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[549] In the afternoon, General Stuart took two brigades and several batteries and set out for Cat lett's Station, to harass the enemy's flank and rear. Having passed Auburn, he at once discovered that he was between the advancing columns of the enemy. Enormous lines of infantry, cavalry, artillery, and baggage wagons were passing on both sides of him, and to have attacked them would have resulted in heavy loss. Nothing was left but to “lay low,” in camp parlance; and orders were accordingly issued that no sound should be uttered throughout the command. This novel incident in the career of the gallant Stuart has been so repeatedly described in the papers, that I will not further dwell upon it. Suffice it to say, that in spite of the sounds issuing from the throats of indecent donkeys, in spite of rattling artillery chains and neighing horses, the band of Southern cavaliers was not discovered; and at daybreak the rear-guard of the enemy were seen in camp cooking their breakfasts, not a quarter of a mile distant. General Stuart had sent several scouts on foot through the enemy's lines to announce his situation to General Lee, and urge the good results which would attend an attack on the enemy's left flank, while he attacked on the right. The scouts, disguising themselves as Federal infantry, got through the line and reported the “situation,” and at dawn General Rodes opened on the enemy, as suggested. At the same moment, General Stuart, who had gotten his artillery into position, hurled his thunders on them from an opposite direction, and the ball was opened in the liveliest way imaginable. The enemy formed and for a time resisted, but soon fell back, and our cavalry pushed on in pursuit, General Ewell following with his infantry.

General Fitz Lee's division of cavalry had gone round by New-Baltimore and Buckland's, and reached Bristoe on the evening of the fight there, just as it was over. General Stuart came up at the same time, and taking command of the corps, advanced on the next morning to Manassas. Fitz Lee attacked the enemy at Blackburn's Ford — the scene of the battle of July eighteenth, 1861--and drove them off, after an artillery and sharp-shooters' fight of an hour or two. General Stuart, with the other division, then proceeded toward Yates's Ford below to cut off their wagon train, and coming up with the enemy, had a brief but severe fight with them, which terminated in their retreat across Bull Run. They had hurried off their trains, however, and no part of Meade's baggage felt into our hands.

The entire command bivouacked that night in the waste and desolate country around Manassas, where there is neither sustenance for man nor beast. On the next morning, leaving General Fitz Lee at Manassas to watch the movements of the enemy in front, General Stuart, with Hampton's division, set out to make an expedition to their rear. At Groveton he encountered a heavy picket, which was driven away after some sharp fighting, and then proceeding more to the left by Gainesville, he crossed the Catharpin and Tittle River, struck into the turnpike below Aldie, and proceeded to the rear of Frying Pan, where a regiment of infantry was encountered and attacked. Desultory skirmishing consumed some hours, when, having ascertained that the Sixth corps was encamped there, and industriously intrenching to defend itself from General Lee's army, (then retiring from Warrenton toward the Rappahannock,) General Stuart withdrew, and marched back without pursuit or molestation by the badly frightened enemy. This expedition induced the enemy to retire his whole force from Centreville to Fairfax Court-House, under the impression that General Lee had gotten into his rear, and was about to attack him! This may be called one of the best practical (cavalry) jokes of the war.

As our cavalry fell back from Gainesville, on the next day, the great “Buckland Races” took place. General Kilpatrick came down from Bull Run, as furious as a wild boar at finding that the circumventing force which had appeared at Frying Pan was only a portion of Stuart's cavalry. He declared to a citizen, at whose house he stopped, that “Stuart had been boasting of driving him from Culpeper, and now he was going to drive Stuart.” He was about to sit down to an excellent dinner as he made the observation, when, suddenly, the sound of artillery attracted his attention, and he was obliged to get (dinnerless) into the saddle. General Stuart had played him one of those tricks which are dangerous. He had arranged with General Fitz Lee, whose division was still toward Manassas, to come up on the enemy's flank and rear, as they pursued, and when he was ready, fire a gun as a signal. At the signal, he (Stuart) would face about and attack. Every thing took place as it was planned. The signal roared, and General Stuart, who, until then, had been retiring before the enemy toward New-Baltimore, faced around and charged. At the same moment Fitz Lee came up on the enemy's flank, and the “Buckland Races” took place. Poor Kilpatrick was completely ruined. His command was killed, captured, or dispersed. When last heard from, he was at Alexandria, where he is supposed to have opened a recruiting-office for the enlistment of his command. To add to his misery, the confederates have caught his race-horse. General Kilpatrick is fond of racing, and had a thoroughbred mare, called “Lively,” which he ran on every occasion. The other day “Lively” flew the track, and took to the woods, where some of Moseby's men took possession of her. Two soldiers were sent after her; and these, too, were gobbled up.

It would thus appear that the campaign, taken altogether, has been unfavorable to General Kil patrick. Driven out of Culpeper, ruined at Buck land's, the loss of his favorite mare must appear to him the “unkindest cut of all.”

At Buckland's, General Stuart captured a number of wagons and mules, and the headquarter baggage of General Custer; his papers, clothes, every thing. The papers reveal many interesting facts connected with their cavalry, and show a

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J. E. B. Stuart (14)
Fitz Lee (8)
B. J. Kilpatrick (3)
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Rodes (1)
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George G. Meade (1)
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July 18th, 1861 AD (1)
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