Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/138

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Southern Historical Society Papers.

lets. So desperately did Grant's men press their assaults that, as the gossip in our army was, a portion of our line faltered and was giving way when General Lee himself rode up, but his men made him go to the rear with cries of "Lee to the rear!" and they soon drove the enemy off.

The morning following this desperate battle and repulse of Grant, our cavalry, which had been only partially engaged, was put in motion and headed south toward Richmond. We in the ranks did not know what for, but as we became extended on the way south word came along the line that the Yankee cavalry had been despatched on a raid to Richmond, that city being, as it was supposed, but weakly defended. We were to follow up the Yankees and put them out of business before they got to Richmond. I will say here, to dispel any idea that we were worn down by Sheridan's troops, "hanging on us like a troop of wolves," that Stuart's cavalry was at that time in the best of condition. We were well clothed, well fed and well mounted. For many of our horses we were indebted to our friends the enemy, to whom we looked when in need. I myself was then on my third mount derived from that source.

I remember this march after Sheridan as a very pleasant one, our only fear being that he would get away, as usual. That we would not whip him if we caught up with him did not enter our minds. I remember that we pressed the rear so closely that in Louisa county we came on a detachment of the enemy. I being in the leading column joined in the pursuit with visions of a fresh mount; but alas! there were others who wanted those horses more than I did, and they were soon appropriated, while their riders were sent to the rear. As I remember, the enemy's cavalrymen were an insignificant looking set of men, but their horses and equipment were excellent. I would like to emphasize a fact not sufficiently dwelt on by the Southern historian: that is, the contempt in which Stuart's men held the Federal cavalrymen and the great respect the Southerners had for the horses and equipment of the enemy.

Our command n eared Richmond, and soon we knew from the booming of cannon that an engagement had begun between the two cavalry forces. Now, as to this engagement, I can say