Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

Post image for War Diary and Letters of Stephen Minot Weld.

War Diary and Letters of Stephen Minot Weld.

August 1, 2013

War diary and letters of Stephen Minot Weld

August 1.—We received orders last night to picket the river from Beverly Ford to Wheatley’s Ford; to hold the opposite bank of the river until the bridge was built; and also to hold the railroad from Warrenton Junction to Rappahannock Station. This is a good job for one corps to accomplish. We struck tents early in the morning, and the general, Jackson, and I, started for Rappahannock Station in an ambulance. When we arrived there we found that we had about 100 cavalry and some sharpshooters across the river. The enemy retired without firing a shot, being only videttes. The engineers began to lay the bridge soon after we got there, and as soon as it was finished the cavalry began crossing. As soon as they had sufficient force over, a squadron went off to the right, and deployed as skirmishers, advancing up the hill very prettily, but meeting no enemy. Soon after, another force rode out to the front, and deployed as skirmishers, followed at a distance by the whole body of cavalry. It was a very pretty sight, and had it not been for the excessive heat of the sun, one would have enjoyed looking at them. As it was, however, it was as much as one’s life was worth to stand out in the broiling sun any length of time. Our cavalry met with no resistance until they had gone some two miles and a half from the river. I got leave about noon to go out and see the fight. I found our forces a mile beyond Brandy Station, and soon after I got there the 8th New York made a charge on 4 guns, which they came near taking. Our headquarters are at a Mr. Bower’s house, where General Buford was. In the evening I was sent to find General Buford. He was about three miles from the river. He advanced within a mile and a half of Culpeper, driving Jones’s and Hampton’s brigades of cavalry that far. He met A. P. Hill’s corps, and was driven back two miles this side of Brandy Station.

[The cavalry staff officers were a lively set of boys. Craig Wadsworth and a lot of them sat down while there was a short halt before going into a fight, and began playing poker. In a few minutes the game was interrupted by the call to arms, and off they went into the fight, and were in the charge on the four guns. It was as near a capture as anything I ever saw.]

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