Gen. Sigel Meets with a Repulse in the Valley

Wednesday May 18, 1864

May 09, 2004

WASHINGTON — WASHINGTON, May 17 - Dispatches received from Gen. Sigel this evening report that on Sunday he fought the forces of Echols and Imboden, under Breckinridge, at New Market, that the enemy's forces were in superior numbers, and he gradually withdrew from the battlefield and recrossed the Shenandoah, having lost five pieces of artillery, and about 600 killed and wounded and 50 prisoners, but bringing all his trains and the wounded that could be transported from the battlefield.

He states that in consequence of the long line, and the trains that had to be guarded, he could not bring more than six regiments into the fight, besides the artillery and cavalry, and that the enemy had about 7,000 infantry besides other arms.

His retrograde movement was effected in perfect order, without any loss of material or men. He gives no list of casualties, but Lt. Col. Lincoln of the 34th Massachusetts is reported to be wounded and captured.

His supplies are abundant, and our animals are improving on the grass and grain fields, which now afford good pasture.

Reported Junction of Breckinridge with Lee [From May 18th's Washington Star]

Secesh in Washington is jubilant today over the belief that Breckinridge, Imboden and Echols, having defeated Sigel, have joined Lee, adding important and effective reinforcements to him.

We are inclined to believe the rejoicings of these parties quite premature, as it is hardly possible that Breckinridge, even by forced marches, could since Sunday (the day of his encounter with Sigel) have covered the distance between New Market and Spotsylvania Court House.

New Market is in Shenandoah county, on the turnpike road, between Harrisonburg and Mt. Jackson, the valley terminus of the Manassas Gap railroad, is 150 miles from Richmond, and its nearest railroad connection with Lee is by the Manassas road and Virginia Central, via Manassas Junction, Gordonsville, and Orange Court House, and that line of road is useless to Lee above Orange Court House.

Breckinridge's route, therefore, in joining Lee would have been by turnpike from New Market to Orange Court House, a distance of nearly fifty miles. He could there use the railroads as far as Beaver Dam Station, when he would be obliged to take the turnpike road again to join Lee, involving a large amount of tedious marching; and in condition of Lee's railroad communication it is doubtful if he (Breckinridge) would be able to avail himself in any manner of railroad facilities. Furthermore, it is doubtful if Breckinridge is not yet confronting Sigel.

Later from the Front

Our Army Still Resting - All Comparatively Quiet - Reinforcements Arriving Rapidly - The Roads Improving - Active Operations Soon to Be Expected.

WASHINGTON, May 17 - A dispatch from the Army of the Potomac dated today at noon, says that yesterday all was very quiet along the lines, excepting some skirmishing in the center by General Burnside's men, and a few shells thrown by General Birney's division to feel the enemy, which, however, elicited no response. The rebel sharpshooters, however, held their ground.

During this time a division of the Second Corps was sent to retake possession of two of our hospitals, which were abandoned on Saturday last, with about 500 wounded in them. The rebel cavalry had been there and helped themselves to such articles as they wanted, and had calculated on taking away all the occupants as prisoners, but we were just in time, and wagons being sent, all were brought away, together with the tents, supplies, etc.

A surgeon who was left in charge of the hospitals at the Wilderness battlefield reports the capture of 800 of our wounded at that place, and their transportation to the rebel lines, from which he escaped. He says that our wounded in the rebel lines are suffering for everything, even bread, and that no surgeons are there to dress their wounds.

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