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[250] men were gone. McClellan's headquarters, surrounded by camps of cavalry, infantry and artillery, were only a few miles away. We were on their flank and had simply broken through the shroud of cavalry that covered his depot and line of communication. To have done this and no more with all the preparations that had been made would have been a good deal like the labor of a mountain and the birth of a mouse. It would have been easy for Stuart to have retraced his steps; the way was open and could not be occupied by the enemy's cavalry, even if there were no resistance for several hours. The Southern cavalry was in its prime; the Northern cavalry was just going to school.

It would have been impossible to place any obstacle in the way to prevent our return. The danger was all in front; not behind us. A mile or so on one side was the Pamunkey, an impassible river; within six miles on the other were the camps of Fitz John Porter and a division of cavalry. A man of mediocrity would have been satisfied with what he had done; to have gone back would have been a grand anti-climax to such a beginning. But if he had had no choice between going back or going on there would have been little merit in what he did. While the men were plundering the camp, Stuart had a few minutes conference with the two Lees. I was sitting on my horse within a few feet of them, buckling on a pistol I had just got, and heard all that passed. Stuart was urgent for pressing on to Tunstall's station, on the railroad, nine miles ahead, in McClellan's rear; Lee of the 9th agreed with Stuart.


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H. M. Stuart (4)
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Fitz Lee (1)
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