in favor of Kilpatrick, who has not yet returned from his raid in the direction of Richmond. That the attention of the enemy has, to a considerable degree, been drawn to the left wing of Lee's army by Custer's demonstration, is confirmed by rebel prisoners, who report their officers to have been in a great state of trepidation, believing a monster raid in progress on their left. Confirmation is also had in the fact that a large number of troops were concentrated around Charlottesville to resist our advance. Among our captures are sixty prisoners and a number of valuable horses. Three flouring-mills, six caissons, two forges, a complete set of artillery-harness, and eight wagons loaded with commissary stores, were destroyed during the raid. Captain Paine, of the Topographical Engineers, accompanied the expedition for the purpose of making observations, and gained very important and valuable information appertaining to his department. We lost none in killed, and but ten or twelve wounded. We lost none in prisoners.
headquarters Second Rhode-Island volunteers, Brandy Station, March 8, 1864.On Friday evening, the twenty-sixth ultimo, our entire corps, the Sixth, together with the Third division of the Third, received orders to be prepared to move early on Saturday morning with five days rations and forty rounds of ammunition. All baggage, stores and tents were to be left, and the weak and sick were to remain as camp-guards. Already our pickets had been relieved by the First division of the Third corps, and the extra rations issued. We at once concluded that this was no false alarm. Saturday morning came, as bright and beautiful as ever winter saw. The roads were in splendid condition, the men in good trim, and all was propitious. Off we started at the appointed time, moving by way of Culpeper in the direction of Madison. James City, a point ten miles west of Culpeper, and sixteen miles from camp, was reached by half-past 4 P. M., and here we bivouacked for the night. The grassy plains and groves of pine around were fired, and the bands played their liveliest airs. The Sabbath dawned with promise, and the sun smiled propitiously as we moved forward to Robertson's River, which was reached by the advance at eleven A. M. Here the cavalry pickets of the enemy were met, but hastily betook themselves to the sunny side of the Rapid Ann. The Jersey brigade was pushed forward to Madison Court-House, two miles beyond the river, and our brigade thrown across to occupy the heights. The Second Rhode Island was put on picket. As upon the previous night, and all that day, large fires were built over extended tracts of country, and the bands, both at Madison and on the river, entertained the rebels resident thereabouts with national and other patriotic airs, played with full chorus and evident intention to be heard. That night at twelve, General Custer, with two brigades of cavalry and two pieces of artillery, started for Charlottesville by way of Barboursville. Charlottesville is thirty-three miles south-west of Madison. On the way a detached encampment of infantry and artillery was surprised, the camp was destroyed and seven caissons blown up. At a point about four miles north of Charlottesville a superior rebel force, consisting of one entire division of infantry, Stuart's and Fitz-Hugh Lee's cavalry, and twenty pieces of artillery was met, which permanently stopped further progress southward. After a brief engagement General Custer retreated on the Stannardsville road. Finding himself cut off at Stannardsville by a cavalry force sent out by the enemy for that purpose, only one means of escape offered, which was to cut his way out. This was immediately resolved upon and speedily and brilliantly executed, with the loss of five wounded. About twenty prisoners were here captured, and were brought in, the entire command reaching the infantry lines at Madison about four P. M. on Tuesday. The infantry were all immediately withdrawn to the north side of Robertson's River, and the south side left to the possession of the rebel cavalry who followed closely in small numbers without attempting to molest our rear. We started home again Wednesday morning, reaching our old camp at half-past 4 P. M. Hundreds of contrabands returned along with us, men, women and children, on horseback, in all conceivable sorts of vehicles, drawn by oxen, horses, or mules, as could be obtained for the purpose, or on foot where no conveyance offered. These were “goin norf by de grace of God,” having “been in de souf long enough now.” The ostensible purpose of the expedition was the destruction of military stores, of which Charlottesville is an extensive depot and the cutting of the railroads concentrating at that point. It succeeded only in destroying the camp and caissons, of which we spoke above, one large turnpike bridge, several flouring-mills with several hundred barrels of flour, and a few other manufactories of various kinds. But while this was the ostensible purpose, the whole character and manner of the move indicates that it was but a feint to draw attention and forces in this direction while other and more important movements are made elsewhere.
Washington, March 2, 1864.General Custer, with one thousand five hundred picked men, in light marching order, left Culpeper Court-House about two o'clock on Sunday afternoon. The Sixth and Third corps marched from their winter quarters earlier in the day. The former halted at Madison Court-House, and threw out a strong cordon of pickets, while the latter bivouacked in the neighborhood of James City, and held the line of Robertson's road. About two A. M., on Monday, the raiders left their resting place near James City, and took the road for Charlottesville. The men had been picked from Merritt's and