Events leading up to the battle of Gettysburg.
Address of Colonel Charles Marshall,Before the Confederate veteran Association of Washington, D. C., on its celebration of the birth-day of General R. E. Lee, January, 1896.
The Dispatch has secured for publication the address of Colonel Charles Marshall, delivered before the Confederate Veteran Association of Washington, D. C., on the occastion of the Association's celebration of General Lee's birth-day. Colonel Marshall, as is well known, was a member of General Lee's personal staff. His  theme was the events that led up to the battle of Gettysburg, and the facts he gave bear upon the responsibility for the disaster. Below is presented the first instalment of the address, which will be concluded next Sunday. Colonel Marshall said: In casting about for a subject on which to address you on this occasion, it seemed to me that I could select nothing more interesting than an account of the movements of General Lee's army which resulted in the battle of Gettysburg. I shall not attempt to describe the battle itself, but I think the movements and events which I shall narrate will be found to have had a controlling influence not only in bringing on the engagement, but in determining the result, so far as that result was affected by the circumstances under which the battle was fought. Although it is true that ‘the battle is not always to the strong,’ it is equally true that no force, however strong, can dispense with the precautions that will enable it to put forth its entire strength, and to avail itself of all the aid it can get from advantages of position and of the mode of attack or defence. I propose to consider the subject in the light of the knowledge possessed by the actors in the events I shall describe, and not in the light of our present knowledge, and shall endeavor to confine myself to the contemporaneous reports and correspondence of those who took leading parts, in the latter of which especially can be found an authentic and trustworthy record of the reasons and motives that controlled their conduct, and of the knowledge of facts upon which their judgments were formed. In other words, I desire to present to you the facts, not as they actually were, but as they appeared at the time to those who were called upon to direct the affairs of which I shall speak. All who have read what has been written by some of those who took a prominent part in the events of that time will not fail to observe how much the writers are influenced in their judgment of the conduct of others, not to say in their accounts of what they themselves did or advised, by after-acquired information of the facts. Indeed, some of these writers, especially when they are autobiographers, have developed a degree of military capacity, judgment, and skill, when writing in the light of their present knowledge of facts, which has astounded those who knew them when they were obliged to act upon information derived from the picket-line, from reconnoissances, from scouts, from citizens, from deserters, and other sources of knowledge upon which those in charge of military movements are  often obliged to depend. Those who enjoy the great advantage of a full knowledge of facts in writing of what they advised or did, it will be seen, are usually very positive, and are always right; but so far as what is called the truth of history is concerned, their narratives of what they advised or planned or of what they did, it must be confessed, sometimes do violence to the actual facts. These writers remind me of something that General Lee once said to me. While the Confederate army lay on the Rapidan, in the winter of 1863, a report reached General Lee that a change had been made in the disposition of his troops by the enemy on the other side of the river, opposite the extreme right of our line, which, if true, required a corresponding change on our part. He sent me to General Ewell, who commanded on our right, to inform him of the report, and instruct him to make a change in the disposition of the troops to meet that reported on the part of the enemy. It was a long ride, as General Ewell had heard the same report and had gone to our extreme right, several miles below his headquarters. But when I found him he told me that he had already heard the report, but had discovered that it was incorrect, and that the enemy had made no change. Of course, I did not give him General Lee's order as to changing the location of his troops.
