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[90] at that time in the army. I believe the first fight in which Stuart was engaged was with a band of Comanche Indians while crossing Peacus river.

Yes, this presence of mind was of incalculable value to him. It enabled him to overcome obstacles and to meet all emergencies, by which at times he extricated himself and command from the powerful grasp of the enemy. This I witnessed in June, 1862, in his memorable raid around McClellan's army, which was applauded by the civilized world at the time as a brilliant achievement, and pronounced by Napoleon III, then on the throne of France, as a grand piece of strategy, and one that could not be excelled by any officer. Under orders of his chief he was required to make a reconnoisance on the right of the Federal army while it lay on the Chickahominy menacing Richmond. Stuart, by his boldness and hard fighting, had penetrated to the rear of the Federals, and had reached a point that was alarmingly perilous. He had cut through the enemy's lines and destroyed transports, commissary, and quartermaster trains, by which means he had stirred up the whole Federal army, as a mischievous boy does sometimes a colony of hornets, and there was no way he could possibly retrace his steps, the road over which he had come was filled with the enemy; for the Federals fully expected he would endeavor to return by it to the Confederate lines, and they had taken steps to crush him.

Here he was being hotly pursued, and could in no way receive any succor from the Confederates, for he was wholly cut off from them by the Federals on the Chickahominy. There was but one remedy in this trying dilemma, and that was to go forward and pass around McClellan's whole army. But how was this to be done when a river confronted him which was swollen by heavy rains and was no longer fordable, and the danger was thickening every moment by an enraged and powerful foe gathering around him and his command and threatening them with annihilation and capture. But Stuart was equal to the emergency. I saw him as he approached the river and made observations up and down the stream, but he did not show any signs of fear or anxiety as he sat on his horse stroking his luxuriant beard as he pondered over the situation. He had, in the meantime, dispatched a courier to General Lee apprising him of his perilous position. After doing this, he learned that at a point below the ford there were the remains of an old bridge, to which he hastened with his command. Upon his arrival there he discovered scarcely a skeleton of a bridge, for the Confederates in their retreat up

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