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[91] the Peninsular had destroyed it. But it occurred to Stuart that he would, under such trying circumstances, make an effort to rebuild it. He placed a strong picket in his rear, and dismounted a portion of his command, and under his eye commenced earnest and unremitting work. Timbers were taken from an old warehouse in the neighboring field and carried hurriedly to the spot where nothing remained but the debris of the bridge. There were men to receive and to put them together as they were delivered upon the banks of the river. The rapidity with which those timbers were united by unskilled hands was a surprise even to they who performed the work. The bridge possessed little or no architectural beauty after being completed, but it possessed great strength, which was more desirable than an attractive appearance, and the amateur bridge builders received the hearty thanks of the whole command. While this work was going on Stuart had in his rear a threatening and formidable force gathering to strike him, and this was the only means of escape.

He lost no time after crossing the same for he was still in the enemy's country and could only check his pursuers for a time by the destruction of the bridge, which he burnt, immediately after crossing with his command. He was now in Charles City county, but still separated from the Confederate army, and there was but one road by which he could escape and that is known as the James river road which was occupied at that time by General Hooker with a large Federal force. Stuart passed rapidly through treacherous bogs and estuaries on the north side of the Chickahominy until he reached a point known as Green Oak, here he left the Chickahominy and marched with great rapidity to Brukland on James river, halting an hour or more to snatch some repose at Judge Isaac H. Christian's in this neighborhood. He resumed his march for the Confederate lines, but without his command, for this was left here with orders to move at a later hour. Taking a courier and myself as guide he started at night for the headquarters of General Lee, at that time at Dobb's farm, near Richmond, a distance of thirty miles. Pause for a moment and think of a general officer separating himself from his whole command and riding the distance already mentioned, with only two men, a whole night through a country occupied at the time by hostile forces actually engaged in scouting and picketing all the roads, placing his life in great peril every moment of the time. Stuart was a splendid rider, going at a gallop nearly the whole way, and frequently in the advance of both courier and guide. There was one point in this all-night ride that was thrillingly perilous, and that was

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