War of the Rebellion: Serial 015 Page 0452 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

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I obtained information from our guide that the best and only place for us to stop for a short time to refresh ourselves and horses was the house of Richard Cunningham, the late headquarters of the Confederate Army, on the other side of the river, and about 1 1/2 miles distant from the river. We found the houses with some difficulty, as the night was very dark. We were obliged to leave our guide on the opposite side of the river. As he was quite infirm, and with a very small horse, I did not think it safe for him to cross the ford.

After obtaining the consent of the overseer, who resided about half a mile off, and who kindly went and assisted us by opening the house and out-buildings, we fed our horses, and took about three hours' rest ourselves, promiscuously on beds, sofas, lounges, easy chairs, and parlor floors of this well-furnished mansion, and, with very much credit to our officers and men, not a dollar's worth of property was destroyed. I found the overseer of this place to be a very intelligent, well-informed man. His name was Wiltshire. I derived valuable information from him as to the geography of the county of Culpeper, and also much valuable information of the stregth of the enemy whilst located there.

Generals Ewell, Taylor, Trimble, and Elzey were in command of the army there. They left there Saturday night, the 19th of April, three days after they were shelled by us from this side of the river. We did them some damage at that time by destroying their magazine, which injured quite a number dangerously by burning, and report said three killed. Their earthworks were 2 miles below their headquarters, and near the railroad bridge, which they destroyed when they retreated from Manassas. Their encampment was 1 mile back from their earthworks, on the high lands in the skirt of a woods. Stuart's Black Horse Cavalry did picket duty for some days after the main body left. They then left for Yorktown, as a Mr. Horace Barber informed Wiltshire. This Barber was a merchant at the railroad bridge, and belonged to that cavalry.

After resting three hours we formed our line and resumed our march, with Wiltshire as our guide. We changed our course, by the advice of our guide, from the main road, which went through a wood and low land, and directed our course south to a range of high lands, 1 1/2 miles distant, where the enemy had recently left. From here we had a very fine view of the river and railroad as well as of the surrounding country on our right and left, thus having a position not to be surprised by the enemy in front or from the right nor to prevent a retreat if obliged to make one, as we had the river and railroad immediately on our left. We then moved forward toward Brandy (a little place with railroad station), 5 miles ahead, and although the country was generally very open, we had thrown out a company of skirmishers and a formidable rear guard, which covered the country for more than 1 1/2 miles.

The attention of the line was called at one time to what was supposed to be a line of army wagons, about 1 mile distant, but proved to be only a herd of white oxen.

The general appearance of the country in this direction is very favorable, gently rolling, open, highly cultivated, and fruitful, rich plantations, with an abundance of forage and subsistence. Vegetation much more forward than in Fauquier County about Warrenton. After crossing the river we found no road leading in the direction of the enemy south and on our left until we arrived at Brandy. Here are the remains of an old plank road of 7 miles' length, connecting with a plank road running from Fredericksburg to Culpeper and so on to Orange Court-House. This branch road is hardly ever used, and of no