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[111]

Leaders of the fruitless raid Major-General George Stoneman and Staff; photographed in April, 1863, a month before it fell to the lot of these gallant cavalry officers to lead ten thousand sabers on a daring but futile expedition. Sweeping around in the rear of the Confederate army, it was their intention to cut Lee's railroad communication with Richmond. According to Hooker's plan, this advance movement was to begin April 13th, two weeks before that of his main army, but heavy rains delayed the expedition until the 27th and Hooker's whole force set out simultaneously with the cavalry. Thus Stoneman's work was wasted, for the Army of the Potomac was defeated and in full retreat before the cavalry could strike. On the 5th of May Stoneman recalled his detachments and, leaving his headquarters at Louisa Court House, rejoined the army at Falmouth on the 8th. The most daring raid of the expedition was performed by Colonel Kilpatrick, with his Second New York Cavalry. Dashing across the country, he passed within two and a half miles of Richmond, creating great consternation. Turning down the peninsula, he ended his long ride at Gloucester Point, which was garrisoned by the Federals. With great boldness the regiment rode forth from this refuge. Eluding the Confederates and repulsing a strong force, it rebuilt a bridge and returned safely to Falmouth on June 3d, bringing two hundred prisoners, forty wagons, and a thousand contraband slaves. Hooker, dissatisfied with what the cavalry had accomplished, removed Stoneman from his command.

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