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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 27, Part 2 (Gettysburg Campaign)
Page 692 N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., PA., ETC. Chapter XXXIX.

constant communication with the commanding general, had scouts busily engaged watching and reporting the enemy's movements, and reporting the same to the commanding general. In this difficult search, the fearless and indefatigable Major Mosby was particularly active and efficient. His information was always accurate and reliable. The enemy retained one army corps (Fifth) at Aldie, and kept his cavalry near enough to make attack upon the latter productive of no solid benefits, and I began to look for some other point at which to direct an effective blow. I submitted to the commanding general the plan of leaving a brigade or so in my present front, and passing through Hopewell or some other gap in Bull Run Mountains, attain the enemy's rear, passing 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 enemy. He also notified me that one column should move via Gettysburg and the other via Carlisle, toward the Susquehanna, and directed me, after crossing, to proceed with all dispatch to join the right (Early) of the army in Pennsylvania. 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 excepting six pieces of artillery and caissons and ambulances. Robertson's and Jones' 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. This brigade was now for the first time for a month under the command of its noble brigadier, who writhing under a painful attack of inflammatory rheumatism, nevertheless kept with his command until now. 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 Bull Run Mountains, which in the daytime commanded a view of every movements of consequence in that region. Hancock's corps occupied Thoroughfare Gap. Moving to the right, we passed through Glasscock's Gap without serious difficulty, and marched for Hay Market. I had previously sent Major Mosby with some picked men through, to gain the vicinity of Dranesville, find where a crossing was practicable, and bring intelligence to me near Gum Springs to-day (25th). As we neared Hay Market, we found that Hancock's corps was en route through Hay Market for Gum Springs, his infantry well distributed through his trains. I chose a good position, and opened with artillery on his passing column with effect, scattering men, wagons, and horses in wild confusion; disabled one of the enemy's caissons, which he abandoned, and compelled him to advance in order of battle to compel us to desist. As Hancock had the right of way on my road, I sent Fitz. Lee's brigade to Gainesville to reconnoiter, and devoted the remainder of the day to grazing our horses, the only forage procurable in the country. The beast of our information represented the enemy still at Centreville, Union Mills, and Wolf Run Shoals. I sent a dispatch


Page 692 N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., PA., ETC. Chapter XXXIX.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 27, Part 2 (Gettysburg Campaign)
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