A lesson in obedience.I reached our camp about dark and reported what General Ewell had told me and said that I had withheld General Lee's order about changing the position of the troops. General Lee expressed his satisfaction, and told me to get ready for dinner as there were one or two foreign officers to dine with us. I sat at the lower end of a long table in the mess tent, and after dinner conversation became general, and the subject of the report I have mentioned and of my expedition to General Ewell was referred to. General Lee, with an amused expression, suddenly called to me from his end of the table: ‘Colonel Marshall, did you know General Twiggs?’ I replied that I had never met General Twiggs, but that I knew something of him from the history of the Mexican war. General Lee then said:
General Twiggs had a way of instilling instruction that was very effective, and no one ever forgot a lesson taught by him. When he went to Mexico he had a number of young officers  connected with his staff who were without experience but very zealous and desirous to do their duty thoroughly. Sometimes they undertook to change General Twiggs' orders, and would fail to do what he told them to do, or would do it not as the general had ordered it to be done. If General Twiggs remarked upon such liberties being taken with his orders, these gentlemen were always ready to show that they were right and that General Twiggs' order was wrong. The General bore with this without complaint or rebuke for some time, but one day a young officer came to report his execution of an order General Twiggs had given him, and reported that when he reached the place where the thing ordered by General Twiggs was to be done, he had found that circumstances were so entirely different from what General Twiggs had supposed that he thought that the General would not have given the order had he known the facts, and was proceeding to satisfy General Twiggs that what the young officer had done was the best under the circumstances. But General Twiggs interrupted him by saying: “Captain, I know you can prove that you are right, and that my order was wrong, in fact you gentlemen are always right, but for God's sake do wrong sometimes.”Although General Lee was satisfied with what I had done on this occasion, he wished to impress the lesson of a literal obedience to orders on my mind, and you may be sure that I never forgot it, when it was possible to refer any doubtful matter back to him for further instructions. So I think if some of the writers of whom I am speaking would put themselves in the position in which they were when the things of which they write occurred, they would not be perhaps as infallible and as tar-seeing as they now make themselves appear, but the truth of history would suffer less if they would ‘do wrong sometimes.’ Let us then consider the history of the movements that culminated in the battle of Gettysburg, in the light of the facts as they were known and appeared to General Lee at the time, in order that we may form a judgment of his conduct which will be more just to him than if that conduct be judged as if he knew what we now know. Of course, this involves the inquiry as to the accuracy of his knowledge, as to the means he took to inform himself, and as to the discernment he showed in arriving at the truth from a consideration of such facts as were brought to his attention. I think one of the most striking traits of General Lee's mind was his ability to form a correct judgment from all the facts and circumstances that came to  his knowledge. This was strikingly illustrated in several important movements. For example, he decided the critical question as to the withdrawal of the Confederate army from Richmond after the battles around that city, in 1862, leaving the large army of General McClellan almost within cannon-shot of the city, trusting to the correctness of his interpretation of a single circumstance and of his estimate of the enterprise of his opponent. When General McClellan was forced to abandon his fortified position on the Chickahominy and retire to Harrison's landing, on the James, his army was too strong to be left within thirteen miles (as the crow flies) from Richmond, while the army that defended the city moved northward, if there was any reason to apprehend that the Federal commander intended to renew the attempt to capture the place. Immediately after the withdrawal of General McClellan from the Chickahominy to the James, General Lee had dispatched General Jackson, with his own command and that of General Ewell, followed by that of General A. P. Hill, northward to meet the army of General Pope, then advancing along the line of the Orange and Alexandria railroad. Jackson was instructed to cross the Rapidan and attack Pope's advance. Among other consequences of the defeat of General McClellan before Richmond, Federal troops had been drawn to his support from various other parts of the country, and among them was a large part of the force under General Burnside, on the North Carolina coast. These troops arrived in Hampton Roads and lay there in transports. Upon them the attention of General Lee was immediately concentrated. Their movements would decide his. If they sailed up the James to reinforce McClellan, the latter, being reinforced, intended to renew the attack on Richmond, and General Lee must remain there. If, on the other hand, Burnside sailed up the Chesapeake, McClellan, not being reinforced, did not intend to renew his attempt, but the real attack on Richmond must be looked for from the army of General Pope.
