The Battle of Bristoe Station was fought on October 14, 1863, at Bristoe Station, Virginia, between Union forces under Maj. Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren and Confederate forces under Lt. Gen. A.P. Hill during the Bristoe Campaign of the American Civil War. The Union II Corps under Warren was able to surprise and repel the Confederate attack by Hill on the Union rearguard, resulting in a Union victory.
Union casualties were 540, Confederate about 1,380. Warren, seeing Lt. Gen. Richard S. Ewell’s Second Corps coming up on his left, eventually had to withdraw. Lee is said to have cut off Hill’s excuses for this defeat by saying, “Well, well, general, bury these poor men and let us say no more about it.” The Union forces won the battle, but they had to retreat to Centreville, Virginia, before standing their ground.
This battle report from the The New York Herald in our Civil War: A Newspaper Perspective segment is an excellent example of the kind of detail found in this important collection of full-text searchable newspapers.
Plan of the Battle of Bristoe Station, Orange and Alexandria Railroad, Va., Octr. 14th 1863.
The Battle of Bristoe Station
Yesterday was a glorious day for the Army of the Potomac, and especially for the Second corps thereof, who sustained the brunt of one of the fiercest onslaughts which has characterized the attacks made by the rebels since the inauguration of the war.
THE ARMY FALLING BACK FROM CULPEPPER
Time is wasting to detail the retrograde movement of General Meade’s army from the line of the Rapidan to its present position. Suffice it to say that on Saturday night last the entire army left the vicinity of Culpepper on its homeward march. We marched along the line of the railroad from that time until Wednesday morning, encountering the enemy at times, and skirmishing occasionally, avoiding a general engagement. A general action might have been brought on at any time between the Rappahannock and our present position; but it was reserved for Wednesday to witness a renewed trail of the capabilities of our brave men in the field. The details of the fight at Auburn in the morning you already have by telegraph. Consequently I shall confine my report to
THE GREAT FIGHT AT BRISTOE STATION
In the afternoon the Second corps had been assigned the arduous duty of guarding the rear of the army, and on the morning of Wednesday at daylight took up its line of march in the following order: – Gen. Hayes’Third division leading, followed by the First division, Gen. Caldwell, the rear being brought up by Gen. WebbSecond division.
CHANGE OF FRONT
On reaching a point near the railroad, some three miles west of Bristoe, the Second division took the lead, followed by the Third, leaving the first at the rear. In this order they marched to Bristoe, on the south side of the track of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, with flankers well out on both sides and skirmishers deployed. (more…)