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[175] just learned by its fire. The road I found, when the line reached it, a good place for protection against this battery, and also for assailing the cavalry on their expected retreat. I therefore halted in it. I now thought we had their cannon and cavalry secured. I had been assured by Lieutenant Stannard, as well as by citizens, that there was no practicable way to Amissville, except this road occupied by the brigade, all others being excluded by the mountain and its spurs. They were mistaken. The enemy found another road nearer to the mountain, and by it escaped with their artillery and most of their cavalry. We took a few of them prisoners, and killed and wounded more.

As soon as it was clear that the enemy had retreated, at the suggestion of General Hill, I returned to the ford and resumed the march, the command having spent four hours, marched at least four miles over very difficult ground and fought a brisk fight with cavalry and artillery in the detour.

Such was the part contributed by the brigade and the Fourth and Fifteenth Alabama to the defeat of a well-laid plan of the enemy, organized on rather a large scale, to impede the march and cut off the trains of a large part of our army. They must have had two, if not three brigades of cavalry, and two or three batteries of artillery.

This, Major, is a much longer report than I would have had it to be, but, under the order requiring it, I do not see how it could have been shorter. Indeed, I have omitted some things, showing the arduousness of the long march, which are perhaps called for by the order. I must, in closing, ask leave to pay a tribute to the merit of the brigade in that respect. There was no straggling to speak of, either on the advance or the return. The rolls when we arrived at Gettysburg showed almost the same number which they showed when we left Culpeper Courthouse. So they showed on our return to Culpeper Courthouse almost the same number which they showed when we left Gettysburg.

I am, Major, very respectfully, Your obedient servant,

Henry L. Benning, Brigadier General. Major W. H. Sellers, A. A. G.

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