Lee's accurate interpretation.Our scouts reported at last that the transports of Burnside had sailed up the Chesapeake, and that night the troops of Longstreet left Richmond and moved northward to the Rapidan, leaving General McClellan at Harrison's landing, with the confident expectation on the part of General Lee that the northward movement of his army would lead to the withdrawal of the Federal army from the  James. How accurate General Lee's interpretation of Burnside's movement was we now know, and from that time until some time after the Second Battle of Manassas he practically directed the movements of the Federal army by his own. Another instance of his wonderful capacity in penetrating the intentions of the enemy occurred at Fredericksburg before the Battle of Chancellorsville in 1863. The enemy displayed a large force in our front on the Stafford side of the river, and at the same time another force with infantry and artillery was reported to be on the Rappahannock above Fredericksburg, in our rear. For several days it was doubtful from which quarter the attack would come, but on the afternoon of April 30th, General Lee, after a long examination of the large force displayed on the opposite hills of Stafford, suddenly closed his field-glass and remarked, ‘The main attack will come from above.’ Within a few hours Jackson's corps was marching towards the illustrious field of Chancellorsville, and its great leader to his last and crowning victory. I will now proceed to give an account of the movements which began on the 3d of June, 1863. The Federal army was opposite Fredericksburg, where it could not be attacked, except at a disadvantage, and we are told by General Lee that the object of his movement was to draw that army from its position, and, if practicable, to transfer the scene of hostilities beyond the Potomac. He also says that ‘the execution of this purpose embraced the expulsion of the force under General Milroy, which had infested the lower Shenandoah Valley during the preceding winter and spring. If unable to obtain the valuable results which might be expected to follow a decided advantage gained over the enemy in Maryland or Pennsylvania, it was hoped that we should at least so far disturb his plan for the summer campaign as to prevent its execution during the season of active operations.’ The commands of Longstreet and Ewell were put in motion on the 3d of June in the direction of Culpeper Courthouse. On the 5th of June, as soon as their march was discovered by the enemy, he threw a small force across the Rappahannock about two miles below Fredericksburg, and it was thought prudent to halt the command of General Ewell until the object of that movement could be ascertained, but the movement itself, as General Lee says in a letter dated June 7, 1863, ‘was so devoid of concealment’ that he supposed that its object was to ascertain what troops remained near Fredericksburg, and after watching the enemy during the next day,  and finding that no advance was made, and that the force displayed on the Stafford side of the river was not larger than could be dealt with in case it should cross by the corps of A. P. Hill, General Ewell was directed to resume his march, and he and Longstreet on the 7th encamped around Culpeper Courthouse.
Orders to Ewell.Knowing by past experience the sensitiveness of the Government of the United States to any demonstration in the direction of Washington by way of the Valley, he then ordered General Ewell to move from Culpeper Courthouse to Winchester, to attack the enemy in the Valley, and drive him across the Potomac. The appearance of Ewell in the Valley and his attack on the enemy at Winchester and Berryville resulted, as General Lee had expected, in the disappearance of the Federal army from the Rappahannock, opposite Fredericksburg, and A. P. Hill, in accordance with his instructions, immediately took up his march to join General Lee. In order to cover Hill's movement, Longstreet, with his corps, was directed to advance along the east side of the Blue Ridge, threatening Washington, with a view to induce the enemy to place his army in a position to cover that city, and to divert him from A. P. Hill. Longstreet left Culpeper Courthouse on the 15th of June, and occupied Ashby's and Snicker's Gaps, in the Blue Ridge. General Stuart, with three brigades of cavalry, moved on Longstreet's right, and took possession in front of the two gaps. The cavalry brigades of Hampton and W. E. Jones remained along the Rappahannock and Hazel rivers, in front of Culpeper Courthouse, with instructions to follow the main body of the army as soon as Hill's Corps had passed that point. There was much skirmishing between the cavalry of the two armies during the next three days, General Stuart taking a position west of Middleburg, where he awaited the rest of his command. General Jones arrived on the 19th, and General Hampton on the afternoon of the following day. On the 21st Stuart was attacked by infantry and cavalry, and forced to fall back to the gaps of the mountains. The enemy retired the next day, having advanced only a short distance beyond Upperville. The Federal army was apparently guarding the approaches  to Washington, and manifested no disposition to assume the offensive. In the meantime the progress of Ewell, who was already in Maryland with Jenkins's Cavalry Brigade, advanced into Pennsylvania as far as Chambersburg, rendered it necessary that the rest of the army should be within supporting distance, and Hill, having arrived in the Valley, Longstreet was withdrawn to the west side of the Shenandoah, and the two corps encamped near Berryville. General Stuart was directed to hold the mountain passes with part of his command as long as the enemy remained south of the Potomac, and with the remainder to cross into Maryland and place himself on the right of General Ewell, as he moved northward. General Stuart, having suggested that he could delay the enemy in crossing the Potomac by going in his rear, he was authorized to do so, and it was left to his discretion whether to enter Maryland east or west of the Blue Ridge, but he was instructed to lose no time in placing his command on the right of our column as soon as he perceived that the enemy was moving northward. As the movement of the cavalry at this time has been much discussed, and perhaps had more to do with the events that immediately followed than any other circumstance, I shall confine myself in stating those movements to the contemporaneous orders and correspondence.
