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Having at a single blow liberated the Valley, Early determined upon an immediate invasion of Maryland and a bold advance on Washington City. As his instructions was discretionary, he was at liberty to adopt that course, which, at the time was, both in a political and military point of view, the best plan of action that could have been assumed.

The defence of Richmond being the settled policy of the Confederate Government, General Lee had on two occasions assumed the offensive in order to relieve that place from the paralyzing influence of the Federals.

The invasion of Maryland in 1862, and the campaign into Pennsylvania the following year, had relieved Richmond of the presence of the enemy for more than a year, but the tide of war had again returned, and that celebrated city was gradually yielding to the powerful embrace of her besiegers, which could only be loosened by a strong diversion in her favor.

This Early undertook with the force at his command, after the disposal of Hunter's army. By uniting with his own corps the division of Breckinridge and Ransom's cavalry, Early found himself at the head of about twelve thousand men. Though he knew this force to be inadequate to the magnitude of the work in hand, nevertheless he determined to overcome his want of numbers by the rapidity of his movements, thus hoping to acquire a momentum by velocity that would enable him to overcome that produced by the superior gravity of his opponents.

After the dispersion of Hunter's forces, one day in preparation sufficed Early for the commencement of his advance upon Maryland. His route through the Valley extended over a distance of two hundred miles or more; but the road was good, and although the country had been laid waste a short time before by Hunter, the genial season and fertile soil had already reproduced abundant subsistence for the horses and mules of the expedition; but the greater part of the supplies for the troops were necessarily drawn from Lynchburg and Richmond. To prevent delay, therefore, orders were sent to these places directing supplies to be forwarded to convenient points along the line of march. Staunton was reached on the 27th of June. This was the most suitable point at which to supply the army, and there Early made a short halt to make the necessary arrangements to insure the uninterrupted continuance of his march. In this he was ably assisted by Colonel Allan, Majors Harman, Rogers, Hawks, and

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Charlottesville Early (5)
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