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[140] the southern bank of the river; and in a moment more we met some men carrying Captain George A. Forsyth, Eighth Illinois Cavalry, who was shot through the thigh. This able and daring officer has since become renowned as an aide-de-camp of General Sheridan throughout his campaigns in Virginia, and as the hero of the most remarkable fight with Indians on the plains of which there is any record. Forsyth reported a sharp fight at the front, and expressed great regret that he had not been wounded at sundown instead of at sunrise. Meantime the reserve brigade of cavalry had passed on to join in the melee, the sounds of which were now formidable in front, while shells came flying from our right and demanded attention. The reserve brigade, which included the regular regiments and the Sixth Pennsylvania Cavalry, was soon hotly engaged charging the enemy's line, which had taken position near St. James' Church, as described by Major McClellan. St. James' Church was a modest sanctuary, suggesting the time when “the woods were the first churches,” and it lay directly on the road toward Brandy Station, our rendezvous with the Kelly's ford column. The Sixth Pennsylvania Cavalry, attacking the enemy's troopers on the plateau near the church, met with a tremendous fire from artillery on the flank, and was compelled to fall back with heavy loss of officers and men, including Major Robert Morris, in command of the regiment, whose horse fell with him, and he was taken prisoner. The regulars, part of whom charged at the same time, or a moment later, fared better, on the whole, but were brought to a stand still; and meantime our right, nearer to the river, was seriously threatened, endangering our possession of Beverly ford. Ames' infantry was ordered to replace the reserve brigade in the woods below St. James' Church, which they did without any serious fighting, and the reserve brigade was sent to the open fields on our right, where the enemy, dismounted, had secured a line of stone walls, with artillery on the higher ground behind them. Some guns of ours were unlimbered on a knoll a short distance from the ford, commanding the fields into which the reserve brigade was moving, and a lively duel was immediately begun with the opposing artillery, while General Pleasonton took to the knoll for a post of observation, regardless of the enemy's shells, which flew like a flock of pigeons past our battery. On the lower ground in front very sharp skirmishing ensued, our men in turn adopting the stone-wall manoeuvre. There was no word as yet of the Kelly's ford column, and our own progress toward Brandy Station had been greatly delayed; but nothing could be done to get on faster until our right was relieved from the pressure of the enemy toward Beverly ford.

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