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[84] until his trains were safe, when he fell back with his escort. He was undisturbed in this movement, and his adversary withdrew also very soon after. Cutts's battery did excellent service in this affair.

Three brigades under Brigadier-General Loring, transferred from Western Virginia to the Valley district, reported to Major-General Jackson in December: the first, commanded by Colonel Taliaferro, early in the month; the two others, Brigadier-General S. R. Anderson's and Colonel Gilham's, near its close.

In the course of the month two regiments were received in the Potomac district, which completed Hampton's brigade; that officer's military merit procured his assignment to this command, but I was unable to induce the Administration to give him corresponding rank.

At the end of the year, the effective total of the troops belonging to the departments was fifty seven thousand three hundred and thirty-seven-ten thousand two hundred and forty-one in the Valley district, forty thousand eight hundred and thirty-nine in that of the Potomac, and six thousand two hundred and fifty-seven in the Acquia district.

Although the great Federal army was so near, our military exercises had never been interrupted. No demonstrations were made by the troops of that army, except the occasional driving in of a Confederate cavalry-picket by a large mixed force. The Federal cavalry rarely ventured beyond the protection of infantry, and the ground between the two armies had been less free to it than to that of the Confederate army. Until the end of December, military operations were practicable; but, from that time

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