A great error.That a great error was committed in the movements of General Stuart cannot be questioned. The object of the movement proposed by him in the rear of the enemy was to strike the line of the latter, who was then marching towards the Potomac from opposite Fredericksburg, his line of march being east of the Bull Run Mountains, and it will be observed that while General Stuart had the discretion to cross the Potomac river, either east or west of the Blue Ridge, his instructions to lose no time in placing his command on the right of our column as soon as he should perceive the enemy moving northward were imperative. The Federal army was assembling in Loudoun, and for the purpose of ascertaining our movements, strong reconnoissances were made by his cavalry, sometimes supported by infantry. After the affair at Upperville, on the 21st of June, Stuart remained on the east of the Blue Ridge, in front of Longstreet, one division  of whose corps had been recalled from the west of the Shenandoah river, to aid the cavalry at the time of the attack at Middleburg. General Longstreet remained on the east of the Blue Ridge, while the headquarters of the army were moved to the west of the Shenandoah, near Berryville. The following letter from General Lee to General Stuart, written on the 22d of June, will explain the condition of affairs at that time:
Letters to Ewell.On the same day General Lee wrote the following letter to General Ewell, who had crossed the Potomac at Shepardstown: 
Later on the same day General Lee wrote the following letter to General Ewell:
The letter of General Lee to General Stuart of the 22d of June, 1863, giving him specific directions as to his movements, which directions are communicated to General Ewell in General Lee's second letter to that officer of the same date, which I have quoted, was sent by General Lee through General Longstreet, who was on the east side of the Blue Ridge, and under whose immediate command General Stuart was. I have not a copy of the letter from General Lee to General Longstreet enclosing General Lee's letter to General Stuart, but I have a copy of the letter from General Longstreet to General Lee acknowledging the receipt of the letter of the latter to General Stuart, containing the order which I have mentioned. It is as follows:
You will observe that the letter of General Lee to General Stuart, which I have quoted, and which General Stuart received through General Longstreet, contained an order to the former, in case he  found that the enemy was moving northward, and that he could protect his rear with two brigades of his force, to move the other three into Maryland and take position on General Ewell's right, place himself in communciation with him, guard his flank, and keep him informed of the enemy's movements. This order was sent through General Longstreet, under whose immediate command General Stuart then was, leaving General Longstreet to decide whether the cavalry could be spared to execute the order, and also to direct how it should best move to carry it out in view of the state of things existing when the order was delivered to General Stuart.
What Lee expected.The letter of General Lee to General Stuart, however, shows that when it was written General Lee expected that General Stuart would pass with all his cavalry, except two brigades, to the west of the Blue Ridge, and cross the Potomac on that side of the mountains, leaving two brigades in the gaps to guard his rear as long as the enemy threatened to attempt to penetrate through the gaps into the Valley. The letter of General Lee to General Ewell informing that officer of the order General Lee had given to General Stuart, if General Longstreet decided that Stuart could be spared, shows very clearly that the movement that General Lee assumed would be made by General Stuart was to cross into Maryland, and put himself on the right of General Ewell. The letter of General Longstreet to General Lee, which I have quoted, acknowledging the receipt of General Lee's letter to General Stuart, states that General Longstreet had forwarded that letter with the suggestion that the latter should pass to the enemy's rear, ‘if he thinks he can get through.’ What General Longstreet calls a ‘suggestion’ was, in effect, an order, as will be seen. It was as follows:
N. B.—I think your passage of the Potomac by our rear at the present moment will, in a measure, disclose our plans. You had better not leave us, therefore, unless you can take the proposed route in the rear of the enemy. In effect, General Longstreet tells General Stuart that he had better not leave the army unless he could take the proposed route in the ‘rear of the enemy,’ and his ‘suggestion’ substantially amounted to an order to Stuart not to leave the army for the purpose of crossing into Maryland, as directed by General Lee's letter, unless he could do so by that route. It will be seen that the order of General Longstreet to General Stuart, contained in the letter of the former, which I have just read, appears to be controlled entirely by the idea that General Stuart was to cross the Potomac in such a way as would best conceal the movements of the Confederate army, but it does not notice the positive instruction contained in General Lee's letter to General Stuart, should the latter cross the Potomac, to place himself as speedily as possible, after the enemy begun to move northward, upon General Ewell's right. You will remember that the order of General Longstreet to General Stuart at the time he sent him General Lee's letter was that he should proceed by way of the enemy's rear to reach the Potomac and cross into Maryland. Now, it must be borne in mind that this suggestion contemplated the possibility of the entire detachment of the cavalry from the rest of the army. To obey the order Stuart had to pass through the Bull Run mountains across the enemy's line of march from opposite Fredericksburg to the Potomac river, if the way was open. That line of march was east of the Bull Run  mountains. The cavalry under Stuart was on the east side of the Blue Ridge, and the enemy was already known to be assembling on the Potomac, in Loudoun, so that General Stuart's march ordered by General Longstreet would take the cavalry east of the Bull Run mountains and bring it to the Potomac river, below where the enemy's army was being concentrated. Of course this might readily prove to be inconsistent with the chief aim of the movement ordered by General Lee, which was that General Stuart should place himself on the right of General Ewell after crossing the river, and there was evident danger that if General Stuart acted under the order of General Longstreet, and the enemy should cross the Potomac before General Stuart, the latter would be separated from General Ewell, who was moving west of the Blue Ridge.
