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[403] remained to close up the command and keep in more ready communication with the rear. The brigade moving to Aldie, being much worn and the horses having had very little food, was halted by its commander near Dover to close up, and pickets sent forward to the Aldie gap; these pickets were soon attacked by the enemy's cavalry advancing from the direction of Fairfax, and were driven back on the main body, which took a position just west of Aldie, on a hill commanding the Snickersville road, but which was liable to be turned by the road to Middleburg. Simultaneously with this attack I was informed that a large force of the enemy's cavalry was advancing on Middleburg from the direction of Hopewell. Having only a few pickets and my staff here, I sent orders to Munford to look out for the road to Middleburg, as by the time my dispatch reached him the enemy would be in the place, and retiring myself towards Rector's cross-roads, I sent orders for Robertson to march without delay for Middleburg and Chambliss to take the Salem road to the same place.

At Aldie ensued one of the most sanguinary cavalry battles of the war, and at the same time most creditable to our arms and glorious to the veteran brigade of Brigadier-General Fitz. Lee. They fought most successfully, punishing the enemy with great severity, and maintaining their position till the dispatch received from me made it necessary to move farther back on account of the threatening attitude of the force at Middleburg. This brigade captured one hundred and thirty-four (134) prisoners, among whom were a colonel and captain, several stands of colors, together with horses, arms and equipments. A large number of the enemy's dead, including a colonel, was left on the field.

Brigadier-General Robertson arrived at Middleburg just at dark. I ordered him to attack the enemy at once, and with his two regiments he drove him handsomely out of the place and pursued him miles on the Hopewell road, the force appearing to scatter. He captured a standard and seventy (70) prisoners.

Chambliss' brigade, approaching from that direction, caught that night and early next morning one hundred and sixty (160) and several guidons — the colonel and a small detachment only escaping. It was the First Rhode Island cavalry. Horses, arms and equipments were captured in proportion. Among the captured were included a number of officers.

Our own loss in Robertson's brigade was slight, except Major McNeal, Sixty-third North Carolina cavalry, whose wound deprived

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Beverly Robertson (3)
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