Thursday, January 30, 2014

Foraging Excursion Turned Fight

BG Roger A Pryor
The Battle of Deserted House [also known as the Battle of Kelly’s Store] was fought January 30th 1863 in southeast Virginia.

Confederate Brigadier General Roger A Pryor crossed the Blackwater River with his troops on a foraging excursion into Virginia.  Union Major General John J Peck organized a force from his garrison at Suffolk, Virginia to drive Pryor out of the area.  Peck placed Union Brigadier General Michael Corcoran in command of this force.

Pryor expecting an attack from the Union garrison organized his men for battle about 8 miles west of Suffolk near Kelly’s Store.  The Union and Confederate troops engaged on January 30th 1863 at a place known as Deserted House.  Pryor’s men pulled back about two miles before forming up a new line.  The Union 13th Indiana Infantry charged and broke this line.  The Confederates made a final stand along the Blackwater River, but that line was also routed by the Union 11th Pennsylvania Cavalry.

Corcoran returned with his men to Suffolk the next day.  Confederate Lieutenant General James Longstreet carried out another foraging expedition against Suffolk in April 1863.

For some more interesting reading on this battle, check out Baptism of Fire: The Corcoran Legion at Deserted House, Virginia, 30th January 1863

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