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

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

August 12 — Last night the infantry were all ordered to make camp-fires, and just after dark a thousand bright beacons blazed over the plains and along the hillsides all around our camp, yet I thought it strange that so many fires were necessary on a hot and sultry August night so soon after nightfall. Jackson’s infantry began to move back toward the Rapidan soon after the camp-fires were in full blaze, and of the thousands of troops that were camped around us when we lay down to sleep last night not a single man was in sight this morning when we awoke, and the camp-fires were all dead. The camp-fire business last night was some of old Stonewall’s sleight-of-hand performances, and the fire trick was a sort of transformation exeunt scene — now you see it and now you do not — for the special benefit and amusement of General Pope.

Early this morning we moved to General Robinson’s headquarters, which was about a quarter of a mile from where we camped. We remained there in an orchard an hour, when the first gun was ordered out to check some Yankee infantry that were seen advancing. We had moved Yankeeward with the first piece but a short distance when the Yanks halted, spied our gun and saw that we meant business, then about-faced and left the patch.

We remained in the road about half an hour to see whether the Yankees had anything else that they intended to try soon, but it seems that they were satisfied for the time being, and were willing to settle down.

We returned to Robinson’s headquarters, and soon after took up the line of march for Orange Court House, but before we left I saw a Yankee line of battle formed nearly at the same place where Pope had his line on the 9th.

General Pope received heavy reinforcements since the recent battle, and I suppose he was ready cocked and primed to-day to receive a charge from Jackson’s campfires that he (Pope) saw last night, for when he formed his line of battle this forenoon Jackson was on the safe side of the Robinson River with all his movables except the ashes of his fires.

As we slowly fell back a few Yankee cavalrymen followed us at a safe distance, until we crossed the Robinson, when we went in battery and waited a while for the Yanks to come in range, but they saw the preparation we had made for their special reception and heedfully concluded not to venture within reach of our guns. We then limbered up and renewed our march unmolested. Before we got to the Rapidan a heavy thunder-shower that drenched us to the skin poured water all over us. It even washed out my haversack.

We forded the Rapidan at Madison Mills and moved one mile south of Orange Court House, where we are camped this evening. Jackson’s whole army is on the south side of the Rapidan.