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“ [418] the enemy was forced to recross the river with heavy loss, leaving four hundred prisoners, three pieces of artillery, and several colors in our hands.” The failure of General Lee to follow up his advantage by pouring the heavy force concentrated at Culpepper Court-House upon this detachment of the Federals, confirmed my convictions that he had determined to make a defensive battle, and would not allow any casual advantage to precipitate a general engagement. If he had had any idea of abandoning the original plan of a tactical defensive, then, in my judgment, was the time to have done so. While at Culpepper, I sent a trusty scout (who had been sent to me by Secretary Seddon, while I was at Suffolk), with instructions to go into the Federal lines, discover his policy, and bring me all the information he could possibly pick up. When this scout asked me very significantly where he should report, I replied: “Find me, wherever I am, when you have the desired information.” I did this because I feared to trust him with a knowledge of our future movements. I supplied him with all the gold he needed, and instructed him to spare neither pains nor money to obtain full and accurate information. The information gathered by this scout led to the most tremendous results, as will soon be seen.

General A. P. Hill, having left Fredericksburg as soon as the enemy had retired from his front, was sent to follow Ewell, who had marched up the Valley and cleared it of the Federals. My corps left Culpepper on the 15th, and with a view of covering the march of Hill and Ewell through the Valley, moved along the east side of the Blue Ridge, and occupied Snicker's and Ashby's gaps, and the line of the Blue Ridge. General Stuart was in my front and on my flank, reconnoitering the movements of the Federals. When it was found that Hooker did not intend to attack, I withdrew to the west side, and marched to the Potomac. As I was leaving the Blue Ridge, I instructed General Stuart to follow me, and to cross the Potomac at Shepherdstown, while I crossed at Williamsport, ten miles above. In reply to these instructions, General Stuart informed me that he had discretionary powers from General Lee; whereupon I withdrew. General Stuart held the gap for a while, and then hurried around beyond Hooker's army, and we saw nothing more of him until the evening of the 2d of July, when he came down from York and joined us, having made a complete circuit of the Federal army. The absence of Stuart's cavalry from the main body of the army, during the march, is claimed to have been a fatal error, as General Lee says: “No report had been received (on the 27th) that the enemy had crossed the Potomac, and the absence of the cavalry ”

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J. E. B. Stuart (5)
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