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My advance reached Gettysburg July 2d, just in time to thwart a move of the enemy's cavalry1 upon our rear by way of Hunterstown, after a fierce engagement, in which Hampton's Brigade performed gallant service, a series of charges compelling the enemy to leave the field and abandon his purpose. I took my position that day on the York and Heidelburg roads, on the left wing of the Army of Northern Virginia.

On the morning of the 3d of July, pursuant to instructions from the commanding general (the ground along our line of battle being totally impracticable for cavalry operations), I moved forward to a position to the left of General Ewell's left, and in advance of it, where a commanding ridge completely controlled a wide plain of cultivated fields stretching toward Hanover on the left, and reaching to the base of the mountain spurs, among which the enemy held position. My command was increased by the addition of Jenkins' Brigade, who, here, in the presence of the enemy, allowed themselves to be supplied with but ten rounds of ammunition, although armed with the most approved Enfield muskets.

I moved this command and W. H. F. Lee's secretly through the woods to a position, and hoped to effect a surprise upon the enemy's rear. But Hampton's and Fitz Lee's brigades, which had been ordered to follow me, unfortunately debouched into open ground, disclosing the movement, and causing a corresponding movement of a large force of the enemy's cavalry. Having been informed that Generals Hampton and Lee were up, I sent for them to come forward, so that I could show them, at a glance, from the elevated ground I held, the situation, and arrange for further operations. My message was so long in finding General Hampton that he never reached me, and General Lee remained, as it was deemed inadvisable, at the time the message was delivered, for both to leave their commands.

Before General Hampton had reached where I was, the enemy had deployed a heavy line of sharpshooters, and were advancing towards our position, which was very strong. Our artillery had, however, left the crest, which it was essential for it to occupy, on account of being too short range to compete with the longer-range guns of the enemy; but I sent orders for its return. Jenkins' Brigade was chiefly employed dismounted, and fought with decided effect until the ten rounds were expended, and then retreated, under circumstances of difficulty and exposure, which entailed the loss of valuable men. The left, where Hampton's and Lee's brigades were, by this time became heavily engaged as dismounted skirmishers.

My plan was to employ the enemy in front with sharpshooters, and move a command of cavalry upon their left flank from the position lately held by me, but the falling back of Jenkins' men (that officer was wounded the day previous, before reporting to me, and his brigade was commanded by Colonel Ferguson, Sixteenth Virginia Cavalry) caused a like movement of those on the left, and the enemy, sending forward a squadron or two, were about to cut off and capture a portion of our dismounted sharpshooters.

To prevent this, I ordered forward the nearest cavalry regiment (one of W. H. F. Lee's) quickly to charge this force of cavalry. It was gallantly done, and about the same time a portion of General Fitz Lee's command charged on the left, the First Virginia Cavalry being most conspicuous. In these charges the

1 Under Kilpatrick.

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