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[318] continued from “early morn till dewy eve.” Eight miles, the distance from Middleburgh to Ashby's Gap, were passed over by the contending forces, the rebels in their retreat posting batteries on every commanding hill by which our progress was stayed until the superiority of our guns or a flank charge compelled a further retrograde on the part of the enemy. General Kilpatrick led many brilliant charges on the left; but on the right of Upperville, Gamble's brigade, comprising the Eighth and Twelfth Illinois and Third Indiana, made one charge and repulsed three, that confirmed the very few incredulous in the belief of the genuine pluck of this brigade. They drove three rebel brigades to the rear of the town; and when the rebels, stung with chagrin at the idea of being compelled to fall back before one third their number, re-charged furiously, our line continued unbroken, and the enemy recoiled in dismay before a stormy greeting of cold iron. Here the most desperate fighting and bloody work of the day occurred. Some half-dozen charges were made by our forces and equally as many by the rebels for the possession of the place, but Stuart was forced to sullenly retire to his stronghold, the Gap, as night closed upon the bloody scene. Pickets were thereupon established along our entire line, while the main force retired to the vicinity of Middleburgh and passed the night.

General Pleasanton's “official report” correctly says it was a disastrous day for the rebel cavalry. Our loss was insignificant in comparison with the enemy's. Some of their dead were left on the field, while we captured most of their wounded, besides capturing and recapturing fifty Federals and rebels; the wounded inmates of a hospital at Upperville. The latter were taken to Upperville after the fight of the sixteenth at this place. None of our captured had been paroled.

Our loss is not yet definitely ascertained, but will not amount to over seventy-five killed and wounded.

The casualties of the Third cavalry are as follows: Orderly Sergeant Charles Johnson, company C, shot through right knee, making amputation necessary; Sergeant Peters, company C, wounded in the shoulder severely; private Balser Noah, in the face, slightly; Sergeant W. H. Hyden, company F, in the foot, slightly. The Third Illinois lost four killed and fifteen wounded. The Twelfth Illinois lost twelve wounded.

The loss in rebel officers at this fight was much more serious than usual. Several captains, lieutenants, and majors, with Colonel Meriwether Lewis, of the Ninth Virginia cavalry, were left on the field; the latter mortally wounded, was found in a ravine by members of the Third cavalry, and conveyed to a neighboring farm, where in his dying agony he groaned out his remorse at the folly of his cause. He was a man of more than ordinary intelligence. His death-struggle at sunset brought tears to the eyes of those beholding the scene. It was then he uttered the honest sentiments of his heart — his supreme love for the Union over the cause of secession.

Yesterday our cavalry returned to Aldie, and moved out on the Leesburgh pike to Dover, where they are now encamped with the expectation of resting and recruiting the men and horses for at least a day or two. But alas! the uncertainty in the tide of events decreed otherwise. Two hours of repose was all they had until the rebels were reported driving in our pickets. Throughout the corps bugles sounded the “saddle-call,” and the Second brigade, First division, Colonel Diven, was sent forward to find out the intentions of the advancing foe. Skirmishing on the Leesburgh and Middleburgh pike ensued, and two or three charges by squadrons were made by our men and the rebels, respectively.

The rebels proved not to be in force, but as their main body was momentarily expected to appear in sight, we were kept in constant readiness to resist any attack, and consequently little rest was obtained yesterday by the wearied cavalrymen.

Last night Pleasanton's artillery was posted to command all the approaches to Aldie, and as the rebels appeared on our front this morning, the cavalry was again drawn out in line of battle, where it remains at this writing.

Away off on the hills and down the ravines we now and then see a quick flash and a column of blue smoke curling upward, telling us that our skirmishers are vigilant and doing their duty.

Half a dozen different bands are discoursing sweet music along the lines this evening, and I verily believe, should Stuart with all his cavalry appear in solid column on the front, our fellows would go down on them with a rush that could forebode nothing but destruction to the rebels.

Our men are in the best of spirits. The victories of the past week have convinced the men of their ability to accomplish great and daring deeds, and established mutual confidence between men and officers. All have faith in the present management of the cavalry.

Another fight may occur at any time in this vicinity, but, should such be the case, the rebels will be the attacking party, for we are disposed to rest.

The disposition of Hooker's infantry is a little different from what it was three days ago, while the rebels are doubtless sending a considerable force through Thoroughfare Gap. Should Lee attempt to reach the Potomac by way of Leesburgh, he will be seriously opposed, for, at an hour's notice, Hooker can throw a formidable force of veterans on his front.

The weather continues most favorable for all our operations, the atmosphere of these mountains being a comfortable medium between heat and cold.

Fairfax Station is our base of supplies, and the many fine farms in this vicinity afford luxurious grazing for our horses.

Loudon County has been reported all right for the Union, but the loyal element is not found here, and I deem it just that we should appropriate what we cannot well do without.

John Hood, Commissioner for the District Court of Eastern Virginia, amidst persecution

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