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[385] cavalry detachment, (three companies of the First Virginia,) leaving my infantry and artillery to make the best of their way toward the front.

Arriving at eight P. M. at the front, and finding every thing in confusion, I ordered my cavalry into line under the protection of the woods nearest the enemy, and advanced alone to reconnoitre. Fifteen minutes had scarcely elapsed when a battery of the enemy suddenly opened with great precision upon the remnant of Banks's corps posted on my right. The enemy's fire had been directed by several large fires beaming brilliantly among Banks's batteries. The result was a general stampede — infantry, cavalry, and artillery retreating in the greatest disorder. I endeavored to rally them, at first without success, but finally succeeded in arresting a battery or two and some cavalry, which I brought back to their old position on the road, at the same time throwing my cavalry across on the same side.

Shortly after, one of Banks's batteries having retreated to a safe position to the left of the road and behind us, responded to the enemy's guns, the firing closing in about fifteen minutes. Meanwhile, fearing that my brigade--two regiments of which had been thrown across the road to stop the terrific mass in their headlong retreat — might be delayed too long, I despatched one of my aids to hurry it forward, with orders to push before them all the retreating column if possible. They immediately pressed forward, and after much labor I encamped them about two A. M., in the position first selected in the fore part of the evening. Having posted pickets at a suitable distance on our front, I allowed the men to rest upon their arms.

Sunday, 10th.--Still holding position in advance of the corps, I threw forward a line of skirmishers, with a sufficient support, along my whole front. They found the enemy's skirmishers backed by their whole force, strongly posted in the woods, about two hundred yards in front of us. Here they skirmished until about noon, the enemy occasionally firing upon them by companies; whenever this occurred I would send a few shells among them, causing their sudden withdrawal. During the afternoon my skirmishers drove the enemy out of the woods, following them some three fourths of a mile. About four P. M. I sent out my cavalry to reconnoitre, and if possible to allow the ambulances to bring off some of our wounded. In this they were quite successful, bringing off about one hundred. The cavalry had, in the mean time, approached to within three hundred yards of the enemy's lines without drawing their fire, and having ascertained their position, withdrew to our lines.

On the morning of the eleventh, it being determined to take our dead and wounded off the field, I was ordered to advance my brigade to cover our ambulances and working parties. I accordingly sent forward my three companies of cavalry, followed by my infantry. The cavalry, upon arriving at the outskirts of the wood, halted, finding ahead of them a strong cavalry force of ours under the direction of Gen. Bayard. I then rode forward, followed by several ambulances, which I sent back loaded with our wounded.

About an hour had been thus occupied, when I was informed a flag of truce had been sent in by the enemy, and at the same time received a request from General Bayard to attend a conference with the rebel General Stuart relative to the cessation of hostilities, for the purpose of attending to the dead and wounded of both parties. An armistice until two P. M. was finally agreed upon, but was afterward, by mutual consent, extended to the evening.

A reconnoissance on the morning of the twelfth found the enemy had withdrawn during the night, in the direction of the Rapidan River. I followed them as rapidly as possible, as soon as this was ascertained, but only succeeded in discovering their rear-guard of cavalry in full flight. Having advanced some six miles, as far as Crooked Creek, and finding it impassable, on account of the previous heavy rains, encamped my brigade upon its bank and awaited orders.

On the morning of the thirteenth, finding Crooked Creek and Robinson's River fordable for my cavalry and artillery, I crossed my infantry on slight bridges, hastily constructed.

When about eight hundred yards south of Robinson's River, I was obliged to halt my brigade, with the exception of the cavalry, on the bank of a narrow and deep creek emptying into Robinson's River. The bottom of this creek where it crossed the road was composed of mud worn into deep holes, thus rendering it impassable for my artillery. In the course of two hours I had thrown across it a bridge strong enough to sustain my heaviest guns. A party of my cavalry, which had in the mean time reconnoitred as far as the Rapidan River, some five miles beyond us, reported a small force of the enemy on the opposite shore.

Having crossed the bridge, I proceeded about a quarter of a mile to where I was ordered to halt for the day. About four P. M., when about to post my pickets for the night, I received orders to fall back to the position I had left in the morning. I accordingly withdrew my brigade, with the exception of the cavalry and one section of artillery, which I left in a favorable position.

From the evening of the thirteenth to the sixteenth remained in camp on the banks of Crooked Creek, nothing of importance occurring during the interval, excepting the capture on the six-teenth, by a party of rebel cavalry, of a lieutenant and three privates on picket-duty, belonging to the Third Virginia, belonging to my brigade.

At four P. M. on the eighteenth, received orders to prepare to fall back as far as Sulphur Springs, the enemy having been reported as advancing in great force from Richmond. I soon had my brigade in readiness to move, and remained under arms until receipt of orders to move at four next morning, the troops in the rear of Pope's whole command having required all night to withdraw.

August 19.--Marched all day, passing through Culpeper, and encamping at midnight about four

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