Stuart's raid to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania was no grandstand play, but a carefully planned and skilled reconnaissance to obtain vital infotmation for General Robert E. Lee. It was Lee himself who directed the operation, and in orders to Stuart issued October 8, 1862, spelled out his mission in some detail, but left the return route to Stuart's discretion. Stuart was to gain all information of the position, force, and probable intention of the enemy. He was to destroy an important railroad bridge at Scotland, a few miles north of Chambersburg, was authorized to destroy public property, seize horses and supplies as needed, and take hostage Federal, state and local officials. This practice was started by General John Pope during the Second Manassas campaign, and the Confederates wished to reply in kind.
Stuart's expedition interrupted an idyllic life at cavalry headquarters, located at 'The Bower,' the home of Colonel Adam Stephen Dandridge in Jefferson County. Mr: Dandridge not only offered the hospitality of his home, but the delightful company of several unmarried daughters and nieces. Life at 'The Bower' had been full of romance, and an endless series of balls, charades and theatrics.