War of the Rebellion: Serial 015 Page 0454 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

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Culpeper, for two regiments of infantry which were stationed there. I afterward obtained the same information from various other sources, satisfying me of its reliability. He also said that the rebels mounted the horses without regard to ownership, and very many without stopping to saddle them. I also learned from this and other sources that they had two companies of cavalry stationed here, one of 120, the other 80, mounted, with sabers, pistols, and carbines, which made their force, with the addition of carbines, nearly equal to ours.

In view of the fact that the Rapidan was only 8 miles above us, on the line of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, running parallel with the road we came in on clear back to the river and frequently crossing it, I considered our situation quite critical. Not having heard from Captain Taylor's skirmishers since he first saw the picket on retreat and the two companies who went to cover him if in town, I had fears that the enemy had taken him, with his command. I immediately left the column and proceeded to the headquarters of the enemy at the Court-House, where the two companies sent forward last had just arrived, but with no tidings of Captain Taylor. Some said they saw him pursuing the rebels up the line of railroad; others saw him in other directions. I then went to their stables, thinking, perhaps, that we might find some spare horses. None were left at the upper stables, and proceeding through the village to some yards where it was said they had some horses, my attention was called by quite a number of our officers to a force of cavalry on the south side of the town. They were trying observe through their glasses who we were. We were in hopes that it might be Captain Taylor, but all pronounced it not, as this force had light-colored horses and some of it light clothing. To be sure of the fact that it was not Captain Taylor I sent Captain Smith, of Company D, and Lieutenant Stevens, of Company F, to approach as near as possible with safety to ascertain for a certainty. I then proceeded with Lieutenant Virgin, of Company G, to the yards for the rebels, and had not gone far when Captain Smith and Lieutenant Stevens reported that it was not Captain Taylor. Immediately Captain Burbank came and informed me that the enemy's force, as we supposed, were approaching our right. In view of the fact that they had carbines and we had not, and that our only way to meet them was to form a line of battle on the hill from our rear, as we could not possibly form a line in the village, as the streets were very crooked, narrow, and muddy, I ordered the adjutant to go to the rear and change the direction of our column, which was done in good order, and proceeded to go back onto the ridge to form a line of battle. From this position we were near and in sight of the railroad, which if the infantry should come down on we could easily take up the track, and thus save our retreat, not fearing their cavalry, as we could charge them from any direction at this point. Our rear had reached the hill and a part of the column had turned into the field to form a line, when I, on returning to the right, met an orderly from Captain Taylor, stating that Captain Taylor had taken some prisoners, and wished to know what to do with them, thus solving the problem. The supposed enemy was only Captain Taylor. The prisoners' horses, some of them, being light colored, and the men differently dressed, had deceived us all.

Captain Taylor's horses were all dark color. Not having heard from him for more than one hour, and believing that he had no means of knowing that there was a reserved force of infantry at the Rapidan and that sent for, which might possibly cut him off from us, we were all very much rejoiced to see him safely back, more especially as his acts proved that he had discharged his duty so nobly. He brought with