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[81] swampy stream called the Tolopotamoi, a tributary of the Pamunky, which could easily have been covered with defensive works, and thus marked out the route which Jackson was to follow a few days after with his army.

The Confederate column was about sixteen miles from Hanover Court-house. It seemed natural that it should retrace its steps and go back to Richmond; but Stuart, who possessed all the instincts of a light cavalry general, determined to carry out a plan much more hazardous in appearance, but less dangerous in reality—to make the complete circuit of the Federal army, so as to enter Richmond on the south, which he had left by the north. By this movement he expected to throw the rear of his enemy into great confusion, so that amid the contradictory rumors which such a bold march would spread he would have a good chance to baffle the pursuit of his adversaries. None of the officers to whom he communicated his plan dared to approve of it; but he knew that all would obey him with courage and intelligence. After giving his brigade a moment of rest, and making careful inquiries regarding the Hanover Court-house road, which he pretended to wish to follow, Stuart ordered the bugles to sound ‘boots and saddles,’ silently placed himself at the head of his column, and directed his horse toward New Kent Court-house. The soldiers followed with astonishment, but without hesitation, a chief who inspired them with a blind confidence. Yet every step they took seemed to interpose an additional barrier against all chances of return. On the right lay the whole army of the Potomac; on the left the immense depot of White House; in front of them the railway and the turnpike, along which the enemy's troops were incessantly passing to and fro. The small band drew closer together, for there was danger on every side; this danger, however, was considerably lessened through the connivance of all the inhabitants. At each house Stuart received the minutest information regarding the Federal corps to be avoided, and the magazines which might be destroyed. Two boats on the Pamunky were burned, but Stuart dared not go as far as the White House, notwithstanding the temptation which so rich a prize offered him. He struck the railroad at Tunstall's station; and after putting a small Federal outpost to flight, he went into ambuscade in order to capture the first train

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