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General Orders, No. 29           Hdqrs. Army of Northern Virginia,

February 28, 1863


The general commanding announces to the army the series of successes of the cavalry of Northern Virginia during the winter months, in spite of the obstacles of almost impassable roads, limited forage, swollen streams, and inclement weather.

  • About the 1st of December [November 27], General Hampton, with a detachment of his brigade, crossed the Upper Rappahannock, surprised two squadrons of Federal cavalry, captured several commissioned officers and about 100 men, with their horses, arms, colors, and accouterments, without loss on his part.
  • On the 4th [2d] of December, under the direction of Colonel Beale, Major Waller, with a detachment of 60 dismounted men, of the Ninth Virginia Cavalry, General William [H.] F. Lee’s brigade, crossed the Rappahannock below Port Royal, in skiffs, attacked the enemy’s cavalry pickets, captured 49, including several commissioned officers, with horses, arms, &c., and recrossed the river, without loss.
  • On the 10th of December, General Hampton crossed the Rappahannock with a detachment of his brigade, cut the enemy’s communications at Dumfries, entered the town a few hours before Sigel’s corps, then advancing to Fredericksburg, captured 20 wagons with a guard of about 90 men, and returned safely to his camp. On the 17th of the same month, he again crossed the river with a small force, proceeded to Occoquan, surprised the pickets between that place and Dumfries, captured 50 wagons, bringing many of them across the Occoquan in a ferry-boat, and beating back a brigade of cavalry sent to their rescue. He reached the Rappahannock with 30 wagons and 130 prisoners.


IV. On the 25th of December, General Stuart, with detachments of Hampton’s, Fitz Lee’s, and William [H.] F. Lee’s brigades, under the command of these officers respectively, made a forced reconnaissance in rear of the enemy’s lines, attacked him at Dumfries, capturing men and wagons near that place, advanced toward Alexandria, drove his cavalry with considerable loss across the Occoquan, captured his camp on that stream, burned the Accotink Bridge, on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, then, passing north of Fairfax Court-House, returned to Culpeper with more than 200 prisoners and 25 wagons, with a loss on his part of 6 men wounded and Captain Bullock, a most gallant officer killed.

Major White, of General Jones’s command, in December, crossed the Potomac, attacked several parties of the enemy’s cavalry near Poolesville, Md., and, besides the killed and wounded, took 77 prisoners, with horses, arms, and some wagons, with slight loss to himself. Captain Randolph, of the Black Horse Cavalry, has made many bold reconnaissances in Fauquier, taking more than 200 prisoners and several hundred stand of arms. Lieutenant Mosby, with his detachment, has done much to harass the enemy, attacking him boldly on several occasions, and capturing many prisoners. A detachment of 17 men of Hampton’s brigade, under the brave Sergeant Michael, attacked and routed a body of 45 Federals, near Wolf Run Shoals, killing and wounding several and bringing off 15 prisoners, with the loss on our part of Sergeant Sparks, of the Second South Carolina Regiment, who, a few days before, with 2 of his comrades, attacked in Brentsville, 6 of the enemy sent to take him, killed 3, and captured the rest.

In announcing these achievements, the commanding general takes special pleasure in adverting to the promptness of the officers in striking a successful blow whenever the opportunity offered, and the endurance and gallantry with which the men have always supported their commanders.

These deeds give assurance of vigilance, activity, and fortitude, and of the performance of still more brilliant actions in the coming campaign.

R E Lee,





Source: The War of the Rebellion, Series, Volume 21, p. 1115

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 March 1