headquarters army of Virginia, Warrenton, August 24, 1862--3.45 P. M.Major-Gen. Halleck, General-in-Chief, Washington: I arrived in Warrenton last night; the enemy had left two hours previously. Milroy's brigade, the advance of Sigel's corps, came upon the enemy late yesterday afternoon, near Great Run, about four miles from Warrenton Sulphur Springs, and near the mouth of it. A sharp action took place, which lasted till after dark, the enemy being driven across Great River, but destroying the bridge behind them. Early this morning General Buford reached Waterloo Bridge, which was defended by a considerable force of the enemy and one piece of artillery. He took possession of the bridge and destroyed it. Sigel's force advanced again on the left this morning, and when last heard from was pursuing the enemy in the direction of Waterloo Bridge. His column was being. shelled from the opposite bank of the river, which is still too deep to be forded. The enemy has made no advance against Rappahanock station since we left, though yesterday morning while we were withdrawing our forces from the opposite side of the river, he brought forward his columns of infantry and attempted to carry the heights we were leaving by storm. He was, however, repulsed, with considerable loss. We have had a continuous engagement, principally with artillery, along the whole line of the river for eight or ten miles, during the last three days. No force of the enemy has yet been able to cross except that now inclosed by our forces between Sulphur Springs and Waterloo Bridge, which will no doubt be captured, unless they find some means, of which I know nothing, of escaping across the river between those places. Early to-morrow, after clearing this side of the river, I shall move back a considerable part of this force to the neighborhood of Rappahannock station. By that time the river will doubtless be fordable again. I shall leave a corps of observation here to watch the crossings at Waterloo and Sulphur Springs. The forces arriving from Washington and Alexandria will be assembled, I think, on Licking River, between Germantown and the railroad, with a reserve for the force at Warrenton — somewhere between Warrenton Junction and this place — until you are ready to begin a forward movement. I cannot form an estimate of the forces of the enemy. He has been developed in heavy force, by simultaneous reconnoissances, along a line of nine miles from the railroad-crossing of the Rappahannock as far, at least, as Sulphur Springs. I should like to have some idea of the forces which are coming here and your plans of organizing them, that they may be assigned and posted in some order. Our losses during the last three days have been quite heavy, among the killed being Brig.-Gen. Bohlen, commanding a brigade in Sigel's corps. The whole tendency of the enemy since he appeared in front of us at Rappahannock station has been toward our right; but how far his movement in that direction will extend I am not yet able to say. I shall to-morrow remove my headquarter to some central point, probably Warrenton Junction.
headquarters army of Virginia, Warrenton, Aug. 24, 1862.General: To-night or at an early hour in the morning you will please send spies and scouts around by Front Royal to Thornton's Gap, and into the valley of the Shenandoah, to ascertain whether any of the enemy's forces are moving in that direction. Send at least two or three reliable men for that purpose, and instruct them that if they find any difficulty in returning to you they shall go into Winchester, and communicate their information to Gen. White. You will receive instructions as to your movements in the morning. By order of Gen. Pope.
headquarters First corps army of Virginia, near Waterloo Bridge, Va., Aug. 24, 1862.Col. Geo. D. Ruggles, Chief of Staff Army of Virginia: The First corps is in bivouac at Waterloo Bridge, with the exception of an infantry brigade left at Sulphur Springs, as rear-guard, together with a brigade of Gen. Banks and one of Gen. Reno. Gen. Banks's corps is on the Sulphur Springs road, about four miles from the Springs, and Gen. Reno is at or near the fork of the Warrenton road. To judge from the appearance of the camp-fires and camps, I am certain that the enemy's main army is encamped on the other side of the river, perhaps two miles from the river, with the advance at Amissville and the rear opposite Sulphur Springs. (Signed)
Despatches and orders sent and received from Aug. 25 to Aug. 28, Inclusive.
headquarters, army of Virginia, Aug. 25, 1862.Major-General Halleck: Your despatch just received. Of course I shall be ready to recross the Rappahannock at a moment's notice. You will see from the positions taken that each army corps is on the best roads across the river. You wished forty-eight hours to assemble the forces from the Peninsula behind the Rappahannock, and four days have passed without the enemy yet being permitted to cross. I don't think he is ready yet to do so. In ordinary dry weather the Rappahannock can be crossed almost any where, and these crossing-places are best protected by concentrating at central positions to strike at any force which attempts to cross. I had clearly understood