Kelly’s Ford

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    The Fight near Kelly’s Ford on Saturday
    The fight occurred near Kelly’s Ford, our forces being on the further side of the 
    river and the Yankees appearing in force.  To drive them off and force a passage 
    of the stream, the Confederates engaged were Hayes Brigade consisting of the
    5th, 7th, 9th, Louisiana Regiments commanded by General Hayes and the 6th and 
    30th N.C. Regiments of Hokes Brigades commanded by Col. Archibald D. Godwin.
    These troops had been stationed on the north side of the Rappahannock doing 
    picket service, when, about 11:00 on Saturday morning, the drums beat to 
    quarters and orders were given that every man must fall into the ranks and be 
    prepared for an immediate attack.  
    In a very short time, our outpost pickets and the enemy’s skirmishers were 
    hotly engaged.  Our own pickets gradually yielded the ground to superior 
    numbers.  The main body of the enemy was not long in making its appearance, 
    emerging from the woods and seeing that our smaller forces were confronted by 
    overwhelming numbers, estimated between ten and fifteen thousand.
    Then commenced a terrific battle which continued without intermission from 2:00 
    in the afternoon until dark and a large portion of our troops had already fallen into 
    the hands of the Yankees.  The situation becoming desperate, and it appearing 
    that the longer resistance continued on our side the less chance there would be 
    of escape, orders were given for retreat which was done under very great 
    disadvantage.  The bridge crossing the Rappahannock was commanded by 
    the enemy in such a manner as to render it impossible to attempt to cross 
    by that means, the whole of our retreating force took to the river which they forded.
    The number which fell into the hands of the enemy is about 1,500.  We learn 
    that the 6th N.C. Regiment entirely fell into their hands and that about 400 of 
    Hayes Brigade also failed to escape.
    The fight is represented to have been of the most terrible character and when 
    we take into consideration the great disparagement in the two forces engaged 
    it is remarkable that any of our gallant men succeeded in escaping at all.  For 
    the space of three miles in an open field, we learn, that the ground was literally 
    swarming with Yankees who seemed to rise up out of the ground.  In this light
     their artillery was used with great efficiency and was used at a shorter range 
    than usual. Part of the time the conflict was hand to hand and it was in this 
    manner that most of our men were pressed upon by overpowering numbers 
    and compelled to yield up to them.
    It is regretted that our artillery was not supplied with shrapnel shot as it is 
    believed that greater destruction could have been done to them than with solid 
    shot that was used.  Never were guns more stubbornly defended and charge 
    after charge was repulsed before the enemy could succeed in capturing them.
    It is believed that Colonel A.C. Godwin is a prisoner as on Sunday, the day 
    after the battle, both brigades were under the charge of General Hayes.
    The rest of the killed and wounded on our side probably do not exceed 300 or 
    400, a small proportion of whom are officers.  Colonel Sellers of the 30th N.C. 
    Regiment received a mortal wound in his right breast.  This officer led his 
    regiment into the fight on foot and is represented to have shown great 
    earlessness and courage in the early part of the engagement. He received a 
    wound in the arm but refused to leave the field and continued to cheer on his 
    men until later in the evening when he was struck a second time and had to 
    be borne from the field.  Captain John Weatherspoon of Company K, 30th 
    N.C. Regiment was also severely wounded
    Richmond Dispatch

    Transcribed by Christine Spencer, April, 2007

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