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[617] my command was in a critical condition. It was entirely concealed from the enemy's view by being posted in the woods; and this fact no doubt saved it, for it was evident the enemy was aware of the fact that a force was across the river, and, from the caution with which he moved, he thought it was much larger than it really was.

Late in the afternoon a heavy column of infantry, with artillery, made its appearance opposite to my right flank; and I then changed my front so as to present it toward the enemy, without, however, his being aware of it, as my whole movement was concealed from his view by the woods. The artillery was also so posted as not to be observed by him. About this time Colonel Robertson, with two or three regiments of cavalry and two pieces of artillery, came from the direction of Warrenton, and, after consulting with me, posted two pieces of artillery on the hill to the north of the Springs, which commanded a view of the enemy, and opened fire upon him. This was responded to by a battery of the enemy's in a few moments, and I sent two Parrott guns from Brown's battery to the assistance of Robertson's pieces, which were of short range, and a brisk cannonading was kept up until near sundown, with no damage, however, to my infantry or artillery, the only persons killed or wounded belonging to the cavalry, which happened to be in the line of the artillery fire, and in rear of our pieces. After the cessation of the artillery fire, a column of the enemy was observed to advance, it being then near dark, and a mist rendering objects quite indistinct. Infantry was also seen moving off to the left, and in a few moments the enemy delivered a volley into the woods, where my infantry was posted, and then gave three cheers, followed by a tiger, in regular style. I had two of Captain Dement's Napoleon guns run to the left of my line, and infantry, to a point from which they could fire upon the enemy, and caused them to open with canister. This fire was so well directed, although objects could not be distinguished, that the enemy was thrown into confusion and driven back, as was manifest from the cries and groans of his men, which were plainly heard by ours. There was no further attack on me; but it was evident, from the noises heard and the reports of one or two persons who had seen columns of the enemy passing from below, that a heavy force was near at hand, and that preparations were being made to surround my force, and I sent a messenger to General Jackson with information as to the state of things, and by his directions the remainder of General Lawton's brigade was crossed over on the temporary bridge which had been constructed — the Sixtieth regiment, under Major Berry, having been crossed over just before night.

General Lawton got over about one o'clock, and informed me that he had seen written instructions to General Ewell, directing him to cross over himself at daylight, and if it was evident the enemy was in heavy force, to recross the troops, as it was not desired to have a general engagement at that place. I immediately despatched a messenger to General Ewell to inform him that there was no doubt of the enemy's being in heavy force, and if I was to be recrossed it had better be done at once without waiting for daylight, as the enemy, by moving to the left, could place artillery so as to command the bridge and ford at the Springs, and from the sounds of carriages moving in that direction, I was satisfied such was his purpose, and that it would be accomplished before I could recross, if it was postponed until daylight. In response to this, General Ewell came over a little before three o'clock, and, after consultation with me, gave the order for recrossing, which was accomplished, Lawton's brigade going first, and carrying over the artillery by hand, and then my brigade following, the whole being completed very shortly after daylight. My command was thus rescued from almost certain capture, as it has since appeared from General Pope's report that he had brought up his whole force to attack what he supposed to be General Jackson's whole force. I lost no men killed or wounded, though a severe punishment must have been inflicted on the enemy by the canister from our artillery.

Our situation was felt by every officer and man to be of the most critical nature, and I cannot speak in too high terms of the deportment of the whole command. The men had had nothing to eat since the day they had crossed over, and for two nights and a day they lay upon their arms; yet they did not murmur, but exhibited the utmost resolution to repulse the enemy at all hazards should he come. When the enemy fired his volleys into the woods where the men were posted, they did not throw away ammunition, but coolly reserved their fire until the enemy should get to close quarters, determined to make it a death struggle.

This commendation is equally due to Colonel Douglas and his officers and men, and the officers and men of the two batteries mentioned, as to my own brigade. After recrossing, my brigade, as well as that of General Lawton, was moved back to the vicinity of Jeffersonton to rest and cook rations.

movement upon the enemy's line of communication to the rear, and affairs at Bristoe Station and Manassas Junction.

Early on the morning of the twenty-fifth, the division moved, under orders from General Jackson, to Hinson's Mill, above Waterloo Bridge, where it crossed the Rappahannock, and then proceeded by Orlean and camped at night near Salem, in Fauquier County. Very early next morning it marched by Salem and through Thoroughfare Gap, in the direction of Gainesville, at which latter place it took the road to Bristoe Station, on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad. The division which on this day, as well as on the day before, was in the advance, moved as follows: First, Hays's brigade, under Colonel Forno; second, Trimble's brigade; third, Lawton's brigade; fourth, my own brigade.

Hays's brigade reached the station a short time

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A. R. Lawton (5)
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