went forward as guide, and I followed him with the brigade and the Fourth Alabama Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel [L. H.] Scruggs. The route was so well chosen that we passed through the enemy's picket line, and got near enough to the road in their rear to command it before they discovered us.
Before fire was opened, Captain [J. B.] Newell, Second Georgia, commanding the skirmishers, reported to me a battery considerably on my right, just across the road, in a field. I moved to the right in the woods to get near it, and seize it before it could run back. The wood was thick. I got the right of the brigade opposite the battery, and then ordered and advance in line of battle. When the line emerged from the wood, the battery was gone. It had run back the way it came, having found out our presence by the fire which had opened between their skirmishers and ours. Our line fired upon such of the enemy as were in sight. Those of the latter who were not disabled fled in confusion to the opposite wood, where, on the left, was another battery, as I had just learned by its fire. The road, I found when the line reached it, a good place for protection against this battery, and also for assailing the cavalry on their expected retreat. I therefore halted in it. I now thought we had their cannon and cavalry secured. I had been assured by Lieutenant Stanard, as well as by citizens, that there was no practicable way to Amissville excepting this road occupied by the brigade, all others being excluded by the mountain and its spurs. They were mistaken. The enemy found another road nearer to the mountain, and by it escaped with their artillery and most of their cavalry. We took a few of them prisoners, and killed and wounded more.
As soon as it was clear that the enemy had retreated, at the suggestion of General Hill, I returned to the ford, and resumed the march, the command having spent four hours, marched at least 4 miles over very difficult ground, and fought a brisk fight with cavalry and artillery in the detour.
Such was the part contributed by the brigade and the Fourth and Fifteenth Alabama to the defeat of a well-laid plan of the enemy, organized on rather a large scale, to impede the march and cut off the trains of a large part of our army. They must have had two, if not three, brigades of cavalry and two or three batteries of artillery.
This, major, is a much longer report than I would have had it to be, but, under the order requiring it, I do not see how it could have been shorter. Indeed, I have omitted some things showing the arduousness of the long march, which are, perhaps, called for by the order.
I must, in closing, ask leave to pay a tribute to the merit of the brigade in that respect. There was no straggling to speak of, either on the advance or the return. The rolls when we arrived at Gettysburg showed almost the same number which they showed when we left Culpeper Court-House; so they showed on our return to Culpeper Court-House; so they showed on our return to Culpeper Court-House almost the same number which they showed when we left Gettysburg.
I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HENRY L. BENNING,
Major W. H. SELLERS,