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[561] had been fired. Presently the rifles and carbines opened along the line, the enemy's balls whistling over our skirmishers' heads, while now and then a rebel reeled and fell before our deadly carbines. This continued several minutes, the cavalry maintaining their position in the road. One shot intended for Colonel Kilpatrick passed through a horse's head, killing him instantly, and striking the Colonel's left side, fell to the ground. On the skirmishers slowly but surely pressed, both sides jeering each other, each confident of victory. Soon it became evident that the enemy must retire, and in a moment the rebel commander was heard to order: “By platoons, left about, wheel.” Hardly had the rebels turned their horses' heads when Major Chapman and the Indiana boys were upon them, dismounting men, capsizing horses, and driving the enemy helter skelter towards their camp. In after them went our cavalry, hurrying them down towards Hanover Junction, where they retired behind reinforcements, when our men fell back to the abandoned camp. Here a portion of the cavalry fired a railroad train loaded with grain, a number of wagons, tents, baggage, commissary and medical stores, and other valuable property. While the handful of men were hastening the work of destruction, a large body of Stuart's cavalry appeared at a short distance. Had they charged they would have utterly annihilated our troops, as they outnumbered us three to one; but, halting a moment to reconnoitre, Col. Kilpatrick determined on a bold strike. Sounding the rally, his scattered men closed up behind the platoon which the Colonel had suddenly thrown across the road, while Major Davies was sent with skirmishers to flank the enemy. Stealing off to the right, Major Davies had succeeded in getting on their flank and almost on their rear before being discovered. Opening a brisk fire upon their flank, the whole command wheeled and fled, followed by our cavalry, who, after chasing them down the railroad as far as was deemed prudent, returned, first, however, building a number of fires along upon the track. The party then returned to camp, reaching Fredericksburgh last night at twelve o'clock, having marched seventy-four miles in twenty-four hours, routed a vastly superior rebel force, composed principally of Stuart's famous cavalry, destroyed several thousand dollars' worth of property, cut down the telegraph line, and captured a large number of horses, together with several prisoners. Majors Davies and Chapman and Capt. Walters did remarkably good service, and were highly complimented by Col. Kilpatrick. The cars have not yet commenced running on the Central Railroad, and this affair will be likely to hinder the repair of the road to a great extent. A Richmond paper, found in the rebel camp, stated that Gen. Stuart was building a bridge across the North Anna River, over which he intended, with two thousand men, to commit depredations in this direction. Col. Kilpatrick left word for Stuart that he need take no more trouble about the bridge, as we should give them all they could attend to on their own side.

This dash cannot fail to impress the rebels with the fact that the department of the Rappahannock is about to prove rather a troublesome neighbor, and unless Stuart's men exercise more courage their laurels will very soon have faded. A portion of Ashby's old command was also in the fight, as we are informed by prisoners, and when the rebel authorities learn the inferiority of our force, they may possibly reflect upon the probability of a Yankee being equal to at least one rebel.

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J. E. B. Stuart (5)
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