FROM GETTYSBURG TO THE COMING OF GRANT.
FUGITIVE NEGROES AT THE RAPIDAN.
obliged to return after doing his work, and that, moreover, probably the road by which he advanced would be occupied in his rear by Stuart and the main body of the cavalry of Lee's army. Sedgwick assured him that all these points had been discussed and considered. Custer thought a moment and said, "Well, then, I may have to do one of two things : either strike boldly across Lee's rear and try to reach Kilpatrick, or else start with all the men I can keep together and try to Join Sherman in the south-west." Upon reaching the neighborhood of Charlottesville he found, as he expected, that the bridge-heary and artillery, and retraced his march. Stuart meantime had placed his troops across the road by which Custer had advanced, and was awaiting him. Through the treachery of a guide the head of Custer's column was turned off to the right for the purpose, it was believed, of bringing it in upon the main body of Lee's infantry, where its capture would be certain. Custer discovered the attempt in time and retraced his steps to the main road which he had left. Stuart meantime had learned of the departure of Custer from the direct route, and at once moved his command to intercept him. This cleared the way for Custer and enabled him to return within the lines of the Sixth Corps, with only an affair with a rear-guard. His movement had certainly had the desired effect as a diversion.
While these operations were taking place Kilpatrick had advanced in the direction of Richmond and had divided his forces, sending a portion under Dahlgren to strike the James River above Richmond, retaining the main body under his own command until he was satisfied that the experiment was not feasible. He made his way down the Peninsula in the direction of Butler's command, and was subsequently transferred by boat to rejoin the Army of the Potomac, or more properly the horse-hospital camp, near Washington.
Aside from our losses in men, and among them the gallant and heroic Dahlgren, the result of this movement was to disable for the time being 3000 or 4000 of the very flower of our cavalry.