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[86] cavalry leaders. On the one side, General Pleasanton's task was to penetrate the Confederate lines, and ascertain the situation; on the other side, General Stuart's duty was to keep down the curtain, which had heretofore kept Lee's force concealed.

Pleasanton had declared, ‘He would make the enemy show his hand, if he had any in this part of the country.’ He dispatched Gregg with a division to Aldie, at the mouth of a pass in the Bull Run Mountains, and a stiff fight occurred on the 17th of June. Stuart's forces were somewhat scattered over the large area covered by them, and the engagement was fought on his side chiefly by Fitz Lee's brigade. Captures were made by both sides, and the losses by each were severe. On the 19th, the fight was renewed at Middleburg, to which point Pleasanton had dispatched another force, taking Stuart in rear. A division of infantry reinforced Pleasanton, and Longstreet sent back a division to Snicker's Gap to assist Stuart, who was finally compelled to retire beyond Upperville. The fighting lasted several days. Pleasanton in his reports, claims to have penetrated several of the gaps in the Blue Ridge, but admits he met there no bodies of infantry, and the extent of the information imparted to Hooker was that the enemy's infantry was west of the Blue Ridge.

On the 23rd, General Lee wrote to Mr. Davis, ‘The attempts to penetrate the mountains have been successfully repelled by General Stuart with the cavalry. General Stuart, last night, was within a few miles of Aldie, to which point the enemy had retired.’

The campaign had now reached a stage when the part which Stuart was to play was second only in importance to that of the Commanding General. To an army operating in the field, an efficient cavalry force is its most important auxiliary; moving in the enemy's country it is doubly so.

It was now to be seen whether Stuart would ‘make good’ the confidence of his commander, and the hopes of his friends.

He was now in the full flush of youth and early manhood, being scarcely thirty years of age. He was a splendid horseman and possessed a superb vitality. His courage was conspicuous, and the appearance of his black plume always in the

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