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[254] apprehension that McClellan was allowing us to cross in order to entrap us in the fork of the Chickahominy and James. We got in and got out of the fork. No enemy was there. As we passed up James river that night we could see the gunboats on one side of us; McClellan's camps were a few miles off on the other. The great result of the raid was not in prisoners and property captured and destroyed, or in the information obtained, but in the electric effect it produced on the morale of the army. It raised Stuart to an eminence as a cavalry leader, where he stands, like a glacier on the summit of Mount Blanc, solitary and alone—without a rival, ancient or modern. The feat has no parallel in the annals of war. He had ridden continuously around McClellan two days and nights, in a circle of a radius of not more than six miles. This raid is unique, and distinguished from all others on either side on account of the narrow limits in which it was performed. From the time when he broke through McClellan's lines until he had passed entirely around him, he was enclosed by three unfordable rivers, without bridges, one of which it was necessary for him to cross. There is as vast a difference between the difficulties and dangers of Stuart's ride around McClellan and Sheridan's towards Richmond in 1864, as between the voyage of the great Genoese over an unknown sea and the passage of an Atlantic liner from New York to Liverpool. It was the first and greatest cavalry raid of the war. The Count of Paris, who was on McClellan's staff, speaking of it, says: ‘They had, in point of fact, committed but few depredations, but had caused a great commotion shaken the confidence of the North in McClellan, and made the first experiment in those great cavalry expeditions which subsequently played so novel and so important a part during the war.’

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