Friday, December 13, 2013

Brigadier General George G. Meade to Margaretta Sergeant Meade, April 19, 1862


My last letter was written from Manassas Junction. Yesterday we broke up that camp and marched to this point, which is twelve miles farther on the railroad from Alexandria to Gordonsville. I do 'not know the object of our being moved here, except that we are nearer the Rappahannock and Fredericksburg. The railroad we are on crosses the Rappahannock about fifteen miles from here. At this point the enemy have destroyed the bridge, and it is said have a force of some ten thousand behind earthworks, on the other side, determined to prevent our rebuilding the bridge. Yesterday a brigade under Abercrombie advanced to that point and exchanged artillery shots with the enemy, without injury to either side. Abercrombie is still there, and the railroad to that point is being repaired. When this is done, I suppose we will be pushed forward and the enemy dislodged from the other side, unless in the meantime it is determined to go from here to Fredericksburg, which is only twenty-eight miles from here. McDowell went yesterday to Washington, intending to go down to Acquia Creek, and sent from hence under Augur a brigade of infantry and two regiments of cavalry to Fredericksburg. At Falmouth, a place on the Rappahannock, some five miles from Fredericksburg, and where there was a bridge, our advance of cavalry was fired upon from an ambuscade and some twenty-two saddles emptied, Bayard (the colonel in command) having his horse shot under him, but he was not touched. Our men charged and drove the enemy (a Mississippi regiment) before them and over the bridge, which they set fire to in their retreat; but our people were in time to extinguish the fire and save a great portion of the structure. I have always believed they would resist our advance on Richmond, and have no doubt by the time we get across the Rappahannock, whether we cross at Fredericksburg or at the railroad crossing near here, that they will have assembled a force sufficiently large to give us all the glory we want in overcoming it.

SOURCE: George Meade, The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade, Vol. 1, p. 260-1

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