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[92] on either side had a weakness, it was for intercepting and capturing wagon trains. Probably Stuart was not unmindful of the fame and success he had achieved by his successful ride round McClellan in 1862, and regarded this as offering opportunities for even a more brilliant adventure. If he drew in advance any parallel between the two, he failed in the present instance, to reckon on the fact that its whole success was dependent upon his ability at a critical moment, to unite with a distant and independent force.

Stuart's movement began during the night of the 24th, but the meeting at the appointed place between Stuart and Mosby never took place. Stuart found Hooker's army in motion and Hancock's corps in possession of Thoroughfare Gap, and across his path to Haymarket. He could not resist throwing a few shells at Hancock's passing columns, but the road being blocked, and finding himself unable to pursue his course west of Centreville, he determined to make a wide detour, which carried him around the enemy's rear to Fairfax Station, which the enemy had just left, moving westward to Leesburg. In consequence the Potomac was not reached until the evening of the 27th, when it was crossed during the night, under many difficulties. If everything else had gone smoothly with Stuart, this delay was fatal, and threw his plans out of gear.

Hooker's army, after concentrating about Leesburg, began the passage of the Potomac on pontoons at Edwards' Ferry, about twelve miles east of and below Harper's Ferry, on the 25th, and the movement was completed on the 26th. In the meantime Hill crossed the river at Shepherdstown on the 24th, and Longstreet at the same time at Williamsport. The two columns united at Hagerstown, and proceeded thence to the neighborhood of Chambersburg, which was reached on the 27th, where a rest was made of two days. The two cavalry brigades of Robertson and Jones followed, and instructions were sent to Imboden, commanding a cavalry force, to move from Hancock and join the army.

When Stuart crossed the river, he learned that Hooker was at Poolesville, Maryland, and his army in motion for Frederick. Had he paused when he reached the river and turning back,

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