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Feeling for Lee's army Battery D, Second United States Artillery, Going into Action, June 5, 1863. This was part of the reconnaisance in force under Sedgwick, whom Hooker ordered to cross three miles below Fredericksburg on June 3d and find out if Lee's army still held its old position. The cavalry had brought in reports of some new movement by the Army of Northern Virginia, and Hooker believed that another invasion of the North was impending. It was imperative that this should be checked at once. Every effort was made to discover the real position of the Confederates in order to give battle. Lee, on his side, was equally anxious for a decisive engagement. The victory at Chancellorsville had elated the Confederacy with hopes of early recognition by Europe. Exaggerated reports of disaffection at the North led the Government at Richmond to urge an immediate advance. Lee promptly complied. His strongest hope was that he might draw Hooker into a position where the Federals could be advantageously attacked and a blow struck that would end the war. So cleverly was Lee's movement masked by the resistance of Hill's Corps to Howe's division of the Sixth Corps on June 5th that Sedgwick was deceived into reporting that the greater portion of Lee's force still held their old positions.

The North again threatened: Culpeper, Va., before Gettysburg

It was this Virginia village (seventy-five miles from Washington, on the Orange & Alexandria Railroad) that Lee chose as the point of concentration for his forces preparatory to his last daring invasion of the North, which ended at Gettysburg. Culpeper was no stranger to war's alarms. Two brigades of Pleasonton's cavalry were sent off by Hooker on June 7th to definitely determine Lee's position. Riding in the direction of Culpeper, they ran into a similar force of the Confederates under Stuart, which proved too strong for the Federals. The encounter left no doubt in Hooker's mind that Lee was preparing for an aggressive movement either against Washington or into Maryland. On June 13th it was clear that Lee was massing his forces in the direction of Culpeper. Hooker at once began throwing his lines out toward Culpeper, with the purpose of keeping abreast of Lee by advancing south of the Blue Ridge — and the race for the Potomac was on. This picture was taken in November, 1863, when Culpeper was occupied by the Federals.

Culpeper, Virginia.


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