consequence. On our right, after leaving the Huntington house, is a large brick house, which is owned by a surgeon in the rebel army. The next large plantation on the right abounds with forage and subsistence, which is a fair representation of all the plantations from the river to Brandy.
From all the information I could obtain the strength of the enemy on the Rappahannock fell back to Gordonsville, and there has been no force this side of there of any great amount. The planters on our route, as near as I could judge, are nearly all secesh, and a little bleeding would reduce their fever a little and do them good.
After proceeding beyond Brandy the general appearance of the country is about the same as before described, quite as favorable; the inhabitants likewise, with some noble exceptions. I considered the information I received from the negroes and poor whites very reliable, and they all tell the same story, and are very willing to communicate all the information they are in possession of. After proceeding beyond Brandy about 2 miles we began to obtain information that a line of pickets was established about 3 1/2 miles this side of Culpeper Court-House and about 2 miles ahead of us. We first obtained this information from a very intelligent negro, next from whites, both oversees out on plantations that owners had left and were in the Army of the Confederate States. I next met an intelligent citizen, who came from the Court-House the night before, and was obliged to procure a pass from the post captain, whose name is Watts. This pass he gave me, and is attached to this report. He informed me the line of picket was 3 1/2 miles out of the village and about 1 mile ahead, and also that the force in the village was two companies of cavalry, one od 120 and the other 80. I was also informed that all their cavalry had carbines.
After leaving this man opposite the residence of James Barber, who had left and was in the army, we proceeded toward the Court-House. After going about 1 mile Captain Taylor, whose command was acting as skirmishers ahead, sent an orderly back to inform me that the pickets were discovered, and were running in rapidly on the line of railroad, and that Captain Taylor was in pursuit of them. I immediately ordered the column forward as fast as possible, considering the badness of the roads, which in places were very bad, and grew worse as we approached nearer the town. On arriving within a half mile of the town with the right of our column I sent the right squadron forward to cover Captain Taylor. This, however, was after I had sent a non-commissioned officer and 4 men onto a knoll in view of the town to make such discoveries as they could. They reported that they could see horses being driven into a yard. Captain Smith was then sent forward, and in ten minutes I sent forward another sqaudron. Not having heard from either Captain Taylor or Captain Smith, I did not consider it advisable to move the whole column in at once, not knowing the strength or position of the enemy. The extreme left of our column was out of the village three-quarters of a mile, on an eminence west of the railroad, where we could fall back if necessary and from a line of battle. I here met a young man by the name of Bakham, who resides 6 miles this side of the village. He was a very good Union man, and seemed very much pleased with the idea of Union troops coming forward; said the enemy tried very hard to have his father go with them, but he would not; said our men and horses were much superior to theirs. He was in the village when the news came by one of their pickets that we were approaching the village. He said it great excitement. They immediately sent two couriers to the Rapidan, some 8 miles beyond