force. I immediately sent a dispatch by signal, both to General Lee and Lieutenant-General Ewell, to the following effect:
General LEE and General EWELL:
Colonel Penn, commanding Hay's brigade, on picket at the bridge, reports the enemy advancing on him with infantry and cavalry in force. I shall move down at once.
And without awaiting orders, I directed my other brigades to get ready as quickly as possible and march to the bridge as rapidly as they could. The men were engaged at the time in building or making preparations for building huts, and the consequence was it required some time to get them together, though this was done with all the dispatch practicable.
I started to the river in advance of the brigades, and at Brandy Station received another dispatch from Colonel Penn, informing me that the enemy was still in line of battle in his front, and that a force was moving toward Kelly's Ford with a train of wagons and ambulances. I sent this dispatch to General Lee by Mr. Hairston, a volunteer aide, and at the same time sent my adjutant-general, Major Daniel, to meet General Ewell, who I was informed was coming up to Brandy, and communicate to him the contents of the dispatches I have received and my movements. Before reaching the river I was overtaken by General Lee, who had not received my dispatch by signal, though it reached General Ewell.
General Lee and myself proceeded together to the river, where we arrived about or a little after 3 o'clock. Crossing over myself to the position occupied by Colonel Penn, on the north of the river, I ascertained that a heavy force was in line something like a mile or more in front, and extending some distance both to the right and left. This force, preceded by a heavy line of skirmishers, was gradually, but slowly and very cautiously,moving up toward our position. Our skirmishers were then some distance out to the front and on the right and left, and the trenched were occupied by the remainder of Colonel Penns' force, which, however, was manifestly too small for the length of the works.
Green's battery of four guns occupied two works on the right of the pontoon bridge, one being an inclosed redoubt and the other an open work, consisting of a curtain with two short flanks or wings.
The works on the north side of the river were, in my judgment, very inadequate, and not judiciously laid out or constructed. They consisted of a rifle trench on the right, circling round to the river; then the inclosed redoubt spoken of, which was constructed by the enemy to be used against a force approaching on the south side, which had been turned, but sloped toward the enemy; then there was another short rifle trench, then the open work spoken of, the curtain and flanks of which were pierced with four embrasures near the angles, and with such narrow splays as to admit of a very limited fire.
It had been originally a lunette constructed by your troops, and the enemy had cut off the angle and filled up the ditches and constructed an epaulement, which operated as a curtain, connecting the two flanks, and was so arranged as to place guns en barbette on the side opposite to the river, and a trench was made on the side next to the river which prevented guns from being mounted en barbette on that side. The consequence was that it was of very little value, as the guns placed in the embrasures had very limited range, leaving dead angles at some of the most important points.