way of Aldie
, through the Bull Run mountains
, into Loudon Valley, to ascertain if Lee
's army or any portion of it were in that vicinity.
I started early on the 17th, made a long march of twenty-five miles, and about five o'clock in the afternoon, shortly after we had entered the pass, met the enemy's cavalry coming through.
After a hard fight for several hours, we drove them back to the west side of the mountains.
On the 18th and 19th, we were again engaged, and forced them beyond Middleburg
, about nine miles from Aldie
, and on the 21st, advancing with Buford
on the road to Union, and Gregg
on the Upperville
road, we swept the Loudon Valley
to the base of the Blue Ridge
, fighting our way the whole distance.
the fighting was severe, several brigades, on each side, being engaged in charging each other; but such was the dash and spirit of our cavalry that the enemy could not withstand it, and retreated through Ashby
's gap badly worsted.
, on the right, sent some parties to the top of the Blue Ridge
, and they reported large masses of infantry and camps in the Shenandoah Valley toward Winchester
There being no infantry in the Loudon Valley
, it was evident General Lee
did not intend to cross the Potomac
lower down than Shepherdstown
These facts were reported to General Hooker
on the night of the 21st of June, and he shortly after set the army in motion for the vicinity of Frederick City, Maryland, Buford
's Division of cavalry taking up a position at Middletown
, to the west of Frederick City.
I desire, here, to call attention to General Longstreet
's statement, in which he ignores all the operations of Stuart
's cavalry from the 17th to the 21st of June. General Longstreet
states that he was occupying Ashby's and Snicker's gaps at that time with his corps, and communicated with General Stuart
He knew, therefore, that General Stuart
had been most actively engaged from the 17th of June, attempting to push through the Bull Run mountains
, in order to ascertain the whereabouts of General Hooker
had been doing his best to execute General Lee
's orders, which were “to harass the enemy, and to impede him as much as possible should he attempt to cross the Potomac
Such were General Lee
's orders to Stuart
, and to execute them it was his first duty to find out where the Army of the Potomac was located.
This he was doing when he attempted to pass the Bull Run mountains
; but, unfortunately for Stuart
, the enemy harassed him so much, and drove him back into Ashby
's gap in such condition that he was unable to reach the Potomac
in time to see the enemy cross.
, at Ashby
's gap on the 21st