fords, six miles apart, where they were to cross in two divisions, and advance on Culpepper C. H. (alias Fairfax
), where J. E. B. Stuart
was understood to be. But scarcely had Gen. Buford
's cavalry, supported by Ames
's infantry, crossed1
Beverly ford, when they were sharply engaged; the Rebel ferry guard, whom they had hoped to surprise, falling back on Jones
's cavalry brigade, encamped just behind, and checking our advance until these could mount and charge ; when the 8th New York was routed with loss, and Col. B. F. Davis
its commander, killed.
The 8th Illinois cavalry, now charging, drove the enemy back in disorder: meantime, Gen. Russell
brought over his infantry, and Pleasanton
directed him to engage them in front, while Buford
, with the cavalry, should strike them in flank.
The charge was made with spirit by the 6th Pennsylvania, supported by the 5th and 6th regulars; but, just as the 6th had reached the enemy's guns, it was charged in turn by two regiments of Rebel cavalry which burst from the woods on its flank, and routed with heavy loss.
now found himself in a hornets' nest.
Every moment increased the force in his front, which had an infantry corps at hand to draw upon; while Gregg
, who had crossed at Kelly's ford
, and had sent word at 8 A. M. that he would soon be up, did not make his appearance till afternoon.
The fight was therefore allowed to drag, in this quarter; each side covering itself with woods and shelling or sharp-shooting, as opportunity offered, until about 1 P. M., when Gregg
came up. He had been fighting pretty steadily all the morning, charging and being charged in turn, and had crowded his antagonists back to Brandy Station
, where, Col. Wyndham
reported, they were bringing up infantry in railroad cars.
's cavalry had fought well, and taken 150 prisoners, but had lost heavily.
The two divisions were now connected, and the Rebels
in their immediate front pushed back; two regiments narrowly escaping capture.
And now Pleasanton
saw that he must begin to fall back or prepare to fight half of Lee
's army; so he retreated to the fords and recrossed about dark; having lost about 500 men, and brought off over 100 prisoners.
J. E. B. Stuart
(who of course claims the result as his victory) admits a loss of over 600 of his cavalry in this affair, including Col. Saul Williams
, 2d N
. C., and Lt.-Col. Frank Hampton
, 2d S. C., killed; Gen. W. H. F. Lee
and Cols. Butler
being among his wounded.
He claims 3 guns and a good many small arms captured; and an unofficial Rebel account says they took 336 prisoners, including wounded.
Considered as a reconnaissance in force, Pleasanton
's expedition was a decided success.
There was no longer any doubt — if there had been till now — that the Rebel
army was in this quarter, and tending westward.
There had been a grand review of all the cavalry of the army at Culpepper Court House, a few days before; Gen. Lee
and his staff being present.
sent over next