HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
Camp near Winchester, Va., October 8, 1862.
Major General J. E. B. STUART,
Commanding Cavalry, &c.:
GENERAL: An expedition into Maryland with a detachment of cavalry,if it can be successfully executed, is this time desirable. You will, therefore, form a detachment of from 1,200 to 1,500 well-mounted men,suitable for such an expedition, and, should the information from your scouts lead you to suppose that your movement can be concealed from bodies of the enemy that would be able to resist it, you are desired to cross the Potomac above Williamsport, leave Hagerstown and Green castle on your right, and proceed to the rear of Chambersburg and endeavor to destroy the railroad bridge over the branch of the Conococheague. Any other damage that you can inflict upon the enemy or his means of transportation you will also execute. You are desired to gain all information of the position, force, and probable intention of the enemy which you can, and in your progress into Pennsylvania you will take measures to inform yourself of the various routes that you may take on your return to Virginia.
To keep your movement secret, it will be necessary for you to arrest all citizens that may give information to the enemy, and should you meet with citizens of Pennsylvania holding State or Government offices, it will be desirable, if convenient, to bring them with you, that they may be used as hostages, or the means of exchanges, for our own citizens that have been carried off by the enemy. Such persons will, of course, be treated with all the respect and consideration that circumstances will admit. Should it be in your power to supply yourself with horses or other necessary articles on the list of legal captures, you are authorized to do so.
Having accomplished your errand, you will rejoin this as soon as practicable. Reliance is placed upon your skill and judgment in the successful execution of this plan, and it is not intended or desired that you should jeopardize the safety of your command, or go farther than your good judgment and prudence may dictate.
Colonel Imboden has been desired to attract the attention of the enemy toward Cumberland, so that the river between that point and where you may recross may be less guarded. You will, of course, keep out your scouts to give you information, and take every other precaution to secure the success and safety of the expedition. Should you be led so far east as to make it better, in your opinion, to continue around to the Potomac, you will have cross the river in the vicinity of Leesburg.
I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE, General.
HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY DIVISION,
October 9, 1862.
SOLDIERS: You are about to engage in an enterprise which, to insure success, imperatively demands at your hands coolness, decision, and bravery; implicit obedience to orders without question or cavil, and the strictest order and sobriety on the march and in bivouac. The destination and extent of this expedition had better be kept to myself than