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[226] brigade, was to cross the river at Kelly's Ford-Gregg to push on by way of Mount Dumpling to Brandy Station, and Duffie to proceed to Stevensburg. By a strange coincidence, that brilliant cavalry leader, Stuart, planned on the same day to cross the Rappahannock at Beverly and the upper fords, for the purpose of diverting the attention of the Army of the Potomac from General Lee's northward dash into Maryland.

Under cover of a heavy fog, Buford's column crossed the river at four o'clock in the morning, surprising the Southern outposts and nearly capturing the Confederate artillery. Here, in spite of superior numbers, the Union commander, General Pleasonton, formed his cavalry in line of battle, covering the ford in less than an hour, but he could make no perceptible movement forward until Gregg's guns on the extreme left had made a general advance possible.

The Confederates fell rapidly back, and the headquarters of Stuart's chief of artillery, with all his papers and Lee's order for the intended movement, were captured. A junction was soon formed with Gregg, and with heavy losses on both sides, the foe was pushed back to Fleetwood Ridge. Of this part of the action General Stuart's biographer says:

A part of the First New Jersey Cavalry came thundering down the narrow ridge, striking McGregor's and Hart's unsupported batteries in the flank, and riding through and between guns and caissons from right to left, but were met by a determined hand-to-hand contest from the cannoneers with pistols, sponge-staffs, and whatever else came handy to fight with. The charge was repulsed by artillerists alone, not a single friendly trooper being within reach of us.

On Fleetwood Ridge the Confederate infantry rallied to the support of Stuart's cavalry, and the object of the reconnaissance having been gained, a general withdrawal of the Union cavalry was ordered, Gregg by way of the ford at Rappahannock Bridge, and Buford by Beverly Ford. But as the order was about to be executed, the Confederates fiercely

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J. E. B. Stuart (4)
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