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[550] advanced on the road toward Culpeper Court-House, to a school-house, at the intersection of a road from Madison Court-House with the road to Culpeper Court-House, and was placed in the woods by the side of the road, the Thirteenth Virginia regiment being extended to the left, behind the school-house, so as to command the road from Madison Court-House; the Fifty-eighth Virginia regiment being placed in a clump of pines, to the right of the Culpeper road, so as to command the fields to the right; and the rest of the brigade along the edge of the woods, to the left of the latter road, between the Thirteenth and Fifty-eighth regiments. While this operation was going on, two pieces of Captain Johnson's battery, under Lieutenant Terry, which had been carried to the right, near the foot of the mountain, opened on the enemy's cavalry, as did some pieces in front of General Robertson's headquarters, and were responded to by some pieces of the enemy posted in rear of their cavalry, towards Culpeper Court-House; but this firing lasted only for a few minutes, and the enemy's cavalry, which had at first moved back, soon returned to its former position. After I had remained near the school-house something less than an hour, Captain A. S. Pendleton, of General Jackson's staff, came to me and informed me that General Jackson had ordered an advance; that General Trimble would advance on the right, over the side of the mountain, (Slaughter's,) supported by the Louisiana brigade of General Ewell's division, and that I would advance from the position I then occupied, and be supported by General Winder, with three brigades of General Jackson's own division; and he directed me to advance as soon as I received a message from General Winder that he was in position to support me.

Whilst waiting for the message from General Winder, I reconnoitred the ground in front, and the position of the enemy's cavalry, which was in the fields of Mrs. Crittenden's farm, to the left of the Culpeper road, deployed as skirmishers, supported by about a squadron in reserve. My command was concealed from the cavalry, and I determined to advance upon it, if possible, so as not to be seen until within a short distance of it; and I discovered a way which I could, in all probability, do so. On riding back to the school-house, I found a courier from General Winder, with the information that he was ready. I then commenced my movement, being about two o'clock P. M., and made a detour to the left, passing through the edge of a wood and behind a hill, until I reached the place where I proposed to form my line of battle. In making the advance from this position, I found it necessary to march the greater portion of the brigade in line across a corner of woods, through which the Culpeper road leads, so as to get in reach of the cavalry. I sent forward the Thirteenth Virginia regiment, under Colonel James A. Walker, deployed as skirmishers, a short distance into the woods, behind which I desired to form line of battle; and as soon as the skirmishers had advanced the required distance, the brigade as formed in a meadow, on the north of a branch of Cedar Creek, in an oblique direction to the Culpeper road and to the left of it. While the line was forming, a few shots were heard on the left of the skirmishers, which proved to have been fired on a body of cavalry, which immediately gave way. As soon as the line was formed, I directed the skirmishers to advance, taking care to bear to the right, so as to cross the road and come into the fields beyond, in order to form upon the brigade, and ordered the brigade forward, sending the Twelfth Georgia regiment, which was on the right, by flank, to form behind a ridge, behind which was the enemy's cavalry. The brigade moved forward, through the woods, in handsome style, until it came up with the Twelfth Georgia, when the whole advanced until it came in sight of the enemy's cavalry. About this time Colonel Walker's skirmishers commenced firing, as did the regiments on the right, and the cavalry scampered off. The brigade continued to move forward, swinging around the corner of the woods, and coming out into the open field in line of battle. It had by this time got to the right of the Culpeper road, and moved in pursuit of the enemy's cavalry through the fields, in a direction parallel to the road, until it came to a farm road, running from Mrs. Crittenden's house, on the right, perpendicularly to the Culpeper road. Here it was halted for a few minutes behind a fence running along the farm road, and the Thirteenth regiment was drawn in and formed on the left. The fence was then pulled down, and the brigade moved forward in line to the crest of a hill, which commanded a view in front of what afterward proved to be the battle-field. As soon as the brigade reached the crest of this hill, three batteries opened on it, and a large body of cavalry was discovered in a wheatfield in front, to the left. I ordered the men to retire a few steps, and lay down, so as to avoid the effects of the enemy's artillery.

The Seventh and Eighth brigades were then some distance to the right, on the side of the mountain, and General Winder's command was about three quarters of a mile to the rear. The hill sloped down in front, and farther on was a cornfield, running back to the crest of the next hill, along and behind which was posted the enemy's batteries, and it was evident that there was a depression behind this hill, in which large bodies of infantry might be concealed. There were woods also on a hill in the rear of the wheatfield, in and behind which infantry might be placed under cover, and to the left was a wood through which my flank might be turned.

The opening of the batteries and the halting of the cavalry in its flight convinced me that the enemy intended to make a stand here, and that he was in force. The hill upon which I was being a commanding one, from which the enemy's movements might be observed, and though my left was exposed, being a strong position in itself, if the woods on my left could be occupied, I determined to hold it, and sent my aid, Lieutenant S. H.

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C. S. Winder (5)
T. J. Jackson (3)
James A. Walker (2)
James L. Crittenden (2)
J. R. Trimble (1)
Terry (1)
Slaughter (1)
B. H. Robertson (1)
A. S. Pendleton (1)
Elliott Johnson (1)
R. S. Ewell (1)
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