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[192] way with a brigade of Confederate cavalry, until the banks of the Rappahannock were reached. Here, seeing his men and their horses well over the river, he plunged in himself under a shower of balls, and swam across without the loss of a man, horse, or article of equipment. For this gallant act of “valor and fidelity,” this cavalry sergeant was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.


At the beginning of the Civil War, what is now known as military information or intelligence was not appreciated as it was later. The organization of the scout service was not perfected; accurate military maps of the theater of operations were almost wholly lacking, and many commanders accepted the gage of battle with no very comprehensive idea of the foe's numbers, position, and morale, and with no accurate conception of the topography of the battlefield.

As the military organization of the Union armies was perfected, however, and the newly made officers learned their lesson in the stern school of experience, the importance of scouting became apparent, and this use of cavalry developed into a necessary preliminary to every serious encounter.

Perhaps no branch of the military operations of the Civil War gave such opportunities for individual intelligence, initiative, nerve, daring, resourcefulness, tact, and physical endurance, as the constant scouting by the cavalry of the opposing armies between the great battles of the war. It required bold riding combined with caution, keen eyesight and ready wit, undaunted courage — not recklessness an appreciation of locality amounting to a sixth sense, and above all other things a mind able to differentiate between useful and useless information.

The increased importance given to scouting, as the cavalry of the Federal armies gained in experience and efficiency, by no means did away with the use of paid civilian spies. But the

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