remain to the close of the war, not, however, without our enemy making, at all times and places, the most desperate and gallant efforts to win it back.
In the early part of June, 1863, the rebel cavalry corps was assembled about Brandy Station
, and in front of that point on the Rappahannock river
There had been reviews and inspections preparatory to making some great movement; this was suspected to be northward, and not directly against the forces confronting on the river.
The strength of Stuart
's command at this time was subsequently ascertained to have been about twelve thousand horsemen, divided into five brigades, with sixteen pieces of light artillery.
Had this force gotten off undiscovered, and reached Pennsylvania
without having fought the battle of Brandy Station
, and subsequently been defeated at Aldie
, and Upperville
, the fertile valleys, busy towns, and wealthy cities of our beloved State would have been devastated to an extent beyond ordinary estimate.
But this was not to be. On Saturday and Sunday, June 6th and 7th, General Pleasonton
assembled his corps about Warrenton Junction and Catlett's Station, rations, forage, and ammunition were issued, and every trooper was put in the best possible condition for a ceremonious visit to our neighbors opposite.
On Monday evening, General John Buford
, with his two brigades and light batteries, and a small supporting column of infantry, moved to the vicinity of Beverly Ford, and General Gregg
, with his own and Colonel Duffie
's divisions, and light batteries, moved to Kelly's Ford
, six miles below, and here was found another small column of infantry.
The strength of these two commands was about nine thousand cavalry.
At daylight, on Tuesday, June 9th, General Buford
, with his regular and volunteer brigades crossed the Rappahannock
at Beverly Ford and surprised the enemy's pickets, driving them back upon their camps and intrenchments, and maintained for hours a most obstinate fight with a force largely superior to his own. His advance was through a rough, wooded country, which afforded the enemy every defensive advantage, but his regiments, led by such soldiers as Colonel Davis
, of the Eighth New York (killed in the action), Major Morris
, of the Sixth Pennsylvania, and Captain Merritt
, of the Second Regulars, and others of like character, were not to be stopped by ordinary resistance; and by their repeated mounted charges, and advances as dismounted skirmishers, the enemy was driven back to a line strongly held by a large number of field-pieces supported by troops.
, with his own and Colonel Dufie