War of the Rebellion: Serial 039 Page 1078 N.VA.,W.VA.,MD.,AND PA. Chapter XXXVII.

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the left-hand road and go to Stevensburg. On the day following I was to proceed to Culpeper Court-House, and devote my attention to the cavalry of the enemy and to the destruction of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, while the major-general commanding corps was to proceed with Buford's command to execute that portion of the original instructions which referred to operations in rear of the enemy's main body. I attacked the cavalry and artillery of the enemy half an hour after starting, and drove him until it was too dark to distinguish friend from foe.

From information received from a deserter, and from an intercepted dispatch, it was ascertained that Stuart's headquarters were at Brandy Station, and that he was awaiting our approach with his entire force, reported at four brigades, with fifteen pieces of artillery. Subsequent information confirmed the first report.

At 8.05 a.m. on the morning of the 30th, I received the inclosed dispatch from headquarters Cavalry Corps, marked C.* The infantry support referred to was, I suppose, the infantry division at Kelly's Ford. It was found, on arriving at Brandy Station, that Stuart had sent a part of his force, supposed to be two brigades, in the direction of Stevensburg, while the brigades of Fitzburgh and W. H. F. Lee had retired via Culpeper Court-House, at which place my division arrived at 11 a.m., driving, dispersing, and capturing the rear guard of the enemy. Sixty barrels of Confederate flour, a large amount of salt, bacon, &c., fell into barrels of Confederate flour, a large amount of salt, bacon, &c, fell into our hands. My provost-marshal was left with a small force to distribute what my men could not carry off among the suffering people of the town.

The enemy was pursued rapidly by Cedar Mountain toward the Rapidan. From all that could be learned from prisoners, contrabands, and citizens, it was believed that two brigades of the enemy's cavalry were flying before us. The Rapidan was represented as unfordable at the station, and, with the hope of getting the enemy between the stream and my forces, I pushed on until darkness and rain made farther progress impracticable. My advance reached the station, where it was ascertained that the for was practicable, and also the bridge, which had been planked over for the passage of the enemy's artillery. The brigade of Fitzburgh Lee had crossed above.

The enemy opened with artillery upon my advance from across the river, and harassed my pickets during the night with the fire of sharpshooters. All the intelligence we had been able to gather from a captured mail, and from various other sources, went to show that the enemy believed the Army of the Potomac was advancing over that line, and that Jackson was at Gordonsville with 25,000 men to resist its approach. He was reported to have been at Gordonsville the day before at 3 p.m. The information was collected and considered carefully, and deemed reliable and important. It was sent to Major-General Hooker about 11 p.m., April 30. At 6.30 p.m., that evening, I had received the inclosed dispatch, marked D,* from which it was evident I had anticipated the wishes of the major general commanding corps.

In the morning I sent scouting parties up and down the river. The enemy did the same on the opposite side. I found, upon reconnoitering the position, that the defenses of the enemy on the other side were strong and skillfully constructed. Nothing but a direct fire could be brought to bear upon their works from the north side. Their pits were filled with sharpshooters, who completely commanded the ford and bridge. They had four guns in position, of various calibers, which completely swept the open space on this side. It was my opinion at the


*See p.1075.