselves warm.”

Averell’s Federals returned to Beverly on Christmas Eve, ending their third raid of West Virginia. Major General Samuel Jones, commanding the Confederate department, was ultimately removed due to his inability to stop Averell and other Federals from operating in the region. Activity soon ended as the bitter winter began in West Virginia.

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References

CivilWarDailyGazette.com; Denney, Robert E., The Civil War Years: A Day-by-Day Chronicle (New York: Gramercy Books, 1992 [1998 edition]), p. 351; Fredriksen, John C., Civil War Almanac (New York: Checkmark Books, 2007), p. 382, 384-85

The Droop Mountain Engagement

November 6, 1863 – An engagement occurred as part of Brigadier General William W. Averell’s Federal raid on Confederate supply lines in West Virginia.

Brig Gen W.W. Averell | Image Credit: Wikipedia.org

On the 1st, Averell led 5,000 Federals (two mounted infantry regiments, four cavalry regiments, and an artillery battery) southward from Beverly toward Lewisburg in the Greenbrier River Valley. His goal was to destroy the East Tennessee & Virginia Railroad, which Major General Samuel Jones, commanding the Confederate Department of Southwestern Virginia, used to transport troops and supplies between Virginia and the west. Two days later, Brigadier General Alfred N.A. Duffie led 1,700 Federals out of Charleston, West Virginia, to link with Averell at Lewisburg.

Averell’s Federals advanced on the Staunton Pike to Greenbrier Bridge, and then moved through Camp Bartow and Green Bank. Under continuous harassment from Confederate partisans, the Federals reached Huntersville around noon on the 4th. Averell dispatched two cavalry regiments to destroy a 600-man Confederate force guarding Marling’s Bottom.

Colonel William J. Jackson led the Confederates. He was a cousin of the late Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, but he did not have his troops’ respect and was thus nicknamed “Mudwall.” Jackson’s men fell back to Mill Point, where Jackson requested reinforcements from Brigadier General John Echols, who commanded an infantry brigade at Lewisburg.

Averell tried cutting Jackson off the next day but failed, and the Confederates withdrew to the crest of Droop Mountain. Echols led his 1,700 troops and six cannon out to reinforce Jackson; they arrived on the 6th and Echols assumed overall command. This combined Confederate force ascended the summit of Droop Mountain and formed a line of battle at 9 a.m., with infantry on the right (eastern) flank, artillery in the center, and Jackson’s cavalry on the left. According to Averell’s report:

“On the morning of the 6th, we approached the enemy’s position. The main road to Lewisburg runs over Droop Mountain, the northern slope of which is partially cultivated nearly to the summit, a distance of 2 1/2 miles from the foot. The highway is partially hidden in the views from the summit and base in strips of woodland. It is necessary to pass over low rolling hills and across bewildering ravines to reach the mountain in any direction.”

Averell opted not to attack directly. He instead sent his infantry and a cavalry company around the Confederates’ left to attack their flank and rear. Meanwhile, the artillery would demonstrate against the rest of Echols’s force. A guide failed to lead the flanking troops around Jackson’s horsemen, and they began trading fire around 1:30 p.m.

Averell brought up his dismounted cavalry to link with the infantry’s left. He also brought up the rest of his artillery as Echols moved his Confederates behind breastworks. After holding about an hour, the Confederates, outnumbered two-to-one, broke around 3 p.m. and fled down the south side of the mountain.

Averell directed a pursuit, but it was halted by darkness. The Federals captured a cannon and a battle flag in their victory. Echols raced to get back to Lewisburg before Duffie’s Federals could get there; Echols had to move 28 miles before Duffie moved 10. Echols won the race nonetheless, passing through Lewisburg on the 7th and escaping. Averell arrived at the town at 2 p.m. and learned from Duffie, who had just arrived, that Echols was gone.

The Federals sustained 140 casualties (45 killed, 93 wounded, and two captured), while the Confederates lost 255 (33 killed, 100 wounded, and 122 missing). The Federals destroyed vast amounts of Confederate supplies and, on Sunday the 8th, they advanced toward Dublin based on intelligence that Echols’s men were regrouping there. The pursuers soon found their path blocked by felled trees and other obstructions.

