War of the Rebellion: Serial 044 Page 0689 Chapter XXXIX. THE GETTYSBURG CAMPAIGN.

Search Civil War Official Records

Major Heros von Borcke, of my staff, being sent by me with the attacking column, behaved with his usual fine judgment and distinguished gallantry. Our loss in Fitz. Lee's brigade was heavier, as the fighting was more desperate and continued. His report, which I hope to forward with this, will state the casualties. We occupied Middleburg that night, and on the 18th took position around the place with Robertson's and W. H. F. Lee's brigades, and directed Firtz. Lee's brigade to take position at Union, on my left, while Jone's brigade was expected to arrive that day. The enemy soon made such encroachments on our left that I deemed it requisite to leave Middleburg out of my line of battle, keeping pickets, however, close to the enemy. Slight skirmishing continued. A general engagement of cavalry was not sought by me, because I preferred waiting for the arrival of the cavalry still in rear (Jones' and Hampton's brigades), and I confined my attention to procuring, through scouts and reconnoitering parties, information of the enemy's movements. In one of these, Major Mosby, with his usual daring, penetrated the enemy's lines, and caught a staff officer of General Hooker, bearer of dispatches to General Pleasonton, commanding United States cavalry near Aldie. These dispatches disclosed the fact that Hooker was looking to Aldie with solicitude; that Pleasonton, with infantry and cavalry, occupied the place, and that a reconnaissance in force, of cavalry, was meditated toward Warrenton and Culpeper. I immediately dispatched to General Hampton, who was coming by way of Warrenton from the direction of Beverly Ford, this intelligence, and directed him to meet this advance at Warrenton. The which we could estimate the approximate strength of the enemy's army. I therefore concluded in no event to attack with cavalry alone the enemy at Aldie. As long as he kept within supporting distance of his infantry at that point. my operation became necessarily defensive, but masking thereby the movement of our main body by checking the enemy's reconnaissance and by continually threatening attack. Hampton met the enemy's advance toward Culpeper, at Warrenten, and drove him back without difficulty, a heavy storm and night intervening to aid the enemy's retreat. On the 19th, the enemy showed signs of an advance, and our pickets beyond Middleburg were driven back upon the main body, composed of Robertson's and W. H. F. Lee's brigade, posted far enough west of cavalry, advanced, attacking with dismounted men deployed as infantry. This attack was met in the most determined manner by these two brigades, which rough roads had already decimated for want of adequate shoeing facilities, Chambliss commanding Lee's brigade upon the left and Robertson's on the right. Brigadier General Fitz. Lee's brigade in the meantime was occupied with the enemy on the Snickersville turnpike, opposite us. The enemy finally gained possession of a woodland in front of our line of battle, and while our brave men met and repelled every attempt to advance from it, yet our charges invariably brought us under a severe carbine fire from these woods, as well as a fire from the artillery beyond. Appreciating this difficulty, I withdrew my command to a more commanding position a half mile to the rear, where we possessed 44 R R - VOL XXXVII, PT II