evident that the Confederate army had crossed the river and was pushing rapidly northward, and the regiment was recalled and joined in the movement northward.
The position of rear guard is always a wearisome one, because of the fact that the uncertainty of the movement of the troops ahead often leaves long distances between the different corps which must be closed by forced marching by those in the rear.
But in this case the disadvantage was increased by midnight start, in pouring rain, and dense darkness, lit only by vivid flashes of lightning with accompanying peals of thunder.
The roads were rendered difficult for both man and teams, and for two days the march was tedious and toilsome.
To quote again from Comrade Beckwith
, “Abandoned and burning camps along our line of march and the moving of the general field hospital, indicated a general movement, and our march was continued to Stafford Court House, to Dumfries
, thence to Fairfax Station.
Here a day's rest was very grateful to us, because we had been passing over ground which had been the continual scene of march, camp and battle, and had been stripped of everything that would sustain troops.
The roads were deep with the red-clay dust which created a choking thirst, as it rose in a thick cloud from the tread of the moving thousands of all arms.
Water that was fit to use was scarce, and difficult to obtain, and in consequence we suffered greatly.
To relieve ourselves we threw away all our baggage not necessary to existence.
The day's rest at Fairfax Station, and the rain of the night and early morning greatly refreshed us, so that on the 18th of June when we moved out again it was with lighter steps and more cheerful feelings.”
The march that day was only continued until noon and ended at Fairfax Court House, where a halt