the troops of the Department of Northern Virginia was forty-seven thousand two hundred, of whom four thousand eight hundred belonged to the Acquia district, and three. thousand seven hundred to that of the Valley
.1 Brigadier-General D. H. Hill
had succeeded Brigadier-General Evans
in the command of the troops near Leesburg
, the latter being transferred to South Carolina
Early in December, Major Blair
, the chief commissary
of the army, was compelled by ill health to leave that position.
He was succeeded in it by Major R. G. Cole
, who assumed its duties about the 20th of the month, and continued to perform them until the end of the war. He was desired to have the stock of provision for the army increased to a supply for fifteen days, and to have that quantity kept on hand; and also to establish a reserve-depot at Culpepper Court-House.
This measure was a preparation for the contingency of our finding it necessary or expedient to fall back from Centreville
to the line of the Rappahannock
On the 20th, Brigadier-General Stuart
was sent to forage in the southeastern part of the county of Loudon
, with an escort of sixteen hundred infantry and Cutts
To protect the party gathering forage, he placed his escort at Drainsville, between that party and the Federal
In taking that position, he encountered the escort of a Federal foraging-party.
Finding this body of troops much stronger than his own, he thought it necessary to draw off his foraging-party, and, to cover its withdrawal, attacked the enemy, and kept them engaged