As soon, therefore, as General Buford
had everything arranged to his satisfaction, he ordered the reserve brigade to advance, and ground was quickly gained on our right from wall to wall, and from knoll to knoll, the enemy abandoning all their positions threatening the ford, and retiring up the open fields beyond the woods, on a line parallel with the position of their troops at St. James' Church.
The ground over which they passed is rolling, and admirably adapted for cavalry movements.
A conspicuous object in landscape was a large brick house, to which the whirligig of war brought us for a headquarters in the following winter, and on reaching this house, to follow the direction of the enemy's retreat, our men bore to the left, and still advanced through open country, a ridge of high open ground on their right, and woods for the most part on their left.
Leaving General Buford
to push on as rapidly as possible, General Pleasonton
now rode to St. James' Church, where all was quiet, with no enemy in sight.
Toward Brandy Station
a high hill confronted us, shutting off all view in that direction, but Buford
's success now made it possible to resume the march, which was about to be done, when General Gregg
rode into our lines from the left, reporting the results of the operations of the Kelly's ford
column, so far as he was himself aware of them.
I have no reason to question the entire accuracy of Major McClellan
's spirited account of these, and it is confirmed from various other trustworthy sources.
Before reaching Brandy Station
, Colonel Duffie
had turned to his left, hoping to accomplish something in the enemy's rear.
he encountered a force of cavalry, which was charged — the First Massachusetts and Third Pennsylvania Cavalry in advance-and driven through and beyond Stevensburg
in disorder, as Major McClellan
himself avows, with all possible candor.
Here Colonel Duffie
paused, distrusting, no doubt, his isolation from the main body of the Kelly's ford
had advanced directly upon Brandy Station
without opposition, and thence to the “Fleetwood hill
,” where Stuart
made hasty preparations to receive him. Fleetwood hill
is a ridge of ground, half a mile from Brandy Station
, toward the Rappahannock
, and west of the railroad.
St. James' Church is on the river side of the hill, and Buford
was now working his way up to it from that side also; hence while the Beverly ford
column was approaching it from one side, Gregg
had been moving on it from the other, neither column having knowledge, however, of the other's movements, whereby Stuart
escaped the consequences supposed to arise from being between two fires.
The disadvantage of operations from without inward, to which I have alluded, is here made manifest on our side, while Stuart