Averell and Duffie, their men exhausted even without having cleared the road, agreed to end their expedition. Although the Federals scored a victory at Droop Mountain, they did not accomplish their main goal of destroying the East Tennessee & Virginia Railroad. And as soon as they withdrew from Lewisburg, the Confederates returned.

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References

CivilWarDailyGazette.com; Denney, Robert E., The Civil War Years: A Day-by-Day Chronicle (New York: Gramercy Books, 1992 [1998 edition]), p. 339; Fredriksen, John C., Civil War Almanac (New York: Checkmark Books, 2007), p. 366-67, 369; Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 430-31; Wert, Jeffry D., Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War (New York: Harper & Row, 1986, Patricia L. Faust ed.), p. 228, 707-08

Averell Raids into West Virginia

August 5, 1863 – Federal Brigadier General William W. Averell initiated another of the war’s many raids into West Virginia, which culminated in an engagement at White Sulphur Springs.

Brig Gen W.W. Averell | Image Credit: Wikipedia.org

Averell led a force of about 2,000 men that included four cavalry regiments, mounted infantry, and two artillery batteries. The Federals moved west from Winchester, in the Shenandoah Valley, toward the Alleghenies. Their mission was to destroy bridges on the Virginia & Tennessee Railroad, and to wreck saltpeter and gunpowder factories near Franklin. The Federals were also to confront the forces of Major General Samuel Jones, the Confederate department commander.

Averell’s men arrived at Moorefield late on the 6th, having covered 58 miles in two days. Jones’s Confederates fell back but tried harassing the enemy whenever they could. The Federals skirmished with enemy outposts and drove them off. Three days later, Averell’s men began moving south into the mountains. The advance was slowed by a lack of supplies for both the men and the horses, as well as an ammunition shortage.

On the 22nd, Averell’s Federals forced the Confederates out of Huntersville on a retreat to Warm Springs. Averell then pushed the enemy east, and the Federals occupied Warm Springs on the 24th. They next destroyed the saltpeter works at Callaghan’s Station before advancing on White Sulphur Springs. Jones resolved to make a stand before Averell passed White Sulphur Springs, otherwise the Federals would have easy access to the railroad.

Jones directed Colonel George S. Patton (grandfather of World War II General George S. Patton, Jr.) to lead four Virginia regiments and an artillery battery (about 1,900 men) to stop Averell’s advance. Patton led the Confederates to Rocky Gap, a defile in the Alleghenies.

On the 26th, the Confederates formed a battle line on the road and in the surrounding woods. Averell’s cavalry dismounted to join the infantry in an attack on the enemy line. Both sides traded intense fire, as Patton’s men repelled several Federal charges against their right. Averell finally pulled back; he resumed the attack the next morning.

The Federals focused on the Confederate left this time, but they could not break Patton’s veterans. Averell withdrew around 12 p.m. back toward Callaghan’s Station, and his rear guard fended off a Confederate bayonet charge. The Federals suffered 218 casualties (26 killed, 125 wounded, and 67 missing or captured) while the Confederates lost 162 men (20 killed, 129 wounded, and 13 missing). Jones submitted a report to Confederate Adjutant General Samuel Cooper:

“We met the enemy yesterday morning about a mile and a half from this place on road to the Warm Springs. Fought from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Every attack made by the enemy was repulsed. At night each side occupied the same position they had in the morning. This morning the enemy made two other attacks, which were handsomely repulsed, when he abandoned his position and retreated toward Warm Springs, pursued by cavalry and artillery.”

Averell returned to Beverly four days later. His raid was largely unsuccessful because he did not break Confederate resistance in the region; he only destroyed two saltpeter works, and he captured just a few enemy troops and some cattle.

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References

Fredriksen, John C., Civil War Almanac (New York: Checkmark Books, 2007), p. 344; Wert, Jeffry D., Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War (New York: Harper & Row, 1986, Patricia L. Faust ed.), p. 639-40; WVGenWeb.org

The Battle of Kelly’s Ford

March 17, 1863 – A battle between opposing horsemen in northern Virginia served as a test for the new Federal Cavalry Corps within the Army of the Potomac.

