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
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
, 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.
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
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 ”