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[184] Brigade of Virginians; next, Davis' Mississippi Brigade: Fourth, Pettigrew's North Carolina Brigade. Archer's and Brockenbrough's Brigades each numbered 1,000 men, as many men were left on the road in the rapid march of A. P. Hill's Corps to overtake Longstreet, and pass him in Clarke county, Virginia, ours being the corps left to watch Hooker at Fredericksburg.

‘We must fight them.’

I was riding with my colonel, Robert M. Mayo, and with Colonel Brockenbrough, commanding brigade, and had reached a point one mile east of Cashtown, when a staff officer of General H. Heth's— I think it was Captain Stockton Heth, the General's brother—rode up to our two colonels, and talked a few moments as we marched along the road. I heard him say: ‘General Heth is ordered to move on Gettysburg, and fight or not as he wishes.’ When he rode away I remember Colonel Brockenbrough and Colonel Mayo saying: ‘We must fight them; no division general will turn back with such orders.’ We had proceeded very slowly, giving time for the whole division to form in the road and march, and had, at 9 o'clock A. M., reached only about one and a half or two miles east from Cashtown, when we passed over a long ridge and down into a broad, clean, open valley, with the pike leading gradually by open fields upwards to another long ridge, where some oak woods covered a large part of the crest on both sides of the road. We had begun to ascend this slope, when I noticed Archer's Brigade file to the right of the road and march by column of fours, or marching order, at right angles to the road. In a few moments Brockenbrough's Brigade filed out on the right about four to five hundred yards in rear of Archer's. While still marching, and without time to face into battle line, with guns unloaded, Archer's Brigade of 1,000 men were suddenly charged upon by Buford's Federal Cavalry, 2,500 strong, from the cover of the woods on the ridge. The attack was so sudden in front and both flanks that in a few moments I saw General Archer and two-thirds of his brigade captured with only a few pistol shots from the cavalry. One-third of the brigade fled back upon the line being formed by Brockenbrough's Virginians, and rallied behind them. Brockenbrough, also in marching order, ordered ‘left-face, load;’ then, unable to fire because of the flying Tennesseans, he back-stepped the brigade until in line with Davis' Brigade, then forming battle line on the left or north side of the Cashtown pike.

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