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[190] not equipped with telescopic sights and hair-trigger rifles. But as the war progressed, this constant firing by sentinels and vedettes disappeared, and opposing pickets began to comprehend that this was not war. To the guerrillas, who killed to rob and loot, it was, of course, a different matter.

The time came when the “Yankee” troopers exchanged newspapers, bacon, or hardtack with the “Johnny Rebs,” for tobacco or its equivalent, or they banteringly invited each other to come out and meet half-way between the lines of outposts.

It was two years before the true role of cavalry was understood by the Federal commanders. During that early period, the constant use of the mounted branch as outposts for infantry divisions and army corps, was largely responsible for cavalry inefficiency, and for the tremendous breaking-down of horse-flesh. Indeed, it was not until 1864 that Sheridan impressed upon Meade the wastefulness of thus rendering thousands of cavalry mounts unserviceable through unnecessary picket duty, which could be as well performed by infantry.

But many opportunities for brave and gallant deeds occurred on outpost duty, albeit many such were performed in obscurity, and were thus never lauded to the world as heroic.

One such deed, which fortunately did not escape recognition, was that of Sergeant Martin Hagan, of the Second United States Cavalry. When the city of Fredericksburg was evacuated by the Union army on December 13, 1862, Sergeant Hagan was left behind in charge of an outpost detachment of seven troopers, with orders to remain until relieved.

For some reason or other, Hagan was not relieved, and remained at his post with his pitiably small force until the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia began entering the town. Then Hagan and.his troopers succeeded in delaying the advanced troops by skirmishing. Subsequently learning that the bridges over the Rappahannock behind him had been removed, and that his outpost was the only Union force in Fredericksburg, he retired, stubbornly disputing every foot of his

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