commander of the department, took General Loring
Having been his superior in rank in the old army, he could not suppress a feeling of jealousy General Lee
was accompanied by his aides-de-camp, Colonel John A. Washington
and Captain Walter H. Taylor
After remaining several days at Huntersville
without gaining any positive information from General Loring
in regard to the time of his probable advance, he proceeded to join Colonel Gilliam
at Valley Mountain
He took with him Major Lee
's cavalry, not as an escort, but for the purpose of scouting and reconnoitering.
It had now been eight or ten days since Colonel Gilliam
first arrived at Valley Mountain Pass.
At that time he learned from the inhabitants and his scouts that the road to Beverly
But within the last day or two, a force of the Federals
had advanced within less than a mile of his front, and then retired.
at once busied himself about gaining information respecting the position of the enemy.
He soon learned that the Federals
had taken possession of a strong Pass, ten miles in front of Valley Mountain
, and were actively engaged in fortifying it. When General Loring
arrived, about the 12th of August, the Federals
had been reinforced, and this position had been so greatly strengthened that General Lee
deemed it unadvisable to attempt a direct attack, so the only course now to be pursued was to gain the Federal
flank or rear, and strike them when they least expected an attack.
had been distinguished in the Mexican
war as a reconnoitering officer, and General Scott
had been mainly indebted to his bold reconnoissance for the brilliant success of his Mexican
Rank and age had not impaired the qualities that had formerly rendered him so distinguished.
He brought them with him to the mountains of Virginia
There was not a day when it was possible for him to be out, that the General
, with either Colonel Washington
or Captain Taylor
, might not be seen crossing the mountains, climbing over rocks and crags, to get a view of the Federal
Ever mindful of the safety of his men, he would never spare himself toil or fatigue when seeking the means to prevent unnecessary loss of life.
By way of illustrating his boldness as a reconnoitering officer, I will relate an anecdote told me by Captain Preston
of the Forty-eighth Virginia Regiment (Colonel Campbell
's). The regiment being on picket, seeing three men on an elevated point about half a mile in advance of the line of pickets, and believing them to be Yankees, he asked his colonel to let him capture them.
Permission being obtained, and selecting two men from a number of volunteers who had offered to accompany him, he