Sunday, June 23, 2013

June 24, 1863 (Wednesday): Stuart Makes Arrangements

General B. H. Robertson


Brigadier General B. H. ROBERTSON,
Commanding Cavalry:
    GENERAL: Your own and General Jones` brigades will cover the front of Ashby`s and Snicker`s Gaps, yourself, as senior officer, being in command.
    Your object will be to watch the enemy; deceive him as to our designs, and harass his rear if you find he is retiring. Be always on the alert; let nothing escape your observation, and miss no opportunity which offers to damage the enemy.
    After the enemy has moved beyond your reach, leave sufficient pickets in the mountains, withdraw to the west side of the Shenandoah, place a strong and reliable picket to watch the enemy at Harper`s Ferry, cross the Potomac, and follow the army, keeping on its right and rear.
    As long as the enemy remains in your front in force, unless otherwise ordered by General R. E. Lee, Lieutenant-General Longstreet, or myself, hold the Gaps with a line of pickets reaching across the Shenandoah by Charlestown to the Potomac.
    If, in the contingency mentioned, you withdraw, sweep the Valley clear of what pertains to the army, and cross the Potomac at the different points crossed by it.
     You will instruct General Jones from time to time as the movements progress, or events may require, and report anything of importance to Lieutenant-General Longstreet, with whose position you will communicate by relays through Charlestown.
    I send instructions for General Jones, which please read. Avail yourself of every means in your power to increase the efficiency of your command, and keep it up to the highest number possible. Particular attention will be paid to shoeing horses, and to marching off of the turnpike.
    In case of an advance of the enemy, you will offer such resistance as will be justifiable to check him and discover his intentions and,if possible, you will prevent him from gaining possession of the Gaps.
     In case of a move by the enemy upon Warrenton, you will counteract it as much as you can, compatible with previous instructions.
    You will have with the two brigades two batteries of horse artillery.
    Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

     J. E. B. STUART,
    Major-General, Commanding.

[P. S.]-Do not change your present line of pickets until daylight to-morrow morning, unless compelled to do so.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 27, Part 3, Page 928.

Robertson had a relatively small command of two North Carolina cavalry brigades.  His command and that of Grumble Jones were to hold the gaps until the Union Army followed Lee North and then to move on to the Confederate right flank and communicate with the commands in that area. Staying on the right and in communication is what Stuart himself was supposed to be doing.  But he took a wider circuit east than intended by Lee.


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