Today in History:

625 Series I Volume XXIX-I Serial 48 - Bristoe, Mine Run Part I


them were wounded while escaping. Among the missing are, doubtless, a number killed and wounded.

The loss in Hays' brigade was less than one-half of the men present with the army, and less than one-fourth of the entire strength of the brigade.

In the regiments of Hoke's brigade, to wit, the Sixth, Fifty-fourth, and Fifty-seventh North Carolina Regiments, the loss was very nearly three-fourths of the men present with the army, about two-fifths of their entire strength, and less than one-third of the entire strength of the brigade. Nearly 300 of hays' men present at the action made their escape, ad between 100 and 150 of Hoke's men escaped.

The loss in Green's battery, commanded by Lieutenant Moore, was as follows: One enlisted man killed, and 2 officers and 39 enlisted men missing. This battery also lost 4 rifled guns, with their caissons, and 45 horses. Twenty-eight enlisted men of this battery escaped.

My loss in small-arms and sets of accouterments is something over 1,600.

With the conduct of my brigade commanders and their men, I have no fault to find. They were not surprised, nor were they negligent in any respect that I am aware of. They remained at their posts and fought the enemy until overpowered. They were unfortunately, in a position untenable by so small a force as theirs against the large force brought against them, and there was no means of retreat, by reason of the inadequate communication across the river.

There was no means of re-enforcing them while engaged in the struggle, for the same reason, and there was no opportunity of retiring and renewing the contest, because there was but a narrow slip of land between the works and the river. I must therefore exempt my brigade commanders from all responsibility for the disaster which befell their commands. I am satisfied they made the best struggle the nature of the case admitted, and all accounts concur in stating that the men fought with great coolness and courage, and I am informed that the loss of the enemy must have been very severe-perhaps more than ours.

The immediate causes of the disaster were the weakness of the position owing to the defective engineering, the want of sufficient bridges, the want of sufficient artillery in suitable positions on the south bank if the river, and the superior force of the enemy, which consisted of two army corps under Sedgwick, as since ascertained, the attack of the enemy being favored by the darkness and the high wind.

My troops were all that were brought up, but I not know that any amount of infantry on the south bank of the river could have altered the result, unless by its exhibition the enemy had been deterred from making the effort. I am conscious of having done all in my power to defend the position, but I must candidly confess that I did concur in the opinion of the commanding general that the enemy did not have enterprise enough to attempt any serious attack after dark, as such attacks are so foreign to his usual policy, and I therefore was inclined to believe that the position would be safe until morning, though I felt there would be very great danger in a night attack if vigorously made. A different estimate, however, of the enemy's enterprise would have had no effect, as I had no dis-