General Lee to General Stuart, dated on the 23d of June, at 5 P. M., which is as follows:
This letter was written and received after General Longstreet's letter to General Stuart of the 22d of June, enclosing that of General Lee, with the suggestion or order of General Longstreet as to the movement of General Stuart, of which I have spoken, and is General Lee's last direction to General Stuart before the army left Virginia. It was written and received before General Stuart started on his march ‘around the rear of the enemy.’ It covers the case of the Federal commander remaining inactive, and also of his not moving northward. In the former event Stuart was to leave two brigades to watch him, and with the other three to withdraw, and in the latter event Stuart's whole command was to be withdrawn to-morrow night (the 24th), ‘this side of the mountain,’ cross the Potomac at Shepherdstown, and move towards Fredericktown the next day. It also leaves Stuart to decide whether he can move around the Federal army (in either of the events mentioned) without hindrance, doing him all the damage he can, and cross east of the mountains. In either case, after crossing the river, Stuart is directed to move on and feel the right of Ewell's Corps, collecting information, etc. You will see that whether Stuart should cross the Potomac at Shepherdstown, as General Lee directed, or in the exercise of the discretion given him to pass around the rear of the enemy and cross the Potomac east of the mountains, he was ordered, unconditionally, ‘after crossing the river,’ to move on and ‘feel the right of Ewell's troops, collecting information,’ etc. This explicit order precluded any movement by Stuart that would prevent him from ‘feeling the right of Ewell's troops,’ after crossing the Potomac, and it was the last order General Stuart received before leaving Virginia.  It will also be observed that General Stuart was not permitted to make this movement around the enemy's rear unless he could pass around the Federal army without hindrance, and there was the same conditions annexed to the order of General Stuart, as I have shown. In any case, General Stuart, after crossing the Potomac, was to put himself on the right flank of General Ewell, and that any movement on the part of the former which tended to prevent this was entirely inconsistent with General Lee's reiterated instructions. So, that, under this instruction, General Stuart was practically instructed not to cross the Potomac east of the Federal army, and thus interpose that army between himself and the right of General Ewell. There were places where the Potomac could be crossed between the enemy's army, at or near Edward's Ferry, and the Blue Ridge, east of the latter, and General Stuart had discretion to use the fords east of the Blue Ridge, but he had no discretion to use any ford that would place the enemy's army between him and the troops of General Ewell.
A Misconstruction.The report of General Stuart of his operations in this campaign states that he had submitted to General Lee a plan of leaving a brigade or two, to use his own language,
in my present front, and passing through Hopewell, or some other gap in Bull Run Mountains, attain the enemy's rear, pass between his main body and Washington, and cross into Maryland, joining our army north of the Potomac. The commanding general wrote me, authorizing this move, if I deemed it practicable, and also what instructions should be given the officer in command of the two brigades left in front of the army. He also notified me that one column would move via Gettysburg, the other by Carlisle, towards the Susquehanna, and directed me, after crossing, to proceed with all dispatch to join the right (Early) in Pennsylvania.There is no such letter as is mentioned by General Stuart contained in the book, in which are found copies of all the other letters of General Lee to him, which I have cited, and it is inconsistent with the other letters I have quoted on the same subject, written by General Lee to him about the same time. But the report of General Stuart evidently refers to the letter of General Lee of June 23d, which I have read. That letter contains the instructions to be given ‘to the officer in command of the two brigades to be left in front of  the enemy,’ mentioned in General Stuart's report as being contained in General Lee's letter to him, which he refers to in his report. It also contains the information as to Ewell's movement referred to in the report, and there can be no doubt that General Lee's letter of June 23d, which I have read, is the letter to which General Stuart refers in his report, and that he construed that letter to mean what he there states. If General Lee wrote another letter, in which he gives the same directions as to the instructions to be given the officer in command of the two brigades left in front of the enemy, and in which he informs General Stuart of the movements of Ewell, and which was also inconsistent with his other letters to Stuart, written about the same time, it would be very strange, and the inference is irresistible