FROM GETTYSBURG TO THE COMING OF GRANT.
offices in New York and elsewhere, came in large numbers, the professionals with the intention of deserting at the earliest opportunity and repeating the profitable experiment of enlisting for large bounties. Their favorite time for leaving was during their first tour of picket duty, and it was found necessary to throw a cordon of cavalry outside our own picket lines. A gallows and a shooting-ground were provided in each corps, and scarcely a Friday passed during the winter while the army lay on Hazel River and in the vicinity of Brandy Station that some of these deserters did not . suffer the death penalty. During the winter the Army grew again into superb condition, and awaited with high spirits the opening of the spring campaign.
On the 23d of March a reorganization of the Army of the Potomac took place, when its five corps were consolidated into three. The First Corps was transferred to the Fifth; two divisions of the Third were incorporated with the Second, but permitted to retain their distinctive flag and badge; the other division of the Third Corps was transferred to the Sixth, but directed to abandon its own flag and badge and assume that of the Greek cross. The corps commanders retained
were--of the Second General, W. S. Hancock ; of' the Fifth, General G. K. Warren ; of the Sixth, General John Sedgwick. The First and Third corps thus passed out of existence.
The only other event of note, before the arrival of General Grant, was the Kilpatrick-Dahlgren raid upon Richmond. It was authorized directly from Washington, and was not the suggestion of General Meade, nor did it have his approval ; however, he set about carrying it into effect with all proper spirit and energy.. The movement depended largely for its success upon its secrecy, and, therefore, when Colonel Dahlgren arrived from Washington before the preparations were completed, and asked to be permitted to accompany Kilpatrick, Meto learn that the expedition was currently discussed in the capital. The plan was for Kilpatrick to move generally from our left, passing the right flank of Lee's army, and to proceed to Richmond by as direct routes as possible, while, as diversions, and to cover his movement, Custer, with 2000 cavalry, was to make a raid beyond Gordonsville, and the Sixth Corps and Birney's division of the Third were to move in support of Custer to Madison Court House on Robertson's River.
No effort was made to conceal this movement, as it was intended to convey the impression to the enemy that a formidable attempt was to be made upon his left flank. Upon the arrival of Sedgwick and Birney at Robertson's River at nightfall of the 27th of February, Custer went by with his command, with instructions to proceed toward Charlottesville, and, if possible, to destroy the railway bridge near that place.
While his command was passing, Custer inquired of Sedgwick as to the relative importance of his movement as compared with that of Kilpatrick, and asked whether in the council at which the movement was discussed it was stated or understood that the bridge-head near Charlottesville was fortified and defended with infantry; also whether it was known that Rosser with 5000 Confederate cavalry was in the valley through which Custer might be