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[373]

X. A campaign of manoeuvres. July, 18-march, 1864


I. The march to the Rapidan.

The safe retreat of Lee from Maryland into Virginia imposed upon General Meade the necessity of an immediate pursuit. This he undertook with a promptitude that was very creditable, considering the trying campaign that had just closed.

On recrossing the Potomac, Lee fell back into the Shenandoah Valley, placing his force on the line of Opequan Creek— the same position he had held during the autumn after his retreat from Antietam.

Meade's plan of advance into Virginia was confessedly modelled on that of McClellan in November, 1862; and it was probably the best that could have been adopted. As a problem in that branch of the art of war which is named logistics, or the supplying of armies, it was not considered practicable to subsist a force of the magnitude of the Army of the Potomac by the means available in a direct advance up the Shenandoah Valley. It remained, therefore, to march by the route of the London Valley; and by hugging the Blue Ridge closely, Meade hoped, by vigorous action, to bring the Confederate

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