WOOD Or BRANDY STATION, BATTLE OF), and reported the greater part of Lee's army at Culpeper, preparing to move on Washington. Hooker sent three corps up the Rappahannock to prevent Lee's crossing. On the 10th Lee sent Ewell, preceded by two brigades of cavalry, to the Shenandoah Valley to dear it of Union troops. Ewell defeated and dispersed Milroy's command at Winchester (see OPEQUON, BAT TLE OF me), took Martinsburg and cleared the valley; and on the 15th Rodes' division crossed the Potomac at Williamsport, sending Jenkins' cavalry brigade in advance to Chambersburg, and on the 19th moved to Hagerstown. John son's division crossed the Potomac and marched to Sharpsburg, and Early's moved to Shepherds town to threaten Harper's Ferry. In these posi tions Ewell waited until the 21st for the other two corps to close up; when he advanced to Chambersburg. Longstreet moved from Cul peper on the 15th and, advancing along the east side of the Blue Ridge, occupied Ashby's and Snicker's Gaps. Stuart's cavalry was thrown out in front of Longstreet to watch Hooker, and on the 17th had a severe fight with the Union cavalry at Aldie and was driven back to Middleburg. A series of cavalry combats ensued, at the end of which Stuart was driven behind the Blue Ridge. On the 24th Longstreet moved by way of Berryville, crossed the Poto mac at Williamsport on the 25th and 26th, and marched to Hagerstown, thence on the 27th to Chambersburg. A. P. Hill remained at Fred ericksburg until the 14th, when, Hooker having fallen back, he moved down the Shenandoah Valley, crossed the Potomac at Shepherds town, and joined Longstreet at Chambersburg. Stuart was left to guard the passes of the Blue Ridge and watch Hooker, whom he was to harass as much as possible, should he attempt to cross the Potomac. Meanwhile Hooker, starting from the Rappahannock on the 13th, was moving cautiously back toward the Potomac and covering Washington. On the 25th, 26th and 27th he crossed the Potomac at Edward's Ferry, near Leesburg, and on the 28th his army was grouped about Frederick, with Slocum's corps on the left near Harper's Ferry. He de
sired to send Slocum's corps and the 10,000 men, composing the garrison at Harper's Ferry, against Lee's rear, but General Halleck, com mander-in-chief, refused the request for the garrison, and Hooker asked relief from com mand. His request was promptly granted, and 28 June Gen. George G. Meade was assigned to the command. Halleck granted Meade's re quest to utilize the garrison at Harper's Ferry and Meade ordered the abandonment of the place and the transfer of the garrison to Fred erick and Washington.
Lee, deprived of the use of his cavalry, had been unable to get information of Hooker's movements; and to retain him on the east side of the mountains, after he had entered Mary land, Ewell had been instructed, on the 24th, to send a division across the South Mountain to threaten Baltimore. Early's division, de tailed for the purpose, went as far east as York, the other two divisions of the corps marching from Chambersburg to Carlisle. Jenkins' and White's cavalry were in advance at Wrights ville and above on the Susquehanna, threaten ing to cross and take Harrisburg. Lee now made preparations to advance upon Harrisburg, but on the night of the 28th received informa tion that the Union army had crossed the Poto mac and was moving northward, its head of column already at South Mountain. His com munications thus menaced, Lee resolved to pre vent the further progress of the Union army by concentrating his own on the east side of the mountains; accordingly Ewell was ordered to turn back from the Susquehanna, Carlisle and York, and march for Gettysburg, and Longstreet and Hill were directed to march from Chambersburg to the same place. On the night of the 30th Rodes' division of Ewell's corps was at Heidlersburg, eight miles north east of Gettysburg, with Early s and Johnson's divisions near. Hill was at Fayetteville and Cashtown, eight miles from Gettysburg, and Longstreet was still at Chambersburg.