of hard-wood growth; there were grand old plantations of great extent, with ancestral manor house, the proprietor generally being absent.
There would be here and there a rude house upon the domain, occupied by a negro family, the head of which had passed the meridian of life.
The good wife would make a spread frequently for a knot of soldiers, at two and threepence a head, the boys patronizing the old dame for the sake of the then novel experience of sitting at table and looking at crockery in lieu of tinware.
The army now lay, principally, north of the north fork of the Rappahannock
, stretching from the plains crossed by the Alexandria and Orange Railroad, south of Warrenton Junction, through Fauquier Springs, west to the valley that lies at the west slope of the Blue Ridge
, and reaching back along the line of the railroad and the Warrenton pike
, toward Gainesville
The Confederate force lay south of the south fork of the Rappahannock
, between that stream and the Rapidan
, a part of their forces lying south of that river, and their front extending west to the Blue Ridge
Any flank movement at this time would be likely to be an attempt to march by our right, along the west base of the ridge, to Thoroughfare Gap and its vicinity, with the purpose of striking our railroad communications in the rear.
There was at this time a strong line of infantry and artillery ranged across the ridge three miles northwest of Sulphur Springs
; the guns of the artillery commanding the road that leads over Hedgeman's River, and generally guarding the approaches from the southwest, the main body of the infantry being upon the east slope of the ridge and reaching up to the crest.
Previous to the second week in August, the point on this ridge six or eight miles southwest of Warrenton
and three miles northwest of Sulphur Springs
, the most advanced artillery outpost on our right, was held by Company M, Fifth United States, which was then relieved by the First Massachusetts Battery.
On our left and rear, upon the crest of the ridge, was the Twenty-sixth Pennsylvania Regiment, and upon our right, our guns being pointed to the southwest, was the Sixth Vermont.
The anniversary of the organization of the former regiment occurred while we were on this service, and the occasion was celebrated by that command with such festivities as our brethren