captured by a mere handful of men. They were literally ‘in the dark’ about it, and believed themselves to have encountered the head of a column very much stronger than their own.
Scouts were sent out, and soon brought back the news that there was no picket now between the Federal
camp, only a few hundred yards distant, and ourselves, the captured detachment having evidently been on its way to picket this approach to General Kilpatrick
's cavalry camp.
The glad tidings were quickly dispatched to General Hampton
, who was in command of all our cavalry, and in the meantime our division was halted in the road in profound silence.
A few dismounted men were sent forward singly to secrete themselves along the roadside near the entrance of the Federal
camp, to be ready to noiselessly take chage of any one from there who might intend visiting their picket that night.
The consequence of all this was that we were to make a call next morning, as soon as there was light enough, upon General Kilpatrick
, dispensing with the formality of personal introductions, not even sending in our cards before our ‘surprise party’ should be with him to an early breakfast.
This, it was hoped, would induce him, ‘on hospitable thoughts intent,’ to give up his camp and as many of his men as he could spare to his enterprising guests; in short, his entire corps was to be wiped out before assistance could reach him from the infantry.
The night passed wearily enough as we sat huddled together in the mud among our sleepy horses, but at length the first faint light preceding the dawn was visible; then the command moved silently out of the wood and formed noiselessly on the road.
The rain had by this time ceased, but the atmosphere was so obscured by mist that one could hardly realize the night was ended, and found the range of vision very limited.
After some minutes a portion of the division, which was to lead in the attack, moved down the road on a slow walk in the direction of the Federal
camp, and halted just outside of it. Here a few words were addressed to the men by the General
in his quiet, clear, incisive voice, he looking, every inch of him, the beau ideal of a cavalier.
Then he galloped to the head of the column and his order—‘Follow me, men. Charge!’
rang out for friend and foe to hear.
In a moment the cavalrymen were dashing with a magnificent Confederate yell through Kilpatrick
All there were buried in the profound slumber of supposed security.
The sleepy camp