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[247] been made Adjutant when Stuart was promoted to be a Brigadier-General, and my Captain (William E. Jones) became the Colonel; but lost my position on the reorganization of the army in the spring of 1862.

The Confederate government ordered elections for officers in all the regiments, and thus attempted to mix democracy with military discipline. Jones, who was one of the ablest officers in the Southern army and a stern soldier, was rotated out; Fitz Lee was elected, and wanted another adjutant. So I gave him my resignation. A smile of fortune was really masked under a frown.

When our army retired from Centreville, two months before, my regiment had been the rear-guard, and I had conducted several scouting expeditions for the purpose of discovering McClellan's movements, which had elicited Stuart's commendation in his report to General Johnston. So Stuart asked me to come to his headquarters and continue to do that kind of work for him. This was the origin of my partisan life, that was far more congenial to me than the dull, routine work of an adjutant. According to my estimate, the loss of my commission did not weigh a feather against the pleasure of being directly under the orders of a man of original genius.

An opportunity.

One morning he invited me to breakfast with him—none of the staff were at the table. Stuart asked me to take a small party and find out whether McClellan was fortifying on the Totopotomoy. This was a creek on McClellan's extreme right that emptied into the Pamunkey. That was the very thing I wanted; an opportunity for which I had pined. In a few minutes my horse was saddled. I rode over to the camp of the 1st Virginia and got three men from my old company, who had marched with me from Abingdon the year before—Pendleton, Crockett and Williams. We started off as joyful a party as if we were going to a wedding. When we reached the road leading to the Totopotomoy I learned that there was a flag of truce on that road that day. Not wishing to disturb a peaceful meeting, but not willing to lose a chance for adventure, we determined to move on farther north toward Hanover Courthouse, and explore the region along the Pamunkey. So, making a wide detour to the north the next day, we got down among McClellan's outposts that had never been disturbed since his advance on Richmond. His headquarters were a few miles off at Cold Harbor; the White House on the Pamunkey was the depot where military stores were landed


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