to uncover the upper fords, preparatory to an advance of the 1st and 6th corps; but Lee
at the same time crossing Robertson
's river and advancing in force from Madison Court House on our right, Meade
across the Rappahannock
; our cavalry, under Pleasanton
, covering the retreat, and being engaged from Culpepper Court House to Brandy Station
, where Buford
rejoined him,and the enemy were held in check till evening, when Pleasanton
withdrew across the river.
now, presuming the enemy in force at Culpepper Court House, pushed over2
the 6th, 5th, and 2d corps to Brandy Station
, while Buford
's cavalry moved in the van to Culpepper Court House; when, on hearing from Gen. Gregg
, commanding the cavalry division on our right, that the enemy had driven him back from Hazel run
across the Rappahannock
, and were crossing at Sulphur Springs
in heavy force, Meade
hastily drew back his army across the river and retreated3
to Catlett's Station and thence4
, with the 4th and 13th Pa. and 1st N. Y. . cavalry and 10th N. Y. infantry, being surrounded and attacked5
, and routed, with a loss of 500, mainly prisoners.
Our army was sharply and impudently pursued, especially by Stuart
's cavalry, who gathered up quite a number of prisoners, mainly stragglers, of little value unless to exchange.
, with 2,000 of his cavalry, pressed our rear so eagerly that, when near Catlett's Station,6
he had inadvertently got ahead, by a flank movement, of our 2d corps, Gen. Warren
, acting as rear-guard; and was hemmed in where his whole command must have been destroyed or captured had he not succeeded in hiding it in a thicket of old-field pines, close by the road whereon our men marched by: the rear of the corps encamping close beside the enemy, utterly unsuspicious of their neighborhood, though every word uttered in our lines as they passed was distinctly leard by the lurking foe. Stuart at first resolved to abandon his guns stand attempt to escape with moderate loss, but finally picked three of his men, gave them muskets, made them up so as to look as much as possible like our soldiers, and thus drop silently into our ranks as they passed, march a while, then slip out on the other side of the column, and make all haste to Gen. Lee
, in quest of hell.
During the night, two of our officers, who stepped into the thicket, were quietly captured.
At daylight, the crack of skirmishers' muskets in the distance gave token that Lee
had received and responded to the prayer for help; when Stuart
promptly opened with grape and canister on the rear of our astounded column, which had bivouacked just in his front, throwing it into such confusion that lie easily dashed by and rejoined his chief; having inflicted some loss and suffered little or none.
But such ventures can not always prove lucky.
That same day,7 A. P. Hill
's corps, which had left Warrenton
at 5 A. M., moving up the Alexandria turnpike
to Broad Run church, thence obliquing by Greenwich
to strike our rear at Bristow Station, had obeyed the order, and fallen in just behind our 3d corps,