Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

Post image for Three Years in the Confederate Horse Artillery — George Michael Neese.

Three Years in the Confederate Horse Artillery — George Michael Neese.

August 20, 2012

Three Years in the Confederate Horse Artillery — George Michael Neese.

August 20 — This morning at three o’clock we renewed our march, and from all appearances through a poor country. At about nine o’clock we crossed the Rapidan at Mitchell’s Ford, which landed us in Culpeper County and in a beautiful level plain and good land. We marched on in a northeastern course, crossed the Culpeper and Fredericksburg road, and still pressed toward the Rappahannock. When we halted we were only about a mile from the Yankee lines. While we halted some of our cavalrymen brought in a few Yankee prisoners that had just been captured, who reported that the enemy was strongly posted not far ahead and was preparing to charge us; but these same prisoners lied.

However, on the strength of the report, General Stuart formed a line of battle in a beautiful level grassy field and splendid fighting ground for cavalry. Captain Pelham’s battery was in position on the right of the line.

There were about three thousand horsemen drawn up in line, all with drawn sabers, ready to receive a charge or make one. A glance over the field and along the battle line was at once grand, magnificent, and inspiring. Three thousand burnished sabers glittered in the sunlight, ready to be wielded by determined men whose steady and silent gaze to the front, where the enemy was supposed to lurk, pre-signified that every man was spellbound, fascinated, and inspired by the splendor of the sheen and the grandeur of the warlike martial array that was as gorgeous as a dress parade. Yet every man was ready and expecting to receive the shock of battle. We remained in battle line about two hours, waiting for the Yankee charge they did not make; and now I am confident that the Yankee prisoners wilfully lied to-day when they said that their cavalry was preparing to charge General Stuart’s in that particular locality, because the Yankee cavalry is not so awfully chargy when they find something a little dangerous to charge. After General Stuart found that the Yankee charge was a myth we were ordered to move up toward the Orange and Alexandria Railroad. In moving up we passed through a little hamlet called Stevensburg. When we passed there I saw some of General Hill’s infantry marching toward the Rappahannock. We struck the railroad a few miles below Culpeper Court House, then moved down the railroad to Brandy Station, which is about six miles below the Court House.

Our cavalry had a fight with the Yanks this afternoon, and repulsed them, below Brandy Station.

We fell back about three miles toward Culpeper Court House and camped for the night. The country around Brandy is beautiful. Looking east and south the land is as level as a lake.

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