one flank to the other, across our country, more quickly than the enemy could discover and follow our movements by roundabout routes.
Only by such transfers of her armies could the South ever hope to face her adversaries with superior, or even with equal, numbers— by demanding double duty of her regiments, fighting battles with them alternately in the east and in the west.
In Lee we had a leader of phenomenal ability, could this policy have been once adopted under his direction.
Here in May, 1863, was presented a rare opportunity to inaugurate what might be called an Army on Wheels within the Confederate lines, as distinguished from an Army of Invasion beyond them.
The situation was this.
Grant was investing Vicksburg with 60,000 men, and we were threatened with the loss of the Mississippi River, and of 30,000 men at Vicksburg under Pemberton.
At Jackson, Miss., Johnston, with scarcely 24,000 men, was looking on and begging vainly for reenforcements.
At Murfreesboro, Tenn., B
east of the Blue Ridge, while Hill passed in his rear and crossed the mountains to Winchester via Front Royal.
When Hill was safely in the Valley, Longstreet also entered through Ashby's and Snicker's gaps, and about the 20th the two corps were united.
The cavalry had acted as a screen in front of Longstreet during this advance, and, in this duty, had severe encounters with the enemy at Aldie, Middleburg, and Upperville, losing in them over 500 in killed, wounded, and missing.
About June 22, as Hill and Longstreet drew near the Potomac, ready to cross, Stuart made to Lee a very unwise proposition, which Lee more unwisely entertained.
It was destined to have an unfortunate influence on the campaign.
Stuart thus refers to the matter in his official report:—
I submitted to the commanding general the plan of leaving a brigade or so in my present front, passing through Hopewell or some other gap in the Bull Run Mountains, attain the enemy's rear, passing between his main body