In the waning light of the day we could plainly discern that for a considerable distance it was covered with the dark masses of the enemy, with their long cavalry columns and artillery-trains, so that we had no reason to indulge chagrin at having been put to flight by numbers more than ten times superior to our own. The exceeding narrowness of the approach, and the two mountain-ridges stretching out on either side of it, made defence an easy affair; not to mention the fact that D. H. Hill, with his division, was only a few miles farther back, ready to come to our assistance at any moment that this might be necessary.
The hostile batteries, occupying the heights near Upperville, kept up an incessant firing upon our troops ascending the mountain, but not being able at so great a distance to get the necessary elevation, their shells fell, and exploded innocently, at the base of the ridge, and our own batteries did not any longer respond.
Only a 12-pounder Whitworth gun, w
the men before us were friends or foes.
After a few minutes of extreme anxiety on our part, the courier came back with the pleasing intelligence that all was right, as the picket in sight consisted of soldiers belonging to the division of General D. H. Hill, who had retired in the direction of Front Royal, but was still holding Manassas Gap.
Dr Eliason being now fully acquainted with the neighbourhood, we dismissed our mountaineer, who evinced great delight when General Stuart handed him a firmy, had now arrived, and had gone into camp in the vicinity of Culpepper Court-house, General Longstreet, with his whole corps, having reached there several days before, followed by Jackson, who had left behind only one of his divisions under D. H. Hill, near Front Royal.
General Stuart went off next day on a little reconnaissance to Brandy Station and Rappahannock Bridge, but for once I did not accompany him, being detained in camp by domestic duties, arranging the interior of my tent, an
extended to us, and where, in the snug library, before a glorious wood-fire, we warmed our half-frozen limbs, and remained in delightful conversation with the ladies till a late hour of the night.
The following day it was reported by our scouts and patrols that the gunboats had disappeared.
It was Sunday, and we spent it as a day of rest, in the most blissful quietude.
On Monday morning we reluctantly took leave of our kind hosts, and started on a reconnaissance up the river with General D. H. Hill, who with his division formed the extreme right of our infantry lines, and occupied a position where a crossing of the stream offered every kind of advantage to the enemy, though, strange to relate, they never availed themselves of it. The Yankees were in plain view on the other side of the river, and were evidently very active in erecting fortifications, marching and countermarching small bodies of troops, and in communicating with other parts of their lines by signal-flags.
ivisions, the right wing of the latter extending across the Telegraph Road, there joining Pickett's troops; and farther on Hood's division, which occupied as nearly as possible the centre of our whole line of battle, at a point where the hills open into a small valley for the passage of the creek, Deep Run; yet further on came Early's division of Jackson's corps.
The extreme right was composed of A. P. Hill's division, holding in reserve the troops of Taliaferro.
The splendid division of D. H. Hill, having been kept back by some demonstrations of the enemy in the direction of Port Royal, did not join us until the evening of the battle, the 13th, when it took its place on the extreme right.
The cavalry, with the exception of Hampton's brigade, which was operating on the upper Rappahannock, and our horse-artillery, under Pelham, occupied the road leading from Hamilton's Crossing to Port Royal, our right extending to Massaponax Creek, and our line of battle thus stood nearly perpendicu
l Jackson galloped up at full speed bringing the order for Stuart to retreat as quickly as he could to his original position.
Our commander-in-chief, adhering to his earliest idea, still objected to a forward movement, for which, in my judgment, the golden moment had now passed, had he inclined to favour it. Under cover of the darkness of the night, we conducted our retrograde movement in safety, and reached our old position on the Port Royal road with but slight loss.
The division of D. H. Hill had now arrived at Hamilton's Crossing, and had been placed at once in the open field upon Jackson's right, where might be seen the glare of their hundreds of camp-fires, and where they were busily engaged in throwing up intrenchments.
On our left wing the assault of the enemy had been renewed at dark, and had been attended with the same fatal result to them with their efforts elsewhere, and the ground in front of Marye's Heights was heaped with dead bodies, chiefly those of the brave Ir