and to delay his progress while our army was changing its position, so as to confront him on the Rappahannock.
At this time General Longstreet was moving his corps by way of Front Royal to Culpeper. Jones' brigade was left to bring up Jackson's rear in the valley, while Hampton's brigade, then in the vicinity of Martinsburg, was ordered to join me near Upperville by November 3.
I crossed with Fitz. Lee's brigade, under Colonel Williams C. Wickham (Brigadier General Fitz. Lee having been disabled), and sic pieces of the Stuart Horse Artillery, under Major John Pelham, at Castleman's Ferry and Snicker's Gap. This brigade had been much diminished and its efficiency greatly impaired by the "greased heel" and sore tongue, at that time prevailing among the horses, and some of the regiments scarcely numbered 100 men for duty, the aggregate of the brigade for duty being less than 1,000. Proceeding in the direction of Middlesburg, I bivouacked that night near Bloomfield.
Having ascertained during the night that there was a force of the enemy at Mountville, where the Snickersville turnpike crosses Goose Creek, I started on the morning of the 31st with the command for that point. Pursuing an unfrequented road, I succeeded in surprising the enemy, who were in force of about 100, and dispersing the whole without difficulty; killed and captured nearly the whole number, among the former Captain Gove, of the First Rhode Island Cavalry. The attack was made by the Ninth Virginia, in advance, supported by the Third, which last continued the pursuit of the fugitives several miles, to Aldie. Here, the enemy being in force, the Third Virginia retired to the hill overlooking the lawn until re-enforced by the rest of the command The Fourth Virginia, now in advance, pushed on toward the village, meeting midway a column of the enemy charging up the lane. After a brief and fierce conflict, the leading squadron of the enemy was put to flight, and driven pell-mell down the narrow lane upon the next squadron, which was moving up at a gallop. The collision between these two bodies resulted in serious damage to both, and the whole was soon put to flight and driven into the village. The enemy's artillery, which crowned the heights adjoining the village, now opened upon our advancing columns, and compelled us to discontinue the pursuit. Our pursuit had been too rapid for the artillery to keep pace, but it finally came up, and was put in position on the heights overlooking the village, and opened a destructive fire upon the enemy, compelling him to abandon his position. At this time I was deterred from further attack by information that the enemy was advancing from the direction of Mountville, which I had just left, and which was completely in my rear. I therefore retired just at dark, by way of Middleburg, to a point a few miles beyond that place, where we encamped for the night.
It was subsequently ascertained that General Bayard was in command of the enemy's forces, and that they retreated, without halting, to Fairfax Court-House, and that the reported advance from Mountville was a mistake.
The enemy suffered heavily in killed and wounded. Our own loss was very slight. In the camp captured at Mountville several flags, numbers of saddles, valises, blankets, oil-cloths, and other valuable articles were captured, which the enemy had abandoned in their hasty flight.
During November 1, a portion of my command being near Union, a point midway between the two turnpikes, it was ascertained that the enemy was advancing from the direction of Leesburg and debouching upon the turnpike at Philomont, a few miles above Mountville. Our