Saturday, August 3, 2013

August 3, 1863 (Tuesday): Stuart Reports In

General J. E. B. Stuart

August 3, 1863-9 a. m.
[General R. E. LEE:]
     GENERAL: No change since yesterday perceptible. Scouts were near the bridge last night and report incessant work as if on bridge. The same heavy dust prevails this side of the bridge as yesterday. I am disposed to believe enemy will entertain us with a threat of advance and wait for re-enforcements. The very improbable part of the report of prisoners to General Fitz. Lee is that the Twelfth Corps was moving so secretly. Now, if the Twelfth Corps crosses over here it is very importable that that corps would be taken back for the flank movement. I sent some scouts across below here and some above in addition to those already over. Just heard from Amissville. At least a brigade of cavalry still there. Last night a rumbling of wagons was heard at Beverly all night moving from the direction of Warrenton to Rappahannock bridge. It was not heard to proceed beyond that point. There are no facts on which we can predicate a conclusion yet, but we will watch the enemy. Two notes received this morning. Fitz. Lee will not come while there is any prospect of an advance.
      Most respectfully,

      J. E. B. STUART,

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 52, Part 1, Page 750.

This letter is included not so much for great historical import as for an example of Stuart's role in the Army.  Scouting was a primary role, but he also served an intelligence function, taking in the information and evaluating the likely course of the enemy.  In today's world of satellite technology it is difficult to imagine armies separating after a battle and becoming, to a great extent, lost to each other.  But such often was the case and the danger of a portion of the army being fallen upon by its opponent was very real.  This was the enormous valley of a highly competent cavalry officer like Stuart. 

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