nd to encamp about a mile beyond Union, after having established a strong cordon of pickets in front of the village.
The General and his Staff bivouacked near the extensive plantation of a Mr C., at whose house we supped luxuriously, our host serving up for us a gigantic saddle of Virginia mutton which might have rivalled any of the famous southdowns of Old England.
Peacefully broke the morning of Sunday the 2d
Ed: the source text mistakenly lists this as the 3d . of November, a rich, soft day, with all the splendour of the autumnal sunshine, and all the quietude of the Christian Sabbath, till, instead of the sweet church-bells from the neighbouring village calling us to the house of God, we caught the summons to the field in the rattle of musketry and the roar of cannon.
It would have been exceptional, indeed, if, confronting the enemy so closely, we had not been compelled to fight on this day of rest, for it is remarkable that many of the most important and s
now let us be off, said Stuart, and slapping me on the back to conceal his own slight embarrassment, he rose from the table, followed by his companions.
In a few minutes we rode off at a gallop to fresh scenes of excitement and activity.
In Virginia the vicissitudes of temperature are great and sudden, the weather frequently changing from biting frost to genial warmth in a few hours; and we experienced this pleasant alternation as we rode forth into the brilliant sunshine of the clear November morning.
To avoid the disagreeable passage of the river by swimming our horses, General Stuart had determined to cross higher up, where the Shenandoah might be forded without difficulty, and we continued our ride through the rich country on the left bank, passing the pleasant little hamlet of White Post on our route, until mid-day, when we made an easy ford, and soon after partook of a hasty dinner at a hospitable mansion most picturesquely situated on the very margin of the beautiful str
burg, demanding, in grand words, the surrender of the place, he found Longstreet, to his great surprise, seriously objecting to this,--Longstreet who, by a movement parallel to his own, had reached the spot with his corps several hours too early for him. Whereupon the Federal General was fain, after many useless threats to shell the town, to postpone yet a little while his rapid On to Richmond, thus giving General Lee time to move his whole force towards Fredericksburg, where, at the end of November, the two hostile armies were confronting each other.
This change of base gave me one day's longer leave of absence, as I could reach the vicinity of Fredericksburg by rail in twenty-four hours less time than Stuart by marching across the country.
There being nothing to detain me in Richmond, I took advantage of my additional holiday to visit my dear friends, Dr P----and his family, at Dundee, near Hanover Court-house, where I passed Sunday the 22d most delightfully, continuing my journ
fox, he said, should never under any circumstances trust his head in the lion's mouth.
On the 23d we had the pleasure of welcoming once more among us General Hampton, the distant position of whose brigade on the Rappahannock had rendered him a rare visitor of late; but as his absence had been well occupied, his enterprise and activity having inflicted considerable damage on the enemy, it was the less to be regretted.
Among his achievements was a raid across the river towards the end of November, with a small detachment of his brigade, when he surrounded and took prisoners to a man two squadrons of a Pennsylvanian cavalry regiment.
Twice again, in December, he made similar expeditions to the rear of the Federals with equal success, capturing on the last occasion a large waggontrain laden with forage, provisions, and sutlers' stores, out of the latter of which he now brought us a quantity of luxuries as a Christmas present.
As General Hampton had not yet visited the battle-fiel
started in that direction some days before, and on the 15th the rest of our infantry began to move forward.
Stuart was ordered to cover the movements of our army and protect its flank by marching on the Fauquier side of the Blue Ridge Mountains; and accordingly the morning of the 16th found us betimes en route, and in high glee at the thought of once more invading Yankeedom.
Having crossed the Hazel and Rappahannock rivers, we marched on in the same line we had followed in our retreat of November ‘62, and at noon halted for an hour to feed our horses at the little town of Orleans, where General Stuart and his Staff made a point of visiting our old friend Mrs M., by whom we were received with her usual kindness and hospitality.
Our march thence lay through the rich and beautiful county of Fauquier, which as yet showed but little signs of suffering from the war, and at dark we reached the Piedmont Station of the Baltimore-Ohio Railway, where we bivouacked.
Next morning as soon as it