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[318] calculations. Those who had no knowledge of the indiscretion committed by Miles in shutting himself up at Harper's Ferry found it difficult to understand the object of Lee's sudden movement from east to west. But at this moment a fortunate chance revealed to McClellan all the designs of his adversary, clearly indicating the course he ought to pursue. On his arrival at Frederick on the morning of the 13th, a scrap of paper picked up from the corner of a table in the house which had served as headquarters to the Confederate D. H. Hill was placed in his hands. The printed heading: ‘Headquarters of the army of Northern Virginia,’ had accidentally attracted the attention of an officer, who, on unfolding this crumpled piece of paper, soon discovered its immense importance to the Federal cause. It was nothing less, in fact, than a detailed order of march of the great movement which was to cause the fall of Harper's Ferry—an order which Lee had sent to all his corps commanders on the evening of the 9th, and which, by a fatal negligence, Hill had lost on leaving Frederick. McClellan was now in possession of all the plans of his opponent, had seen his hand and surprised him at the very moment when, counting upon the mystery by which he thought himself surrounded, he was dividing his army, and risking a dangerous manoeuvre to obtain an important result. It was a splendid opportunity, but the danger at the same time was imminent; for it was evident that Miles, of whom the Federals had heard nothing more, was allowing himself to be hemmed in on the right bank of the Potomac. It was necessary, therefore, on the one hand to prevent the capture of Harper's Ferry, and on the other to attack the Confederate army before it should be able to reunite. It was undoubtedly late, for Harper's Ferry was to be attacked on that very day. But its large garrison was in a condition to resist for a considerable length of time; and for however short a period the execution of Lee's plan might thus be retarded, he was surprised in the midst of this operation with a divided army. The Federal troops immediately took up their line of march toward Middletown. Thence, Franklin, bearing to south-westward with the left, was to carry the pass of Turner's Gap, proceed rapidly down Pleasant Valley on the track of McLaws, attack the latter vigorously with all his forces, rescue

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