In February, Confederate cavalry under Brigadier General Fitzhugh Lee (part of Major General Jeb Stuart’s command) had raided the camp of Federal Brigadier General William W. Averell, a West Point classmate and close friend who commanded a division in Major General George Stoneman’s new Cavalry Corps. Lee left a note for Averell before leaving: “I wish you would put up your sword, leave my state, and go home. If you won’t go home, return my visit, and bring me a sack of coffee.”

In March, Averell received Stoneman’s approval to stage a raid of his own. He assembled 3,000 cavalrymen at Morrisville, about six miles northeast of Kelly’s Ford on the Rappahannock River, on the 16th. He detached about 900 troopers to investigate a rumor of Confederates at Brentsville and led the remaining 2,100 to confront Lee’s force near Culpeper Court House. Averell believed he would surprise Lee, who was said to have 3,000 men. Lee only had about 1,000 men, but he already knew that a major Federal force was riding out from Morrisville.

The Federals arrived at Kelly’s Ford before dawn on the 17th and found it guarded by Confederate pickets. Unable to find any other crossing points, Averell’s men charged forward and drove the pickets off. During this time, Lee led his troopers toward the ford, accompanied by Stuart and Major John Pelham, Stuart’s top artillerist, who came to observe the battle.

Averell positioned his men behind a stone wall overlooking a field which the Confederates would have to charge across to get to them. The Federals repelled Lee’s charge with artillery and carbine fire. They then advanced to try taking the Confederate positions but were repelled themselves. A series of charges and countercharges ensued by both mounted and dismounted troopers. Neither side could gain a clear advantage.

The Federals pushed Lee back a mile, but a counterthrust regained the lost ground. Pelham joined in one of the charges near the Wheatley farmhouse, and as he stood in his stirrups to rally the men, a shell fragment hit him in the back of the head. He was taken to his fiancée’s home in Culpeper, where he died the next day without regaining consciousness. He was 25 years old.

Pelham’s Death | Image Credit: CivilWarDailyGazette.com

Lee ordered a nearby locomotive to blow its whistle while moving back and forth to trick the Federals into thinking that reinforcements were arriving. Averell received word that Stuart was on the scene and, unaware that Stuart was only there as a spectator, took the bait. He disengaged at 5:30 p.m., leading his men back across the Rappahannock. He left a sack of coffee for a surgeon to deliver to Lee, along with a note: “Dear Fitz, Here’s your coffee. Here’s your visit. How do you like it?”

The Federals sustained 78 casualties (six killed, 50 wounded, and 22 missing or captured), and the Confederates lost 133 (11 killed, 88 wounded, and 34 missing or captured). This was the first test of the new Federal Cavalry Corps, and it served notice that the Federal horsemen were no longer inferior to their Confederate counterparts.

Officers and men in the Army of Northern Virginia mourned the loss of Pelham, especially Stuart. He directed that Pelham’s body lay in state at the George Washington monument in Richmond, and he issued General Orders No. 9 on the 20th:

“The major-general commanding approaches with reluctance the painful duty of announcing to the division its irreparable loss in the death of Major John Pelham, commanding the Horse Artillery. He fell mortally wounded in the battle of Kellysville, March 17th, with the battle-cry on his lips, and the light of victory beaming from his eye… His eye had glanced on every battlefield of this army from the First Manassas to the moment of his death, and he was, with a single exception, a brilliant actor in them all. The memory of ‘the gallant Pelham,’ his many manly virtues, his noble nature and purity of character, are enshrined as a sacred legacy in the hearts of all who knew him. His record has been bright and spotless, his career brilliant and successful.”

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References

CivilWarDailyGazette.com; Denney, Robert E., The Civil War Years: A Day-by-Day Chronicle (New York: Gramercy Books, 1992 [1998 edition]), p. 267; Foote, Shelby, The Civil War: A Narrative: Volume 2: Fredericksburg to Meridian (Vintage Civil War Library, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Kindle Edition, 2011), p. 245-47; Fredriksen, John C., Civil War Almanac (New York: Checkmark Books, 2007), p. 272; Goolrick, William K., Rebels Resurgent: Fredericksburg to Chancellorsville (Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1983), p. 105-11; Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 329; Stanchak, John E., Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War (New York: Harper & Row, 1986, Patricia L. Faust ed.), p. 568; Wert, Jeffry D., Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War (New York: Harper & Row, 1986, Patricia L. Faust ed.), p. 411