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[178] stream, picking up a number of stragglers.

Gen. Reno, with 8,000 of Burnside's corps, having joined1 him, Gen. Pope advanced his infantry to Robertson's river and Raccoon Ford, with his center at and around Cedar Mountain, and began again to operate with his cavalry on the enemy's communications, until satisfied that the whole Rebel Army of Virginia was rapidly assembling to overwhelm him; one of his cavalry expeditions having captured J. E. B. Stuart's Adjutant, bearing a letter from Gen. Lee,2 at Gordonsville, which clearly indicated that purpose. Holding his advanced position to the last, so as to afford time for the arrival of McClellan's army, he commenced3 a retreat across the Rappahannock, which was effected in two days without loss; and, though the Rebels, of course, followed sharply with their cavalry, reaching the river on the morning of the 20th, they found the fords so guarded and fortified that they could not be forced without heavy loss; so, after three days of skirmishing and artillery-firing at Kelly's Ford and Rappahannock Station, they commenced a movement up the stream, with intent to turn our right.

Pope, still under orders to maintain his communications with Fredericksburg, was unable to extend his right farther without too much weakening his center, and telegraphed again and again to Washington that he must be reenforced or retreat. He was assured, on the 21st, that, if he could hold on two days longer, he should be so amply strengthened as to enable him to assume the offensive; yet, on the 25th, barely 7,000 men had reached him. He had resolved to recross the Rappahannock on the night of the 22d, and fall upon the flank and rear of the long Rebel column constantly passing up the river; but, during that night, a heavy rain set in, which, before morning, had drowned all the fords and carried away the bridges in his front, rendering his meditated blow impossible.

During that night, Gen. J. E. B. Stuart, with 1,500 Rebel cavalry and 2 guns, having crossed the Rappahannock at Waterloo Bridge and Hart's Mill during the preceding day, pushed on unobserved to Warrenton, surprised Gen. Pope's head quarterstrain near Catlett's Station, during the intense rain and darkness; capturing Pope's field Quartermaster and his dispatch-book, with a quantity of uniforms and personal baggage, burning the wagons, and trying to burn the railroad bridge over Cedar Run; but the tremendous rain then falling defeated this design. Stuart claims to have reached the Rappahannock at Warrenton Springs, on his return next day, with 300 prisoners and many horses, here crossing unharmed, after a night's bivouac and a little skirmishing. Pope's actual head quarters during this raid were near Rappahannock Station; but our army trains were parked around Catlett's, and guarded by 1,500 infantry and five companies of cavalry; so that Stuart's cheap success inflicted on us more disgrace than injury — a disgrace which the intense darkness and pouring rain explain, but do not excuse.

Still, the enemy confronting us in ample force at Rappahannock Station,

1 August 14.

2 Dated August 15.

3 August 18.

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