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[427] to feel Sheridan; it was regarded as worse than useless, however, to engage with two small brigades in an open country many times their number of well-appointed cavalry. Sheridan showed no purpose to attack, but withdrew from before our defenses, and the two brigades returned to the vicinity of Drewry's Bluff—the approach on the south side of James River, by forces under General Butler, being then considered the most imminent danger to Richmond.

After the battle of the Wilderness on May 4th and 5th, as hereafter narrated, General Grant moved his army toward Spotsylvania Court House, and General Lee made a corresponding movement. At this time Sheridan, with a large force of United States cavalry, passed around and to the rear of our army, so as to place himself on the road to Richmond, which, in the absence of a garrison to defend it, he may have not unreasonably thought might be surprised and captured.

Stuart, our most distinguished cavalry commander—fearless, faithful Stuart—soon knew of Sheridan's movement, perceived its purpose, and, with his usual devotion to his country's welfare, hastily collected such of his troops as were near, and pursued Sheridan. He fell upon Sheridan's rear and flank at Beaverdam station, where a pause had been made to destroy the railroad, some cars, and commissary's stores, and drove it before him. The route of the enemy being unmistakably toward Richmond, Stuart, to protect the capital, or at least to delay attack so as to give time to make preparation for defense, made a detour around Sheridan, and by a forced march got in front of him, taking position at a place called Yellow Tavern, about seven or eight miles from Richmond. Here, with the daring and singleness of purpose which characterized his whole career, he decided, notwithstanding the great inequality between his force and that of his foe, to make a stand, and offer persistent resistance to his advance. The respective strength of the two commands, as given by Colonel Heros von Borke, chief of General Stuart's staff, was, Stuart, eleven hundred; Sheridan, eight thousand. While engaged in this desperate service, General Stuart sent couriers to Richmond to give notice of the approach of the enemy, so that the defenses might be manned.

Notwithstanding the great disparity of force, the contest was obstinate and protracted, and fickle fortune cheered our men with several brilliant successes. Stuart, who in many traits resembled the renowned Murat, like him was always a leader when his cavalry charged. On this occasion he is represented when he was wounded to have been quite in advance, to have fired the last load in his pistol, and to have been shot by a fugitive whom he found cowering under a fence, and ordered to surrender. The

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