Kelly’s Ford

Barksdale’s Brigade was alerted for possible imminent movement on March 17 after “heavy cannonading” was heard in the vicinity of the United States Ford, well northwest of Fredericksburg on the winding Rappahannock.

“The enemy are reported to be crossing” there, Spartan Band diarist William H. Hill recorded.

But the alert order was countermanded and news quickly filtered through the brigade that the cannonading was, as Hill wrote, “a skirmish between General Jeb Stuart’s Cavalry Division and the enemy’s Cavalry under General [William W. Averell]….”

In a prelude to the coming May 1 Battle of Chancellorsville, Averell’s cavalry division had crossed the river to attack the Confederate cavalry. The fight was adjudged a Rebel victory but at the cost of twice as many casualties and the death of Major John Pelham, a horse artilleryman and a hero of the December Battle of Fredericksburg.

Hill, writing on March 18, concluded: “All quiet here today. Several citizens are moving off again, fearing another bombardment.”

About Dick Stanley

Retired Texas daily newspaperman
This entry was posted in Barksdale's Mississippi Brigade, Battles: Fredericksburg, Fredericksburg, The Spartan Band, William H. Hill Diary and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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