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DESPERATE CAVALRY CONTEST.
fresh body of Federal horse, and easily repulsed. But our main column was very soon at hand for its protection, and reached a range of hills overlooking the village, in time to see a force of several thousand of the enemy's cavalry advancing in beautiful lines across an open field on the right. The fight was at once opened with great spirit by Pelham's guns, which met with a furious response from several Federal batteries, and we were soon hotly engaged all along our line of battle. The enemy's resistance was obstinate; charges and counter-charges were made over the plateau in our front, and for a time the issue seemed doubtful, no decided advantage having been gained on either side. At last, however, we succeeded in driving the Yankees back into the woods, and before sunset they were in full retreat, by the road they had come, towards Leesburg. Our flying artillery, under the intrepid and energetic John Pelham, whom I have so often had occasion to mention in these memoirs, had, as usual, done admirable service, disabling several of the enemy's guns, and contributing greatly, by the terror it carried into their advancing columns, to the final result.* About dusk in the evening we
* The famous “ Stuart Horse Artillery” was made
up of volunteers of many nationalities, and embraced Englishmen, Frenchmen, Germans, Spaniards, and Americans. Many of these men
STUART HORSE ARTILLERY."
marched back along the road to Middleburg, near which place General Stuart intended to encamp, having ordered me to gallop ahead of the column into the village to make the necessary arrangements for food and forage with the Cavalry Quartermaster stationed there.
Middleburg is a pleasant little place, of some 1500 inhabitants, which, by reason of its proximity to the Federal lines, had often been visited by raiding and scouting parties of the enemy, and had had not brought to the standard under which they served an immaculate reputation, but they distinguished themselves on every field of battle, and established such an enviable character for daring and good conduct that the body was soon regarded as a corps d'élite by the whole army, and it came to be considered an honour to be one of them. I have often seen these men serving their pieces in the hottest of the fight, laughing, singing, and joking each other, utterly regardless of the destruction which cannon-shot and musket-ball were making in their ranks. They were devoted to their young chief, John Pelham, whom an English writer, Captain Chesney, justly styles “the boy hero;" and as they knew my intimacy with him, and as in many engagements we had fought side by side, they extended something of this partiality to myself, and whenever I galloped up to the batteries during a battle, or passed them on the march, addressing a friendly salutation in English, French, or German, to such of them as I knew best, I was always received with loud cheering. They called Pelham and myself, in honourable association, fighting Majors,” and after my dear friend's death, and when I had myself been disabled by wounds, I often received letters from the braves of the “Stuart Horse Artillery” written in a style sufficiently inelegant and extraordinary, but expressive of the sincerest sympathy and attachment.
ENTHUSIASTIC RECEPTION IN MIDDLEBURG.
suffered specially in the shameless barbarities committed by those Yankee robbers, Milroy and Geary. The citizens had awaited the result of our late combat with the greatest anxiety, and manifested their satisfaction at our success in loud expressions of rejoicing. Riding up the main street of the village, I was brought to a halt by a group of very pretty young girls, who were carrying refreshments to the soldiers, and invited me to partake of them, an offer which I was not strong enough to decline. In the conversation which followed, my fair entertainers expressed the greatest desire to see General Stuart, and were delighted beyond measure to hear that the bold cavalry leader was my personal friend, and that I should probably have little difficulty in persuading him to devote a quarter of an hour to their charming company. This spread like wildfire through the village, so that half an hour later, when Stuart galloped up to me, I was attended by a staff of fifty or sixty ladies, of various ages, from blooming girlhood to matronly maturity. The General very willingly consented to remain for a while that every one might have an opportunity of seeing him, and was immediately surrounded by the ladies, all eager to catch the words that fell from his lips, and many with tears in their eyes kissing the skirt of his uniform coat or the glove upon his hand. This was too
much for the gallantry of our leader, who smilingly said to his gentle admirers, “Ladies, your kisses would be more acceptable to me if given upon the cheek.” Thereupon the attacking force wavered and hesitated for a moment; but an elderly lady, breaking through the ranks, advanced boldly, and, throwing her arms around Stuart's neck, gave him a hearty smack, which served as the signal for a general charge. The kisses now popped in rapid succession like musketry, and at last became volleys, until our General was placed under as hot a fire as I had ever seen him sustain on the field of battle. When all was over, and we had mounted our horses, Stuart, who was more or less exhausted, said to me,“ Von, this is a pretty little trick you have played me, but in future I shall detail you for this sort of service.” I answered that I would enter upon it with infinite pleasure, provided he would permit me to reverse his mode of procedure, and commence with the young ladies. The General and Staff bivouacked with the cavalry near Middleburg, while for me was reserved the agreeable duty of riding on special business to Upperville, where, beneath the hospitable roof of Dr Eliason, I passed some pleasant hours with the family circle, to whom I had to recite fully the events and adventures of the day.
FIGHTS NEAR UNION-RETREAT TOWARDS UPPERVILLE-FIGHT
NEAR UPPERVILLE-RETREAT TOWARDS PARIS.
The following morning we received reports that the enemy in heavy force was advancing from Leesburg in the direction of Union. Thither we marched at once, arriving just in time to occupy a naturally strong position about a mile and a half from the little village. Scarcely had our artillery got ready for action, when the Yankees made their appearance, and there began a lively cannonade with spirited sharpshooting, the latter doing little damage to either party, as the high stone fences which enclose the fields in this part of Virginia afforded protection to both sides. The Federal cavalry being far superior in numbers to our own, and our scouts reporting the approach of a strong infantry force, whose glistening bayonets, indeed, we could already see in the far prospect, it seemed almost certain that, after some little resistance, we should be compelled to retire.