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[505]

A narrative of Stuart's Raid in the rear of the Army of the Potomac.

By Richard E. Frayser, formerly Captain on General Stuart's Staff and Chief Signal Officer of the Cavalry Corps Army of Northern Virginia.
Near dawn on Thursday, the twelfth day of June, 1862, General J. E. B. Stuart, with portions of the First Virginia Cavalry, Colonel Fitz Lee; Jeff Davis's Legion, Colonel W. T. Martin; Ninth Virginia Cavalry, Colonel W. H. F. Lee, also a detachment of the Fourth Virginia Cavalry, commanded at the time by Captain Utterback, of ‘Little Fork Rangers,’ Culpeper county, Colonel W. C. Wickham, who commanded the Fourth, was absent, owing to the fact of his having received a very severe and painful sabre wound shortly before, at the battle of Williamsburg, which rendered him unfit for active duty when the raid was made, and two pieces of Stuart's horse artillery, commanded by Lieutenant James Breathed, started from camp, near Richmond, with the intention of making a reconnoissance in rear of the Federal army lying at that time on both sides of the Chickahominy River and menacing the Confederate Capital. The White House, situated immediately on the banks of the Pamunkey River, was in possession of the United States forces, and was held and used as their base of operations. This point of the Pamunkey is navigable for both steamers and sailing vessels, and was admirably adapted for the purpose for which it was used. By an examination of a map of the Peninsula, the reader will perceive that the distance from the White House to where the strength of McClellan's army lay on the Chickahominy is about twelve miles. It will also give the reader a better idea as to the great peril in which Stuart placed himself after he began to penetrate the Federal lines, almost surrounded by navigable rivers and an alert enemy. The Richmond and York River railroad passed at that time, as it does now, through the narrow strip of land lying between the Pamunkey and Chickahominy, which afforded the Federals all necessary transportation, but was not properly guarded.


An encouraging start.

Stuart was not only brave, but full of sagacity and vigilance. Before leaving camp he obtained some valuable information from scouts regarding the position and movements of the enemy and with respect to the condition of roads and fords. Little occurred of interest on the first day of the march, which was bright and sunny with the

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J. E. B. Stuart (5)
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June 12th, 1862 AD (1)
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