Sunday, October 11, 1863
The Twentieth Massachusetts Regiment had been deployed near Culpeper since October 5, and at 3:00 this morning had received orders from General Meade to fall back to the Rappahannock River. The retreat proved to be a dangerous one, as the men stumbled in the darkness, falling into ditches soaked with mud and water from recent rains. In order to find their way they lit torches and bonfires which erupted into spontaneous flames in the woods. They eventually found their way back to rejoin the Second Corps near Bealton Station, enduring a treacherous forced march covering eighteen miles in thirteen hours.1
1Richard F. Miller, Harvard's Civil War: A History of the Twentieth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry (Lebanon, New Hampshire: University Press of New England, 2005), 292.