An account by Private (later Lt.) Eustace Conway Moncure, 9th Virginia Cavalry, in May-June 1864 shows the extent of individual “secret service” or scouting and spying:
General Hampton told me to return at once and go to Fredericksburg to ascertain if any reinforcements had marched in that direction or if there were any approaching. I returned in the night and found Liverman and Ashby where I left them to spend the night. I spent the rest of the night with them, and the next morning I left for Fredericksburg up the Potomac river to Widewater and saw Mr. Williams, who was stationed in that neighborhood to watch the Potomac and report the movements of troops by transports down the river. He informed me of the passage of DeCesnola’s troops the week before and that since then no troops had passed by land or sea. While in Stafford I heard the battle waging between General Hampton and Sheridan at Trevilian’s. I spent a whole day in Stafford, and returned, passing Fredericksburg, and took the old stage road to Bowling Green, and just about sunset reached a point where the road from Woodford’s intersects with the road upon which I was traveling…That night we spent in the woods in the neighborhood of Bowling Green and early next morning followed the enemy down on the King and Queen road and Liverman and Ashby crossed at Burke’s Bridge and reported to General Hampton at White Chimneys, in Caroline, on the south of the Mattaponi. At this point my services as a scout ended.
(Flag is of Moncure’s 9th Virginia Cavalry. Photograph courtesy of John Beckendorf.)