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the enemy to know, and persistent efforts were made by them to strike the Confederate flank and discover. Stuart was, however, in the way with his cavalry. The road to the Blue Ridge was obstructed; and somewhere near Middleburg, Upperville, or Paris, the advancing column would find the wary cavalier. Then took place an obstinate, often desperate struggle — on Stuart's part to hold his ground; on the enemy's part to break through the cordon. Crack troops-infantry, cavalry, and artillery — s a scratch. On all the great battle-fields of Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, as well as in the close and bitter conflicts of his cavalry at Fleetwood, Auburn, Upperville, Middleburg, South Mountain, Monocacy, Williamsport, Shepherdstown, Paris, Barbee's, Jeffersonton, Culpeper Court-House, Brandy, Kelly's Ford, Spotsylvania — in these, and a hundred other hotly-contested actions, he was in the very thickest of the fight, cheering on the sharpshooters, directing his artillery, or leadin<
d falling rapidly back on the left, thus exposing the main body to imminent danger of being cut off, when the Deus ex machind appeared in the person of Wade Hampton. That good cavalier saw the crisis, formed his column under the heavy fire, and taking command in person, went at them with the sabre, scarcely firing a shot. The result was that the Federal line was swept back, the elite of the charging force put hors du combat by the edge of the sabre, and the Southern column fell back toward Paris, in the mouth of Ashby's Gap, without further difficulty. The enemy had accomplished their object, and they had not accomplished it. Stuart was forced to retire, but they had not succeeded in penetrating to the Ridge. No doubt the presence of infantry there was discovered or suspected, but otherwise the great reconnoissance was unproductive of substantial results. On the same night they retired. Stuart followed them at dawn with his whole force; and by mid-day he was in possession
ours, and was about to pass over the very same ground almost without allowing him any rest. I galloped on toward Thoroughfare. My bay moved splendidly, and did not seem at all fatigued. He was moving with head up, and pulling at the rein. Good! My gallant bay! I said; if you go on at that rate we'll soon be there! I had not counted on the heat of the July weather, however; and when I got near Salem my bay began to flag a little. I pushed him with the spur, and hurried on. Near Paris he began to wheeze; but I pushed on, using the spur freely, and drove him up the mountain road, and along the gap to the river. This we forded, and in the midst of the terrible heat I hurried on over the turnpike. My bay had begun to pant and stagger at times; but there was no time to think of his condition. I had undertaken to deliver General Beauregard's message; and I must do so, on horseback or on foot, without loss of time. I dug the spur into my panting animal and rushed on.
John Esten Cooke, Wearing of the Gray: Being Personal Portraits, Scenes, and Adventures of War., A fight, a dead man, and a coffin: an incident of 1864. (search)
d to his mountain fastnesses — not a trace of his existence could be found. If the force was small, he attacked and nearly always cut to pieces or captured it. With his headquarters near Piedmont Station, on the Manassas railroad, east of the Ridge, he knew by his scouts of any movement; then couriers were seen going at full gallop to summon the men, scattered among the mountain spurs, or waiting at remote houses in the woods, to the previously specified rendezvous-at Markham's, Upperville, Paris, Oak Grove, or elsewhere; then Mosby set out; and he nearly always came back with spoils — that is to say, arms, horses, and prisoners. In November, 1864, this state of things had become intolerable. Early had been forced to retire — that wolf with the sharp claws; but Mosby, the veritable wildcat, still lingered in the country as dangerous as ever. Immense indignation was experienced by the enemy at this persistent defiance; and an additional circumstance at this time came to add fuel<