HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, July 31, 1863.
GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following outline of the recent operations of this army, for the information of the Department: The position occupied by the enemy opposite Fredericksburg being one in which he could not be attacked to advantage, it was determined to draw him from it . The execution of this purpose embraced the relief of the Shenandoah Valley from the troops that had occupied the lower part of it during the winter and spring, and, if practicable, the transfer of the scene of hostilities north of the Potomac. It was though that the corresponding movements on the part of the enemy to which those contemplated by us would probably give rise, might offer a fair opportunity to strike a blow at the army then commanded by General Hooker, and that in amy event that army would be compelled to leave Virginia, and, possibly, to draw to its support troops designed to operate against other parts of the country . In this way it was supposed that the enemy's plan of campaign for the summer would be broken up, and part of the season of active operations be consumed in the formation of new combinations, and the preparations that they would require . IN addition to these advantages, it was hoped that other valuable results might be attained by military success . Actuated by these and other important considerations that may hereafter be presented, the movement began on June 3. McLaws' division, of Longstreet's corps, left Fredericksburg for Culpeper Court-House, and Hood's division, which was encamped on the Rapidan, marched to the same place . They were followed on the 4th and 5th by Ewell's corps, leaving that of A. P. Hill to occupy our lines at Fredericksburg . The march of these troops having been discovered by the enemy on the afternoon of the 5th, on the following day he crossed a force amounting to about one army corps to the south of the Rappahannock, on a pontoon bridge laid down near the mouth of Deep Run . General Hill disposed his command to resist their advance, but as they seemed intended for the purpose of observation rather attack, the movements in progress were not arrested. The forces of Longstreet and Ewell reached Culpeper Court-House by the 8th, at which point the cavalry, under General Stuart, was also concentrated. On the 9th, a large force of Federal cavalry, strongly supported by infantry, crossed the Rappahannock at Beverly and Keley's Fords, and attacked General Stuart. A severe engagement ensued, continuing from early in the morning until late the afternoon, when the enemy was forced to recross the river with heavy loss, leaving 400 prisoners, 3 pieces of artillery, and several colors in our hands. General Jenkins, with his cavalry brigade, had been ordered to advance to Winchester, to co-operate with the infantry in the proposed expedition into the lower Valey, and at the same time General Imboden was directed with his command to make a demonstration in the direction of Romney, in order to cover the movement against Winchester, and prevent the enemy at that place from being re-enforced by the troops on the line of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad . Bout of these officers were in position when General Ewell left Culpeper Court-House on the 10th . Crossing the Shenandoah near Front Royal, he detached Rodes's division to Berryville, with instructions, after dislodging the force stationed there, to cut off the communication between Winchester and the Potomac . With the
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