Three hours later the stars still gleamed down through the balmy night above the long westward-galloping column of our brigade, that for those three hours had not slackened from the one unmitigated speed. The Federal regiment of whose plans Charlotte had apprised Ferry had been camped well to southward of this course, but in the day just past they had marched to the north, intending a raid around our right and into our rear. To-night they were resting in a wide natural meadow through the middle of which ran this road we were on. Around the southern edge of this inviting camp-ground by a considerable stream of water; the northern side was on rising ground and skirted by woods, and in these woods as day began to break stood our brigade, its presence utterly unsuspected in all that beautiful meadow whitened over with lane upon lane of the tents of the regiment of Federal cavalry, whose pickets we had already silently surprised and captured. Now, as warily as quails, we moved along an unused, woodcutters' road and began to trot up a gentle slope beyond whose crest the forest sank to the meadow. We were within a few yards of this crest, when a small mounted patrol came up from the other side, stood an instant profiled against the sky, bent low, gazed, wheeled and vanished..