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Out of reach of the Confederate cavalry: U. S. Military engines stored in Alexandria, 1863 By the middle of 1863 the Federal generals had learned the wisdom of storing in a safe place, under a heavy guard, anything they wanted to keep. Of especial value was the rolling stock of the military railroads, which when not in use was ordered out of the danger zone. General J. E. B. Stuart with his tireless troopers had proved himself so ignorant of the meaning of the words “danger” or “distance” that the Federals had lost their confidence of the previous year, when they believed that the mere interposition of an army of a hundred thousand men was sufficient to protect a base of supplies. This photograph was taken about the time the battle of Gettysburg was raging, and Stuart was causing a diversion by throwing shells near Washington. It was not until the Army of the Potomac returned to Virginia, with headquarters established at Brandy Station, that any great number of these iron horses were allowed out of their stables. By that time the Union cavalry had received the experience and equipment to meet the Confederate troopers in their own way, and threatened the railroads running into Richmond. Organization and numbers had begun to tell.

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