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1863 October 17: Early News of the Battle of Bristoe Station

October 17, 2013

Following is the summary of the week’s news for October 17, 1863, from both of our newspapers, The Prescott Journal and The Polk County Press.  More from the Press follows in tomorrow’s post.

No doubt the talk of Meade and Lee refers to the Battle of Bristoe Station, which just taken place on October 14, 1863, in Virginia between a portion Union General George G. Meade’s Army of the Potomac, led in this particular fight by General Gouverneur K. Warren,¹ and Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, led by General A. P. Hill.  The Confederate forces failed to drive the Union army out of Virginia.  Although the Union forces won the battle, they had to retreat to Centreville, Virginia, before standing their ground.  General Warren won such reputation as a corps commander during this battle that he will be given regular command of the V Corps in 1864.

From The Prescott Journal:


The army news of the past week is not of special moment, though the thickly flying rumors seem to presage important events.

Rosecrans [William S. Rosecrans] is heavily reinforced, and the general belief is that a great battle is impending there, in which the rebels will be severely whipped.  Lee  is in great force, and Meade has fallen back to a stronger position near the Rappahannock.  On Thursday his read guard was attacked, but the enemy were repulsed with great loss.

From The Polk County Press:

The News.

The latest news from the Army of the Potomac is that MEADE was advancing in solid columns, and that a great battle is imminent.

The News.

The news from the seat of war is again exciting.  The Army of the Potomac is falling back slowly, followed by Lee’s rebel hords [sic].  It is true that most of the telegrams are made up from unreliable Washington rumors, still from the mass of contradictions one can see that heavy fighting is and has been going on in the vicinity of the Rappahannock.  it is stated in our last St. Paul Press—the 16th—that Gen. MEADE “is still falling back towards Manassas, with a view of securing an advantageous ground upon which to give the rebels battle.”  That the Army of the Potomac is stripping for a fight there is is [sic] no longer any doubt, and we expect to announce that a great battle has been fought, and we trust a great victory won, in our next issue.

1.  Gouverneur Kemble Warren (1830-1882) was a graduate of West Point and worked as a civil engineer on the transcontinental railroad surveys and mapping the trans-Mississippi West. He is best remembered for arranging the last-minute defense of Little Round Top during the Battle of Gettysburg and is often referred to as the “Hero of Little Round Top.”

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