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[241] that followed as the best cavalry fight of the war, lasting five hours, charging and recharging on both sides, and that the Confederate cavalry were driven back three miles into cover of earthworks and heavy guns. Stanton, the Federal Secretary of War, congratulated Hooker on the success of the expedition. “You have drawn the first blood, and I hope now to see the boys up and at them.” It was Sir Walter Raleigh who said that human testimony was so unreliable that no two men could see the same occurrence and give the same report of it. The Confederate official reports state that Averell was defeated and driven back across the river. Major John Pelham, who was accidentally present, being summoned to Culpeper Court House as a witness in a court-martial, borrowed a horse and rode out on the field, where he acted temporarily as aid-de-camp, and was killed. He was Stuart's chief of horse artillery, and a graduate of West Point of the class of 1861. The death of this blue-eyed Alabama boy was a great loss. His superb courage and dash had been immortalized by Jackson's expression, after seeing him handle his guns at Sharpsburg, that “an army should have a Pelham on each flank,” while General Lee called him, at Fredericksburg, “the gallant Pelham” ; and Stuart in General Orders wrote: “The memory of the gallant Pelham, his many virtues, his noble nature, his purity of character, is enshrined as a sacred legacy in the hearts of all who knew him.”

On the arrival of spring the two armies were still in sight of each other occupying the old lines. Hooker must now assume the offensive. In addition to his twelve corps of infantry-three divisions to a corps, except Slocum's, who had two-he had a large, finely appointed cavalry corps under Stoneman, numbering thirteen thousand three hundred and ninety-eight sabers, and three hundred and seventy-five cannon. The Confederate force consisted of McLaws and Anderson's divisions of Longstreet's corps (Hood and Pickett's divisions of that corps being absent in the vicinity of Suffolk, south of James River), and Jackson's corps, composed of the divisions of A. P. Hill, Early, and D. H. Hill under Rodes, and Trimble under Colston.

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