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In those heroic days, compliments did not fly thick and fast, as in ‘the great Spanish War,’ and to be mentioned in dispatches meant a good deal. Of this daring ride, Stuart says simply, in his official report: ‘Major Andrew R. Venable, Jr., A. A. and Inspector-General, deserves special mention for his conduct in evading the enemy near Auburn and reaching the Commanding General with important dispatches on the night of October 13th.’

To this generation, those few words may not mean much. To Andrew Venable's surviving comrades, they are pregnant with martial meaning.

But the ‘hero of Gettysburg’ had no desire to ‘try conclusions’ with his fierce and wary adversary, and slipped away from the crucial test, counting its avoidance a clever manoeuvre. What a complete answer to latter-day military sciolists, who blame Meade for not pursuing Lee after Gettysburg, blatantly assuming the demoralization of that veteran soldiery that had stormed ‘Cemetery Hill.’

The story of Venable's services during the winter of ‘63-64, when Stuart, despite his being compelled to scatter his command because of lack of forage, was yet continually ‘beating up the enemy's quarters’ (as his Cavalier prototype was wont to express it), must be sought in official dispatches.

Then, in the spring of ‘64, began the greatest of Lee's campaigns—a grim wrestle of eleven months, with the guns ‘going’ night and day—in which the Confederate commander, from the Wilderness to Cold Harbor, put hors-de-combat more men than he had taken into the campaign, and again, from Cold Harbor to Five Forks, put hors-de-combat as great a number as had been left him for the defense of Petersburg and Richmond.

Grant crossed the Rapidan on May 4th, and on May 5th. Stuart in person conducted Lee's advance (A. P. Hill's Corps) to strike the enemy on the Plank Road. It is no exaggeration, but only severest truth to say that from that moment, the Commander of the Cavalry Corps, night and day in the saddle, with only a few hours' sleep during the twenty-four, never lost aggressive contact with the enemy's infantry and cavalry, until the fatal May 11th, at ‘Yellow Tavern,’ when he fell mortally wounded from a random pistol-shot fired by a retreating Federal trooper.

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