About this time General Lee
, having heard that Burnside
had been moved by sea from North Carolina
, and was at Fredericksburg
, sent a brigade of cavalry, which embraced the Black Horse
, to make a reconnoissance in that direction.
The command saw active service and gained valuable information for the General
, and on its return to Hanover Court-House, the battle of Cedar Mountain
having been fought, it was ordered to join in the pursuit of Pope
The Fourth Regiment crossed the Rappahannock
at Wallis' ford, and, marching through farms, regardless of roads, came into the main road from Culpepper Court-House to Fredericksburg
, and turning to the right, attacked the cavalry protecting Pope
's extreme left and drove it across the Rappahannock
at Ellis' mill
Turning toward Brandy Station
, on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, the command found that General Lee
, with Longstreet
's Corps, had established his headquarters at Willis Madden's house.
Continuing its march, it crossed the railroad and rejoined Stuart
, who, with Jackson
's Corps, pursued the enemy to the crossings of the Rappahannock
at the railroad bridge and Beverly's ford.
Thus were the two armies again confronting each other, but on opposite sides of the river.
In this situation General Lee
, with the ultimate purpose of forcing an action, marched his army by the left flank, and crossing the Hazel river
into what is known as the Little Fork
, grouped his whole army on the Upper Rappahannock
, opposite the Fauquier Springs
's Cavalry, during this movement, had been detached from the army, and crossing the Rappahannock
, the first drill-ground of the Black Horse
, passed through Warrenton
, and attacked, in the rear of Pope
's army, Catlett's Station at midnight, thus striking his line of communication with his base of supply.
This brilliant exploit resulted in the capture of Pope
's headquarter wagons, the destruction of large army stores, and the capture of many prisoners.
Upon the return of the cavalry to the army, across the Rappahannock
, the Black Horse
was assigned to duty at the headquarters of Jackson
, who was about to make his celebrated flank and rear movements on Pope
's army, which culminated in the second battle of Manassas
It had been the purpose of the Confederate
commander, when he took position on the Upper Rappahannock
, to cross his army at the Fauquier Springs
, and occupying Lee
's ridge and the adjacent highlands, to compel Pope
to deliver battle at some point between Warrenton
With this object in view he had crossed