and the river, about half a mile from the station, and commands the open plain around it in every direction.
At the very first dawn of day the firing of the pickets at Beverly's ford notified us that an attack had been made; and soon reports came in from Jones
and from Robertson
that the enemy had effected a crossing at both Beverly's and Kelley's fords.
The condition of the horse artillery was, for a time, exceedingly critical.
The advance of the enemy was pressed with vigor, and there was nothing between the guns and danger, save the squadron on picket.
Guns and wagons were harnessed in haste, and retired in much confusion, until the arrival of Jones
' grand guard, the Seventh Virginia, checked the enemy.
No serious loss occurred save that Major Beckham
's desk, in which he had placed the order of march received by him the previous night, was jostled out of his wagon in its hasty retreat, and fell into the enemy's hands, thus revealing to him authoritatively part of the information which he had come to obtain.
Retiring to the vicinity of St. James' Church, the artillery was placed in position for action, and the whole of Jones
' Brigade having now been brought forward, the advance of the enemy was still further checked until Hampton
, with four of his regiments, took-position upon Jones
' right, and a junction was effected with W. H. F. Lee
's Brigade upon the left.
At the earliest report of the enemy's advance, Robertson
moved to the support of his pickets, and encountered a party of the enemy near Brown's house, about two miles from Kelley's ford.
This brigade was not, however, engaged during any part of the day. With matters in this position the fight continued for more than two hours, with no decisive result on either side, save that the Confederate cavalry held their position against every attack.
It is the concurrent opinion of Generals Hampton
, and of Major Beckham
, as expressed in their official reports, that they could not have been dislodged by the force which had developed itself in their front.
The enemy's infantry had been freely used, both as a support, and as an attacking force, but the effort to dislodge our troops from the first position they assumed near the church had entirely failed.
But, meanwhile, the situation was becoming serious in another direction, and that, too, while we were ignorant of the danger.
Before sending Hampton
into action, Stuart
had ordered that one of his regiments be detached to guard our rear at Brandy Station
; but learning from Robertson
that a column of the enemy was moving upon Stevensburg
, this regiment, the Second South Carolina, Colonel M. C. Butler
, was ordered to that point, which is about five miles from Brandy Station
The Fourth Virginia, Colonel Wickham