November 2d. Early in the morning the pickets reported clouds of dust advancing towards the Gap, which at once brought out our field glasses, to scan the magnificent valley lying at our feet. We saw the clouds of dust, and soon made out a column of infantry advancing, and from their formation, they evidently expected to find the Gap unoccupied. When they came within artillery range, Pettit opened fire with his two ten pounder Parrots, and to our astonishment, dropped his first shells immediately in front of them. I noted the flight of the shells from a position kneeling alongside one of the guns, and could easily trace its flight from beginning to end. He calculated the distance at about a mile, and we were not a little proud of Pettit’s wonderful skill in judging distances. The rebel column promptly disappeared under cover of some friendly woods. At five o’clock much to our disgust, we were relieved by the brigade of regulars from Sykes’s division. I remained on the top of the mountain to point out the position of the picket line, and while waiting for the fresh troops to come up, dismounted, and lay down on the sweet, short grass, green as emerald, and enjoyed a charming little reverie entirely alone, without a human being in sight.
We enjoyed life on the mountain top, and were loath to descend, but not being our own masters have to take what is set before us. Headquarters are established in a small house by the road side, just at the base of the mountain. There are two fine young women, who with the entire family sit down with us to eat, our mess furnishing the cooks, and the food, and the house the appointments. The ladies are rebellious, but fond of attention, and so we have a good deal of fun.