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By Florin Diacu

To the reminiscence of Aristide Halanay (1924-1997) of the collage of Bucharest, founding editor of theJournal of Differential Equations.

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A century-long loop

To the reminiscence of Aristide Halanay (1924-1997) of the college of Bucharest, founding editor of theJournal of Differential Equations.

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Robertson’s two-regiment brigade of green North Carolinians was two miles away, at the Botts place. Stuart ordered Robertson to watch Rappahannock Ford, Norman’s Ford and especially Kelly’s Ford. ” A regiment of Munford’s Brigade, the 4th Virginia Cavalry, had spent the night below Fleetwood Hill. Stuart directed it to join the 2nd South Carolina Cavalry and a throng of horseless cavalry of Hampton’s Brigade in Brandy Station as a division reserve. After several hours Stuart rode to St. James Church to evaluate the situation firsthand.

His anchor was the two infantry regiments straddling the ford road. To their left was Davis’s old brigade, now under Major William McClure. Most of his 1,000 or so cavalrymen were dismounted, taking cover behind the large trees of the forest and the brush at the edge of the woods. McClure left some of his troopers mounted, ready to plug any holes in his thin line as well as to launch a counterthrust. The 124th New York Infantry was in place west of the road. East of the road was the 86th New York Infantry, then the well-tried 8th New York Cavalry.

The rest of the 4,000 Union troops quickly followed them. The Confederate picket reserve comprised about 30 men of the 6th Virginia Cavalry, from “Grumble” Jones’ brigade. The rest of the brigade was camped two miles south of the ford along the Beverly Ford Road, near the Mary Gee House and St. James Church. The commander of the picket company, Captain Bruce Gibson, sent two couriers to warn his brigade. Gibson ordered the rest of his men to mount up and to draw their carbines and pistols. “Keep cool, men, and shoot to kill,” he cautioned them.

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