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[544] The movements of Cox, whom he came near meeting, decided him not to return by way of the Upper Potomac, but to push along into the valley of the Monocacy. In that way he placed the chain of South Mountain between McClellan and himself, and was free to cross the Potomac near Leesburg, which at that period did not present any serious obstacle.

The news of this raid reached McClellan's headquarters on the evening of the 10th; the fact of Stuart's crossing the Potomac became known when that general was already quietly bivouacking in a town of Pennsylvania. Averill was at once ordered to start in pursuit. Pleasanton, who protected the encampments of the army of the Potomac, with the remainder of the cavalry, was also ordered to Hagerstown, and proceeded as far as seven kilometres beyond the Hancock road. Stuart was on his way back when the Federals were still vainly endeavoring to discover his tracks; it was only on the 11th that McClellan was finally apprised of his march toward the east. He immediately made all necessary dispositions for intercepting him, if possible, before he could reach the Potomac. At one o'clock Pleasanton was ordered to proceed eastward, to occupy Mechanicsville, beyond the Blue Ridge, and to send his scouts in every direction, in order to discover the enemy; Cox's division was ordered to halt on its march westward, and to guard the crossings of the Upper Potomac; Burnside, whose corps was encamped in Pleasant Valley, one of the lower valleys of the Blue Ridge, was directed to occupy the railroad bridge on the Monocacy, and to watch that river. Lower down, Stoneman, who was stationed near Poolesville, was instructed to distribute his troops so as to protect all the fords of the Potomac, and to dispute their passage with Stuart wherever he might present himself. McClellan hoped thereby to retard the march of the latter, and to concentrate a crushing force against him; but Stuart, thanks to his own daring, the quickness of his movements, the connivance of the inhabitants and his own good fortune, managed to escape from this well-laid trap. Once out of Chambersburg, he did not stop except for just such time as was necessary to feed his men and horses; passing through the village of Emmettsburg amidst the loud huzzahs of a population intensely secessionist, he took the Frederick road by descending

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