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[406] as was in my power, to devote it to rest; not so with the enemy, whose guns about 8 A. M. showed that he would not observe it. Had I attacked the enemy, I would have encountered, besides his cavalry, a heavy force of infantry and artillery, and the result would have been disastrous, no doubt.

Hampton's and Robertson's brigades were moved to the front to a position previously chosen, of great strength against a force of ordinary size, or against cavalry alone; but although the enemy's advance was held in check gallantly and decidedly for a long time, it soon became evident that the enemy, utterly foiled for days in his attempt to force our lines, had, as usual, brought a heavy infantry force — part of the Fifth corps, under General Vincent--to his support, and its advance was already engaged in conjunction with the cavalry. I, therefore, directed General Hampton to withdraw to the next height whenever his position was hard pressed, and sent orders at once to Colonel Chambliss and General Jones--the former having informed me that the enemy was advancing in heavy force in his front — to afford all the resistance possible, and General Jones to join his left, and retiring apace with the main body, to effect a junction with it at Upperville, where I proposed to make a more determined stand than was compatible with our forces divided. The commands were from four to six miles apart.

In retiring from the first position before Middleburg, one of the pieces of Captain Hart's battery of horse artillery had the axle broken by one of the enemy's shot, and the piece had to be abandoned, which is the first piece of my horse artillery which has ever fallen into the enemy's hands. Its full value was paid in the slaughter it made in the enemy's ranks, and it was well sold.

The next position was on the west bank of Goose creek, whence, after receiving the enemy's attack and after repulsing him with slaughter, I again withdrew in echelon of regiments, in plain view and under fire of the enemy's guns. Nothing could exceed the coolness and self-possession of officers and men in these movements — performing evolutions with a precision under fire that must have wrung the tribute of admiration from the enemy even, who dared not trust his cavalry unsupported to the sabres of such men. In the meantime, Jones' and W. H. F. Lee's brigades were hotly engaged with another column of the enemy (moving parallel to this), and were gradually retiring towards Upperville; before reaching which point, however, the enemy had pressed closely up so as to render an attempt to effect a junction at Upperville hazardous

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