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[142] by his own position and the nature of our disjointed attack, was enabled to concentrate his force within a very limited field on and near Fleetwood hill, permitting a swift reinforcement of the most endangered points, his men fighting, as it were, back to back, while ours were so widely scattered. Gregg gained this hill and the house that surmounted it, and a fierce fight was brought on, with charges and counter-charges, at the end of which Gregg found himself overmatched, and withdrew to the low ground again, losing as he fell back three pieces of artillery, after a desperate effort to save them, as Major McClellan describes.

It would, perhaps, have been better if General Gregg, postponing his attack, had borne to his right from Brandy Station until he came into connection with the Beverly ford column, but he could not certainly know this at the time, and seeing an opportunity to attack the enemy in front of him he availed himself of it like the good soldier that he was. It was after his own repulse that he was rejoined by Colonel Duffie, and meantime the enemy were pouring infantry into Brandy Station by railroad from Culpepper Court-House, introducing a new but not unexpected element to General Pleasonton's consideration. When Gregg reported all this to General Pleasonton at St. James' Church, all that was necessary to the purposes of General Hooker had been fully accomplished; the information required had been secured with unmistakable accuracy from personal observation and from the official documents captured on the field, as related by Major McClellan. There was nothing to demand any further effort on General Pleasonton's part, and in view of the approach of the enemy's infantry he determined to recross the river without further delay. He ordered General Gregg to retire by way of Rappahannock Station with the whole of the Kelly's ford column, thus bringing those troops within supporting distance of the other column on its return to Beverly ford. General Gregg left us to comply with this order, and it is only necessary to say further in regard to his column that it was not molested on its march to Rappahannock Station, and that it crossed the river there in safety, accompanied by Russell's Brigade of Infantry, which, as a precautionary measure to protect the lower fords, had hugged the river bank all day, and so far as I know had not exchanged shots with the enemy at all. General Pleasonton at the same time began the withdrawal of the cavalry and infantry from St. James' Church, and as it happened that I was dispatched by him with orders to General Buford to give up his attack and retire to Beverly ford, I am able to speak positively as to the last events of the day on our right.

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