Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 26.djvu/372
362 Koiitlit rn llistnri<-<il Sorn'/i/
history to-day know anything of the cavalry fight at Fleetwood, six miles from Culpeper Courthouse, June gth, 1863, where twenty thousand horsemen were engaged from early in the morning until nightfall ? Many men are living now who witnessed the great page- ant, and saw the " pomp and circumstance " of war in the review of ten thousand horsemen by General R. E. Lee on the lovely fields of Culpeper the 8th of June, 1863. Many a young man in the flush and vigor of manhood, rode proudly past the commanding general that day, who, before another day's sun had sunk behind the western hills, was sleeping his last sleep, having fought his last battle.
The survivor's of Stuart's cavalry can never forget these two days of their history. The splendid scenery around Brandy Station; the broad fields clothed in green; the long lines of troopers, marching by fours, on every road leading to the place of rendezvous, and forming into squadrons and regiments and brigades, under the eye of Stuart and General R. E. Lee; the review; and then the return to camp and one more night's rest before the bloody encounter of the gth. The memories of that day of carnage and death; the charge and counter-charge; the shouts of victory; the hasty retreat when columns were broken; the re-tormation and renewed attack; the quick death of some and the dying groans of others; the ghastly wounds all these come before the mind's eye as memory recalls the scene. On this day, when the cavalry was so successfully resisting Pleasanton's reconnoisance in force to ascertain the position of our army, then moving through the village of Culpeper Courthouse on the Gettysburg campaign, General Lee was near Culpeper, and wrote these touching lines to Mrs. Lee: "I reviewed the cavalry in this section yesterday. It was a splendid sight. The men and horses looked well. They had recuperated since last fall. Stuart was in all hi3 glory. The country here looks very green and pretty, notwithstanding the ravages of war. What a beautiful world God, in his loving kindness to his creatures, has given us. What a shame that men, endowed with reason and a knowledge of right, should mar his gifts."
The forces engaged in the battle of "Fleetwood" consisted, on the Federal side, of three divisions of cavalry twenty-four regi- ments and two brigades of infantry, consisting of ten regiments, numbering in all nearly 1 1,000 men. All of these, save Russell's infantry, were engaged in battle. On the Confederate side there were five brigades of cavalry, containing twenty-one regiments, the whole numbering 9,500 men. Robinson's brigade was not engaged