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[119]

The pickets were firing around their camp, and we could hear them giving orders.

When day began to break, we could see them moving out, and the General commenced firing into their camp with that gun, as fast as possible, and it got away from there in a hurry. From that time on we had some skirmishing until the general engagement commenced, near Yellow Tavern. The General kept me busy that day carrying orders. It was the hardest and hottest day's work I ever did. It was one of the hardest fought battles during the mar. I was told by one of our commanding officers—one who was in a position to know—that we fought about five to one against us. We did not have over 1,500 men in action, if that number; about 2,200 or 2,300, all told.

Fitz. Lee's division did the fighting. I did the hardest day's work and had more narrow escapes than I ever had on any battlefield during the war. I was in most of them. I was carrying orders for General Stuart the whole day in every direction across that battlefield, and came within a hair's breadth of being killed many times. General Stuart exposed himself very much. When I went with an order I always found him in a different place, when I returned to him. I saw no other courier, and never saw any of his staff with him, but always found him alone when I returned from carrying an order.

When I was not carrying orders I was riding over the battlefield with him. He went over the field very frequently by himself, and exposed himself very much. The last order I took from him that evening was to General Wickham, my brigadier-general. On my return I found him alone, between 4 and 5 o'clock (nearer 5 I suppose, judging from the sun), some distance in front of the Baltimore Light Infantry. He dismounted with his right arm through his bridle rein, holding his glasses to his eyes with both hands, looking across a field at the edge of a piece of woods some distance off, a half or three quarters of a mile or more.

I could see with the naked eye a body of men mounted near the woods, but could not tell what they were about. When I rode up to Stuart he took down his glasses and turned his head, and saw who it was. He said to me: ‘Sergeant, they are preparing yonder to charge this battery, and if I don't have a regiment mounted to meet them they will capture it. I want you to go and bring up the lead horses of the 1st regiment.’

I asked: ‘Where are they, General? I don't know where you ’


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