Arrival at Culpeper Courthouse.
After nine miles more of spurring and splashing I ran into James City
, where I changed to a tall, gaunt roan that carried me valiantly the eleven miles to Culpeper Courthouse.
As I approached the town there was a suspicion of light in the direction of dawn, and the rain had partially worn itself out. In all directions I heard the drums of an early reveille and encountered a group of horsemen sitting on their horses in the gloaming.
I found it was General Dick Taylor
and his staff of Ewell
Learning that he was ordered to march, and evidently in the wrong direction, I suggested to him that he should not move until he heard from General Ewell
, who, he said, was encamped beyond Brandy Station
. One of the staff kindly offered me a fresh horse, and General Taylor
ordered a courier to lead the way and ‘ride like the devil.’
This the courier did, and so did I, but as I had been doing that thing all night it was no novelty to me. We rushed along like a pair of John Gilpins
, and as it never seemed to occur to my guide that I might be nearly worn out I didn't mention it.
But we soon made the six miles to Brandy Station
After several miles more we drew rein at the General
's quarters, just as I was beginning to be exhausted beyond endurance.
The General was just up, and I dismounted and handed him the crumpled and saturated dispatch.
He read it, and quickly turning to me he said: ‘You don't say—’ But the sentence was not finished.
Seeing me totter and about to fall, he caught me, led me to a cot and laid me there; and then the dear, rough old soldier made the air blue with orders for brandy and coffee and breakfast—not for himself, but for me.