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[122] the Potomac, with orders to cross the Rappahannock for a raid on the communications with Richmond — turning Lee's left flank and inflicting on him every possible injury.

During Stoneman's absence the sanguinary battle of Chancellorsville was fought by the Army of the Potomac, and as the success of the raid depended in great measure upon a Federal victory at Chancellorsville, it was not, strategically at least, a success. The detachment of the Union troopers deprived General Hooker of cavalry at a time when he particularly needed a screening force to conceal his movements by the right flank; and it is probable that if Stoneman's cavalry had been present with the Army of the Potomac, it would have given ample warning of “StonewallJackson's secret concentration opposite the Union right, which well nigh caused a decisive defeat for the Union army.

But Stoneman's raid destroyed millions of dollars' worth of Confederate property, and although it cut Lee's communications for a short time only, its moral effect was considerable, as shown by the Confederate correspondence since published.

The Stoneman raid was followed in February, 1864, by the famous raid of General Judson Kilpatrick, having as its objective the taking of the city of Richmond and the liberation of the Union prisoners confined therein. General Meade assisted the raid by demonstrations against Lee's left and by sending Custer on a minor raid into Albemarle County. It was supposed, at the time, that Richmond was comparatively defenseless, and that Kilpatrick's force might take the city before reenforcements from either Petersburg or Lee's army on the Rapidan could reach it.

Kilpatrick's force consisted of nearly four thousand men. Near Spotsylvania, about five hundred men under Colonel Ulric Dahlgren were detached for the purpose of crossing the James River, and, after liberating the Union prisoners at Belle Isle, attacking Richmond from the south.

Dahlgren's little command destroyed considerable

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George Stoneman (4)
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Stonewall (1)
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