States war department.
Informed of this, he went at once to Richmond
, and offered his sword in defense of Virginia
, his native State, and on the 10th was commissioned lieutenant-colonel of infantry in the Virginia army, and ordered to report to Col. T. J. Jackson
at Harper's Ferry
On reporting for duty he was assigned to the command of the cavalry, some 350 men, then in the Shenandoah valley.
With this small force, with the skill, energy and activity that had already won him reputation, he held, and efficiently watched, a front of nearly 100 miles along the Potomac
, from east of the Blue ridge
entirely across the Shenandoah valley and nearly to the Alleghany
range, and duly reported every forward movement of the enemy.
His early discovery of Patterson
's move across the Potomac
, at Williamsport
, the 1st of July, enabled Johnston
to send Jackson
's brigade to the assistance of the cavalry north of Martinsburg
, and to participate in the creditable affair at Falling Waters
There he displayed the prompt courage for which he afterward became famous, and converted threatened disaster into victory, when, riding alone in advance of his men, and emerging suddenly from a thick piece of woods, he found himself confronting a body of Federal infantry only separated from him by a fence.
Quickly comprehending the possibilities of the emergency, he unhesitatingly rode forward and ordered some of the Federal
soldiers, who probably mistook him for one of their own officers, as he was still dressed in his United States
uniform, to throw down the fence.
This order was promptly obeyed.
He then ordered the whole party to lay down their arms and surrender, on the peril of their lives.
Bewildered by this audacity and boldness, they obeyed, when Stuart
, filing them off through the gap in the fence, soon had them surrounded by his troopers, his prize proving to be 49 men, nearly an entire company of the Fifteenth Pennsylvania volunteers, from the right of Patterson
's line of battle.
On the 10th of July, President Davis
wrote to Johnston
that he was trying, by every means at his command, to reinforce him; that he expected to send off Colonel Forney
's regiment the next morning, and others as fast as railway transportation could be secured.
On the 13th he gave notice that another regiment, fully equipped, was sent him that day; that he could get 20,000 men