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A RECONNAISSANCE IN FORCE.
admiring on this occasion the excellent behaviour of a squadron of the 5th New York Cavalry, who received with the greatest coolness the heavy fire of our battery, maintaining perfect order while shell after shell exploded in their ranks, and saddle after saddle was emptied—quietly filling the gaps in their lines, and finally only giving way when we charged them with several squadrons.
During the earlier part of the fight the Federals had been wholly without artillery, but several batteries now came to their assistance, opening a vigorous and well-directed fire upon our guns, which lost heavily in men and horses. I had halted near two of our pieces, and was talking with Lieutenant M'Gregor, the officer in command of them, when a shell, bursting within thirty feet of us, sent its deadly missiles in every direction, several fragments of the iron passing directly between us, and one of them shattering the leg of the brave young fellow so that it dangled loosely from his side. He insisted, however, on remaining with his guns, and it required the joint persuasions of General Stuart and myself to induce him to withdraw from the field and place himself in the hands of the surgeon.
Our infantry now joining in the fight, we drove the Yankees back to the neighbourhood of Emmetsville, when I was ordered by my chief to reconnoitre
FALLING BACK BEFORE THE ENEMY.
the position there before he could attempt pushing his success further. Climbing a high hill about a mile on our right, I soon obtained a magnificent view of the surrounding country, extending for many miles towards the town of Warrenton, where numerous encampments indicated the presence of the entire Federal army. In the immediate front, towards Emmetsville, I could see the force opposing us about being reinforced by three brigades of infantry and several batteries of artillery, which were advancing at a double-quick along the turnpike road. In full haste I galloped back to inform General Stuart of the danger of his position, but before reaching him I saw our troops falling back, my chief having himself quickly perceived the additional strength of his opponents.
The enemy's tirailleurs were now moving rapidly forward in admirable order, and by their spirited and accurate fire greatly harassed the retreat of our troops, which was covered by two pieces of our artillery and our cavalry sharpshooters. Stuart, seeing his cavalrymen rapidly driven back, and greatly provoked at the successful advance of the foe, called to him twenty-five or thirty of our infantry riflemen, and posted them at the corner of a wood, with orders not to fire until the enemy had arrived within two hundred yards of them, that they might punish
effectively the impudence of the Yankees, as he called it. Stuart here, as usual, greatly exposed his own person on horseback, by riding out of the wood into the open field, and I felt it my duty to say to him that in my opinion he was not in his proper place, as in a few minutes the whole fire of the enemy would be concentrated upon him; but as J. E. B. was in a very bad humour, he answered me curtly, that if this place seemed likely to become too hot for myself, I was at liberty to leave it; whereupon I made response, that, my duty attaching me to his side, no place could be too hot for me where he chose to go. Nevertheless I changed my position, cautiously bringing a large tree, in front of which I had been standing, between myself and the enemy. In an instant the firing commenced, and three bullets struck the tree at just the height to show that, had I remained where I was, they would certainly have gone through my body. Looking at Stuart, I saw him pass his hand quickly across his face, and even at this serious moment I could not help laughing heartily when I discovered that one of the numberless bullets that had been whistling round him had cut off half of his beloved mustache as neatly as it could have been done by the hand of an experienced barber.
The Yankees having kept up the pursuit for only
REPORT TO GENERAL LEE.
a short distance, we continued our retreat quietly towards Hazel river. Altogether our reconnaissance had been highly successful. We had found out all we desired to know without much loss, while we had inflicted serious damage upon the enemy, and brought back with us thirty prisoners. Being ordered by General Stuart to report immediately to General Lee what had been done, I galloped rapidly ahead, about dusk, passing en route our headquarters, where those who had been left behind came running towards me to get news of the fighting, which I gave them in a condensed form, “All right!" and hurried onward without stopping With some trouble I found General Lee's encampment on the opposite side of the town, where his modest tents had been pitched in a dense pine thicket. Supper was announced just as I arrived, and, having accepted the General's kindly invitation to join him at the table, I there recited to an eager audience our recent adventures. The Commander-in-Chief and the members of his Staff were all greatly amused at the loss of half of Stuart's mustache, a personal ornament upon which they knew our cavalry leader much prided himself. It was late at night when I got back again to our headquarters, where Stuart and my comrades of his Staff had arrived long before me.
CAMP-LIFE AT HEADQUARTERS NEAR CULPEPPER COURT-HOUSE
-TEN DAYS IN RICHMOND-RETURN TO HEADQUARTERS
TION OF THE TOWN-DANGER OF OUR ENGLISH VISITOR
ALL was quiet next day at headquarters, and we had the pleasure of seeing there Mrs Stuart, who had arrived at Culpepper Court-house the previous evening. She had come to spend some days with her husband, to share with him her sacred grief in the calamity that had befallen them both. It was a melancholy pleasure to see how well that admirable lady bore up under the weight of her affliction, in tender regard for her husband. Her manner was composed, but her eyes betrayed their frequent overflow of tears; and the warm pressure of the hand she silently gave me upon our meeting, indicated that words could not describe the agony she had endured. Mrs Stuart had brought with