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The raid (Federal)

The Yankees are very imitative. Our cavalry raids have stimulated them to the effort at imitation. They have displayed their ambition in this way in the Southwest much of late, and have at last achieved their greatest effort in Virginia. It has been more remarkable, however, for its boldness than its solid achievements. The Central Road will be repaired and in running order for the entire line this morning as we learn, and the Fredericksburg Road was ready for the cars yesterday morning. Not a bridge worthy the name was destroyed; the most important that was attacked was the bridge across the Chickahominy, on the Fredericksburg Road, and that was but little injured. Some culverts and cattle-stops were disarranged — nothing more. The plan of destroying the aqueduct of the canal over the Rivanna was frustrated by General Fitzhugh Lee. That would have been a serious injury, and that was avoided. So the Yankee cavalryman, with his long sword, saddle, bridle, cavorting around, has done nothing — save to get away, for which he has to thank the stars, or somebody else.

Altogether, it is the most remarkable affair of the war. For deliberate, prolonged planning, elaborate equipment, and contemptible achievement; for the magnitude of its promises and the poverty of its performances, it is without parallel. It is not in the nature of things that the Yankee should achieve anything great on horseback. He is like the beggar in the same situation, and when he mounts cannot tell where he will land. In his raid he seemed to have started for one place and went to another — he touched at the least important points of the railroad — he straggled about, map in hand, in a state of incertitude — he stumbled in the way of danger in a manner so disorderly and loitering that it is difficult to say whether he was bold or stupid, or whether he really desired to be taken prisoner and sent home. It is shrewdly suspected that the latter feeling predominated in the bosoms of the Yankee raid makers. They scattered about and lay in the woods, lazy and sleepy — they wandered almost within hail of the city, and shewed themselves, passively and inactively to our armed men. They seemed to invite arrest. In the accommodating spirit of the pigs in a famous Irish town, who ran about roasted, with knives and forks in their backs, crying "come eat me," they seemed to cry out "come and take us, and relieve us from the fatigues of this horrid raid!" If such were indeed their desires, they were doomed to go away unsatisfied — if such their expectations, to be sadly disappointed! What a pity the poor, wearied, and worn horsemen had to pursue their journey through the hot plains of the peninsula. Out of common humanity somebody ought to have ordered or invited them to dismount and tarry awhile.

Such a raid and such an escape have no parallel in history.

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Fitzhugh Lee (1)
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