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[48] threw forward a small force of infantry and cavalry and established strong pickets at Mason's and Munson's Hills, in close proximity to the enemy's main line on the south of the Potomac.

McClellan had succeeded McDowell, in command of the Federal Army opposed to us, and that army was being greatly augmented by new levies.

A few days after I reached my camp in front of Wolf Run Shoals, my brigade was ordered to Fairfax Station, for the purpose of supporting Longstreet, if necessary. After being there a day, I was ordered by General Longstreet to move with two of my regiments to Mason's Hill, to relieve one of his on duty at that place. I took with me the 24th Virginia and 5th North Carolina Regiments, and my movement was so timed as to reach Mason's Hill in the night. I arrived there before light on the morning of the 31st of August, and relieved the 17th Regiment, Colonel Corse. About light on that morning, one of Colonel Corse's companies, which was on picket one mile from the main force in the direction of Alexandria, was attacked by a detachment from a New Jersey regiment, under its colonel, and after a very sharp fight, repulsed the enemy and inflicted a severe punishment on him.

This advanced line at Mason's and Munson's Hills was about twelve or fifteen miles in front of Fairfax Court-House, and was a mere picket line held ordinarily by two infantry regiments with a few pieces of artillery, while a small force of cavalry watched the flanks. From it there were in full view the dome of the Capitol at Washington and a part of the enemy's line on the heights south and west of Alexandria. The two main positions were in sight of each other and about a mile apart. From them smaller pickets were thrown out in front and up to within a very short distance of large bodies of the enemy, those from Mason's Hill being in some cases more than a mile from the main body. The pickets were constantly skirmishing with those of the

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