this exposed condition was due to his own activity in the Valley
, which had held McDowell
inert upon the Rappahannock
with thirty-five thousand muskets which should have been with the force north of the Chickahominy
, inviting attack.
rarely declined such invitations; he could scent an exposed flank with the nose of a hound and was ‘fast dog’ following the trail when struck.
Besides his habitual celerity of movement, was his promptness in delivering attack, which was an element of his success.
‘the first musket upon the ground was fired,’ says a distinguished English authority, ‘without giving the opposing force time to realize that the fight was on and to make its dispositions to meet the attack or even to ascertain in what force it was being made.’
the quiet, retiring pedagogue of the ‘V. M. I.’
had not been wasting those ten years in which most of his leisure had been devoted to the study of the campaigns of the great strategists of history, from Caesar
, and his discipline in Mexico
had given him some useful suggestions for their application to modern conditions.
Also it had afforded the opportunity for giving that invaluable asset, the ability to gage the caliber of the men cooperating with him or opposed to him, with most of whom he had come in contact personally—a peculiarity of our Civil War, and one of important bearing upon all the operations conducted by officers of the regular establishment who, almost without exception, held high command in both armies.
but as yet we had no personal knowledge of this man who had been so rapidly coming to the fore.
His work done, and well done, amid the Chickahominy
lowlands, he was soon to heed the call coming to him from the hill country which gave him birth, and where his most notable service had so far been rendered.
His old antagonists were reassembling there as a formidable army and under a new leader, and the line of direct