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[402] Blue Ridge to the Chesapeake, engaging in numerous hand-to-hand encounters, illustrating the superiority of Southern cavalry, it was with joy that the order of the Commanding-General to “advance” was received by the cavalry.

I was instructed by the Commanding-General to leave a sufficient force on the Rappahannock to watch the enemy in front and move the main body parallel to the Blue Ridge and on Longstreet's right flank, who was to move near the base of the mountains through Fauquier and Loudoun counties.

The position of the enemy, as far as known, was as follows: His cavalry massed in Fauquier, principally from Warrenton Springs to Catlett station, with the Twelfth corps, and other infantry supports; the main body of Hooker's army being in Stafford and lower Fauquier, hastening to interpose itself between our main body and Washington, with a corps or two confronting A. P. Hill's corps at Fredericksburg, having made a lodgement on the south side of the river there near the mouth of Deep run.

I accordingly left the Fifteenth Virginia cavalry, Major Collins, W. H. F. Lee's brigade, on the lower Rappahannock, co-operating with A. P. Hill, and directed Brigadier-General Hampton to remain with the brigade on the Rappahannock in observation of the enemy during the movement of our forces, and directed also Fitz. Lee's brigade (Colonel T. T. Munford temporarily in command) to cross on the morning of the 15th at Rockford, and take the advance of Longstreet's column, via Barbee's cross-roads, and put Robertson's and W. H. F. Lee's brigades en route to cross the Rappahannock lower down (at Hinson's mill), while Jones' brigade followed with orders to picket the Aestham river the first day. The movement was not interrupted, the enemy having disappeared from our front during the night, and our march continued to within a few miles of Salem, to bivouac for the night. Scouting parties were sent to Warrenton, where it was ascertained the enemy had withdrawn his forces to Centreville the day previous.

General Fitz. Lee's brigade, having camped near Piedmont, moved on the morning of the 17th (Wednesday) by my direction towards Aldie via Middleburg, with the view, if possible, to hold the gap in Bull Run mountain, as a screen to Longstreet's movements. W. H. F. Lee's brigade was kept near The Plains reconnoitring to Thoroughfare gap, while Robertson's brigade was halted near Rectortown to move to the support of either.

I accompanied Fitz. Lee's brigade as far as Middleburg, where I

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James Longstreet (3)
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