During this day's operations, I held such a position as not only to render Ewell's left entirely secure, where the firing of my command, mistaken for that of the enemy, caused some apprehension, but commanded a view of the routes leading to the enemy's rear. Had the enemy's main body been dislodged, as was confidently hoped and expected, I was in precisely the right position to discover it and improve the opportunity. I watched keenly and anxiously the indications in his rear for that purpose, while in the attack which I intended (which was forestalled by our troops being exposed to view), his cavalry would have separated from the main body, and gave promise of solid results and advantages. After dark, I directed a withdrawal to the York road, as our position was so far advanced as to make it hazardous at night, on account of the proximity of the enemy's infantry. During the night of July 3, the commanding general withdrew the main body to the ridges west of Gettysburg, and sent word to me to that effect, but his messenger missed me. I repaired to his headquarters during the latter part of the night, and received instructions as to the new line, and sent, in compliance therewith, a brigade (Fitz. Lee's) to Cashtown, to protect our trains congregated there. My cavalry and artillery were somewhat jeopardized before I got back to my command by the enemy having occupied our late ground before my command could be notified of the change. None, however, were either lost or captured. During the 4th, which was quite rainy, written instructions were received from the commanding general as to the order of march back to the Potomac, to be undertaken at nightfall. In this order two brigades of cavalry (Baker's and Hampton's*) were ordered to move, as heretofore stated, by way of Cashtown, guarding that flank, bringing up the rear on the road, via Greenwood, to Williamsport, which was the route designated for the main portion of the wagon trains and ambulances, under the special charge of Brigadier-General Imboden, who had a mixed command of artillery, infantry, and cavalry (his own). Previous to these instructions, I had, at the instance of the commanding general, instructed Brigadier-General Robertson, whose two brigades (his own and Jones) were now on the right, near Fairfield, Pa., that it was essentially necessary for him to hold the Jack Mountain passes. These included two prominent roads - the one north and the other south of Jack Mountain, which is a sort of peak in the Blue Ridge chain. In the order of march (retrograde), one corps (Hill's) preceded everything through the mountain; the baggage and prisoners of war escorted by another corps. Longstreet's occupied the center, and the third (Ewell's) brought up the rear. The cavalry was disposed of as follows: Two brigades on the Cashtown road, under General Fitz. Lee, and the remainder (Jenkins' and Chambliss'), under my immediate command, was directed to proceed by way of Emmitsburg, Md., so as to guard the other flank. I dispatched Captain [W. W.] Blackford, Corps of Engineers, to General Robertson, to inform him of my movement, and direct his co-operation, as Emmitsburg was in his immediate front, and was probably occupied by the enemy's cavalry. It was dark before I had passed the extreme right of our line, and, having to pass through
*Reference is to Fitz. Lee's and Hampton's brigades, the latter commanded by Colonel L. S. Baker after Hampton was wounded.