While a portion of our column was upon the bridge, we were brought to a halt in the pitchy, inky darkness, which rendered it impossible to see the sides of the bridge, or to peer ahead to note the movements of the leading teams.
Some pontoons near the north bank had become separated.
There is a swaying of the floating mass of boats, a period of anxious suspense for those upon the driveway.
There is an adjustment of the difficulty by the engineers, and we move on, climb the bank, cross the plain, and ascend the heights on the north side.
There in the woods and open patches, among them and beyond the brow of the hills, the army coiled itself as it crawled from the river, similarly as it wound its folds together on the same ground preparatory to springing across the river five days ago.
In the forenoon, when our retreat and safe return to Stafford Heights
was apparent to the enemy, he began to fire over, perhaps hoping to do some damage to the rear of our force, portions of which he could doubtless discern upon the brow of the heights, and in the edge of the woods.
Our heavy artillery along the ridge, which had been more or less active on the 13th, responded in such a way that the tail of the retreat was pretty effectually covered, little if any loss resulting, beyond the expenditure of ammunition by our heavy guns.
Gradually, during the two following days, the grand division was brought into the position it was destined to occupy in winter cantonment, the heart of the force being drawn back, perhaps two miles from the brow of Stafford Heights
, facing the river.
The First Corps was upon the left, the Sixth on its right, and nearer Falmouth
, the First Division of the Sixth lying around White Oak church.