On June 17-21, 1863, several cavalry battles erupted along the narrow roads, steep-banked streams, and stone-walled fields of the Loudoun Valley from Aldie west to the Blue Ridge. Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's infantry was on a stealthy march west to the Shenandoah Valley. Lee ordered Gen. J.E.B. Stuart and his cavalry corps to screen the infantry from Union forces. Stuart established his headquarters in Middleburg and dispatched Col. Thomas T. Munford's 2,000-man cavalry brigade east to Aldie. There, two macadamized turnpikes led west to Ashby's Gap and northwest to Snickers Gap, while the Carolina Road, a strategic north-south transportation route, was located just to the east.