Kelly's Ford & Brandy Station

After Action Reports

The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation

of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

 

(OR, Vol. 29, Part 1, pages 562-565)

Report of Col. J. Warren Keifer, One hundred and tenth Ohio Infantry, commanding Second

Brigade, of action at Kelly's Ford and skirmish at Brandy Station.

 

HDQRS. SECOND BRIG., THIRD Div., THIRD ARMY CORPS,
Camp at Brandy Station, Va., November 10, 1863.

SIR: I have the honor to report, in compliance with circular orders of this date, from headquarters Third Division, Third Army Corps, the following movements and operations of my command since leaving our camp 4 miles south of Warrenton Junction, Va.:

My brigade is composed of the Sixth Maryland, One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania, and One hundred and twenty-second and One hundred and tenth Ohio Infantry Regiments, commanded, respectively, by Cols. John W. Horn, M. R. McClennan, William H. Ball, and Lieut. Col. W. N. Foster.

On the night of the 6th instant, at 11.30 o'clock, I received a written order from division headquarters to report with my brigade at division headquarters at daylight on the 7th instant in readiness to march, the men to have eight days' rations on their persons. I reported in accordance with the order. At 8 a. m. my brigade moved in the rear of the First Brigade of the Third Division toward Kelly's Ford, over the Rappahannock River, arriving at that place at about 1 p. m.

The brigade was massed near a brick church about one-third of a mile from Kelly's Ford, as directed by a verbal order from division headquarters. About 2.30 p. m. we changed position to the heights to the left of the ford as directed by a similar order from division headquarters. I received orders from division headquarters to cross the Rappahannock about 5 p. m. After some temporary delay at the pontoon bridge, I crossed the river and bivouacked the troops in line of battle by battalions in mass in the rear of the Third Brigade, facing in a southerly direction. The brigade was put in position under the direction of General Carr, commanding Third Division. Two hundred men were detailed by me from the Sixth Maryland Infantry, under the command of Maj. J. C. Hill, of the same regiment, for picket duty, as directed by verbal orders from division headquarters. I personally assisted in posting the pickets in front of the Third Division; Third Corps, causing them to connect with pickets of the First and Second Divisions of the Third Corps on the right and left. A circular order was received from division headquarters to have the men under arms at daylight and in readiness to march.

At 4 a. m., November 8, a verbal order was received to detail two regiments immediately to make a reconnaissance to the front. Accordingly the One hundred and twenty-second and One hundred and tenth Ohio Infantry were detailed, and under the command of Col. William H. Ball , one hundred and twenty-second Ohio Infantry, proceeded to make the reconnaissance, taking with them one company of the Sixth Maryland Infantry that had been on picket. The reconnaissance advanced about 1½ miles, discovering the enemy in no force. At the late camp of the enemy, 3 officers and 35 enlisted men were captured.

My brigade was then ordered to take the advance of the division and corps, which was the advance of the army. The march was resumes in the direction of Brandy Station, Va., Sixth Maryland Infantry in the advance of the brigade. About 2½ miles from Brandy Station, and on the line of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, the advance encountered the rebels in considerable force, principally cavalry with horse artillery. After a short halt, my command was disposed in order of battle, to advance and drive the enemy from a hill which he occupied in some force, with artillery in position. The brigade was formed with the Sixth Maryland Infantry upon the right, One hundred and tenth Ohio Infantry upon the right of the railroad and in the center, the One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania Infantry upon the left, supported by the One hundred and twenty-second Ohio Infantry. Upon the right of the railroad, in front of the One hundred and tenth Ohio and Sixth Maryland Infantry Regiments, skirmishers were advanced from each regiment. The One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry was ordered to deploy to the left of the railroad as soon as an advance was ordered.

The One hundred and twenty-second Ohio was ordered to closely support the One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania. An order was received from division headquarters to advance two companies as skirmishers, one upon each side of the railroad. One company from the One hundred and tenth Ohio, commanded by Lieutenant Fox, and one company from the One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania, commanded by Captain Fisher, were advanced. An order was received from division headquarters to move forward two regiments of my brigade. Accordingly, the One hundred and tenth Ohio and One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry were ordered forward. The One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania soon came under the enemy's artillery fire. The skirmishers were rapidly pushed forward, supported by the two regiments named, and the hill was soon carried. Capt. Lazarus C. Andress, One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, fell mortally wounded. Orderly Sergt. A. G. Rapp, Company H, One hundred and thirty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, lost his left arm and was otherwise slightly wounded. Five other members of this regiment received slight but not dangerous wounds.

As soon as the hill was gained I ordered the skirmishers and the two regiments that were in the advance to pursue the enemy. The pursuit was continued with constant skirmishing until the enemy was driven past Brandy Station, at which place the troops were ordered to halt by an order from Brigadier-General Carr. The enemy placed artillery in position and shelled my brigade, wounding two men slightly in the One hundred and twenty-second Ohio Infantry. The brigade bivouacked near Brandy Station until this morning, when orders were received for it to go into camp at the station, in which position it still remains. Officers and men were prompt in obeying orders. The manner in which they performed the services required of them fully warrants me in saying that when more important and dangerous duties are assigned to them, they will willingly and cheerfully discharge them. Special commendation is due Colonel McClennan and his regiment for their splendid conduct on the 8th instant. The regiment was on that day for the first time under fire. Captain Andress, who fell mortally wounded, was a brave and accomplished soldier. His loss is deeply regretted by all who knew him.

Surg. C. P. Harrington, chief surgeon of the brigade, also Lieutenants Hathaway, Black, and Yarger, members of my staff, each cheerfully performed his duty, and all proved themselves competent and skillful officers.

I beg most respectfully to represent that the eight days' rations required to be carried upon the person of the soldiers prevented rapid movements, essential to the accomplishment of important ends in engaging or pursuing the enemy.

I am, lieutenant, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. WARREN KEIFER,
Colonel, Commanding.

Lieut. J. JOHNSON
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

 

Report of Col. John W. Horn, Sixth Maryland Infantry, of action at Kelly's Ford

and skirmish at Brandy Station.

HDQRS. SIXTH MARYLAND VOLUNTEER INFANTRY,
November 11, 1863.

GENERAL: In compliance with orders from brigade headquarters, I would report that on the morning of November 7 we left camp near Bealeton Station, and marched for Kelly's Ford, on the Rappahannock, which we crossed about dark.

After getting into camp, Major Hill and 200 men of my command were ordered on picket, and before day on the morning of the 8th said detail was ordered to advance for the purpose of observation, which they did, several prisoners falling into their hands.

I, with the remainder of the command, led the advance of our brigade for this place, with nothing of note taking place until we struck the railroad, when we came upon the enemy's pickets. I at once, by order, deployed a portion of my command as skirmishers, the enemy retiring before us. I received orders to take the woods in front of me, and a moment after was ordered to remain and hold the enemy where they were. I then received orders to move forward and join my brigade at Brandy Station, which I did. While on the line and previous to moving, a private of the Fifteenth Virginia Infantry came on the line and was sent to the rear.

At sundown we marched into the woods on the left of the railroad, where we remained over night and all the following day, the 9th instant. On the morning of the 10th, moved to our present encampment.

Respectfully, &c.,

JOHN W. HORN,
Colonel Sixth Maryland Volunteers

Lieutenant HATHAWAY, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General

 

 

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