that General Lee's letter of June 23d is the one to which General Stuart refers in his report, and that he construed that letter to mean what he there states. That construction, however, is not justified by the letter itself. General Stuart's report then proceeds as follows: ‘Accordingly, three days rations were prepared, and on the night of the 24th the following brigades—Hampton's, Fitz Lee's, and W. H. F. Lee's, rendezvoused secretly near Salem depot. We had no wagons or vehicles, except six pieces of artillery, caissons, and ambulances. Robertson's and Jones's Brigades, under command of the former, were left in observation of the enemy on the usual front, with full instructions as to following up the enemy in case of withdrawal, and rejoining our main army. Brigadier-General Fitz Lee's Brigade had to march from north of Snicker's Gap to the place of rendezvous. At 1 o'clock at night the brigades, with noiseless march, moved out. This precaution was necessary on account of the enemy's having possession of the Bull Run mountains, which in the day-time commanded a view of every movement in consequence of that location. Hancock's Corps occupied Thoroughfare Gap. Moving to the right, we passed through Glasscock's Gap without serious difficulty, and marched for Haymarket. I had previously sent Major Mosby, with some picked men, through to gain the vicinity of Dranesville, and bring intelligence to me, near Gum Spring, today.’ (You will bear in mind that Haymarket is in Prince William county, east of the Bull Run mountains, and that was the first point to which General Stuart directed his march, using Glasscock's Gap in the mountains, Glasscock's Gap being further to the south than Hopewell.) ‘As we neared Haymarket we found that Hancock's Corps was en route through Haymarket for Gum Spring, his infantry  well distributed through his trains. * * * As Hancock had the right of way on my road, I sent Fitz Lee's Brigade to Gainesville to reconnoitre, and devoted the remainder of the day to grazing our horses, the only forage procurable in the country. The best of our information represented the enemy still at Centreville, Union Mills, and Wolf Run Shoals. I sent a dispatch to General Lee concerning Hancock's movement and moved back to Buckland to deceive the enemy. It rained heavily that night. To carry out my original design of passing west of Centreville would have involved so much detention on account of the presence of the enemy that I determined to cross Bull Run further down and pass through Fairfax for the Potomac the next day. The sequel shows this to have been the only practical course. We marched through Brentsville to the vicinity of Wolf Run Shoals, and had to halt again to graze our horses, which hard-marching, without grain, was fast breaking down. We met no enemy to-day (the 26th). On the following morning (27th), having ascertained that on the night previous the enemy had disappeared entirely from Wolf Run Shoals, a strongly-fortified position on the Occoquan, I marched to that point, and thence directly to Fairfax station, sending General Fitz Lee to the right to cross by Burke station and effect a junction at Fairfax Courthouse, or further on, according to circumstances. * * Reaching Fairfax Courthouse, a communication was received from Brigadier-General Fitz Lee from Avondale. At these two points there were evidences of very recent occupation, but the evidence was conclusive that the enemy had left this point entirely, the mobilized army having the day previous moved over towards Leesburg, while the locals had retired to the fortifications near Washington. I had not heard yet from Major Mosby, but the indications favored my successful passage in the rear of the enemy's army. After a halt of a few hours to rest and refresh the command, which regaled itself on stores left by the enemy in the place, the march was resumed at Dranesville late in the afternoon. The camp-fires at Sedgwick's (Sixth) Corps, just west of the town, were still burning, it having left that morning. * * General Hampton's Brigade was still in the advance, and was ordered to move directly for Rowser's Ford on the Potomac, Chambliss's Brigade being held at Dranesville until Brigadier-General Fitz Lee could close up. As General Hampton approached the river, he fortunately met a citizen who had just forded the river, who informed us that there were no pickets on the other side, and that the river, though fordable, was two feet  higher than usual. Hampton's Brigade crossed early in the night, but reported to me that it would be utterly impossible to cross the artillery at that ford. In this the residents were also very positive that vehicles could not cross. A ford lower down was examined, and found quite as impracticable, from quicksand, rocks, and rugged banks. I determined, however, not to give it up without trial, and before 12 o'clock that night, in spite of the difficulties, to all appearances insuperable, indomitable energy and resolute determination triumphed. Every piece was brought safely over, and the entire command bivouacked on Maryland soil.’ * * * *