Monday, June 17, 2013

June 18, 1863 (Thursday): "All is yet mere conjecture..."

Aldie Battlefield (

June 18, 1863.
{Received 7. 50 a. m.

Major-General HALLECK,
    At my last advises from Pleasonton, he had captured 8 officers and the greater portion of two squadrons of Fitz Lee's brigade of Stuart's cavalry, and driven them out of Aldie. My instructions to him were to find out what was behind them. At 1 a. m. we received advises that looked as though White, with 400 cavalry, was at Point of Rocks. The Twelfth Corps was immediately ordered to Leesburg, and to hold it and the fords of the Potomac in that vicinity. I ought to have had a large cavalry force and two regiments of infantry at the mouth of the Monocacy last night. Having no means of telegraphic communication there, I am unadvised as to their arrival, and unable to give them orders by telegraph. A bridge sufficient to cross the Potomac is also to be at that point at noon today.


June 18, 1863 - 11 a. m.
Major-General HOOKER,
Army of the Potomac:
     I can get no information of the enemy other than that sent to you.
     Rumors from Pennsylvania are too confused and contradictory to be relied on. Officers and citizens are on a big stampede. They are asking me why does not General Hooker tell where Lee's army is; he is nearest to it. There are numerous suppositions and theories, but all is yet mere conjecture. I only hope for positive information from your front. General Heintzelman has a signal line to Sugar Loaf Mountain, and is directed to send you all the information heobtains. General Kelly is observing the passes west of the Shenandoah, and will give you, through General Schenck, all information he can get. He is very reliable.

    H. W. HALLECK,

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 27, Part 1, Page 50.

Aldie controlled the Snicker's Gap Turnpike and Ashby's Gap Turnpike crossroads.  Pleasonton moved Gregg's Division of cavalry there in an attempt to penetrate the Confederate screen and provide information on Lee's deployments.  There they were checked by the 2nd and 3rd Virginia Cavalry under Munford, leaving Hooker still in the dark as to the whereabouts of most of Lee's troops.  It is evident Hooker still regards Lee's activity as primarily consisting of a soon to be launched cavalry raid by Stuart, as opposed to the invasion it would become. 

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