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[137] created a revolution in the ideas of European officers, who recognized a new feature in war. But it is not to the point that our fame is less in the former than in the latter campaign, and it should not be lost sight of that, on the 9th of June, 1863, the cavalry of Lee's army was in its prime; it was never seen afterward in equal glory.

Pleasonton's movement across the Rappahannock that day was in fact a reconnoissance in force to ascertain for General Hooker's information to what extent the rumors were true that Lee was en route across the Blue Ridge to the Shenandoah Valley, and so no doubt to the Potomac and beyond. Hooker's army was in the old camps opposite Fredericksburg, to which he had retired after the fiasco of Chancellorsville. Lee's troops had been encamped behind Culpepper Court-House, along the Rapidan, as well as in the neighborhood of Fredericksburg; but it was now known that a part of his army was already in motion in a dangerous direction, and it was also known that Stuart was accumulating his cavalry at Culpepper Court-House, if he had not already set out in advance of Lee's infantry. Culpepper Court-House is some ten miles south of the river, and there was no expectation on General Pleasonton's part of encountering Stuart's troopers immediately on crossing the fords of the Rappahannock. Indeed, as Major McClellan states, Stuart's advance to the river was simultaneous with our own. As we silently encamped on the north bank on the pleasant evening of the 8th of June, and had to be content with cold suppers, because General Pleasonton would permit no camp-fires to be lighted, Stuart's men made their bold bivouac on the southern shore of the river so confidently that, as Major McClellan informs us, there was nothing but a picket between Beverly ford, and four batteries of horse artillery parked but a short distance in the rear. General Pleasonton, having no reason to expect the presence of the enemy in force this side of Culpepper Court-House, his plan contemplated a movement of at least two columns on Brandy Station, an intermediate point on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, between Culpepper and the Rappahannock. The Orange and Alexandria Railroad crosses the river at Rappahannock Station. Beverly ford is, perhaps, a mile and a half above, and Kelly's ford some four miles below the railroad, and for the purposes of his reconnoissance General Pleasonton determined to pass his troops over both these fords. The consequences of this plan proved to be to some extent unfortunate, because, when the river was crossed on the morning of the 9th, and the troops became engaged, the operations of the widely-severed connections were independent of each other, and

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Alfred Pleasonton (5)
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