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Whittaker, Frederick, 1838-1889 / A complete life of Gen. George A. Custer: Major-General of Volunteers; Brevet Major-General, U.S. Army; and Lieutenant-Colonel, Seventh U.S. Calvery
(1876)

Chapter III. To the Rapidan and back,   pp. [193]-218


Page [193]


CHAPTER III.
            TO THE RAPIDAN AND BACK.
A      Tthe beginning of September, the Army of the Potomac
      had resumed on the upper Rappahannock the same lazy
attitude, much resembling that of a siege, which it had occupied
before Richmond under McClellan, and before Petersburg under
Burnside and Hooker.   The different infantry corps were
grouped at points near the bank of the river, and comfortably
settled in permanent camps, while the cavalry was drawn back
on either wing, almost entirely out of danger, picketing the
back country to prevent raids on Meade's line of supply, the
Orange and Alexandria Railroad.
   Lee's position was different, as his line of supply was dif-
ferent. His main force was drawn back to Gordonsville, at
least forty miles off, and before him lay both the Rappahannock
and Rapidan Rivers. The triangle of country between these
streams was occupied by his cavalry, which served as a veil to
his army, behind which it could move in perfect security. In
a military point of view the whole position was far better than
that of Meade. Lee knew all the latter was doing, and Meade
was ignorant of his enem 's exact position.
   At last, on the 13th September, a move was made to dis-
sipate the uncertainty. The cavalry was taken from its camps
in the rear, moved down to the Rappahannock, and on that day
crossed the river, BIuford in the centre, Gregg on the right,
Kilpatrick on the left, and advanced toward Culpepper, midway
between the two rivers.
   The advance was made on the line of the railroad which
         I3


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