New-York, Jan. 27, 1863.A despatch was received from Major-General Banks on the second of September, stating that the wagon-trains in his charge had all been brought in safely. Nothing lost. This despatch has been mislaid.
T. C. H. Smith, Lieut.-Col. and A. D.C.
headquarters army of Virginia, ball's cross-roads, Sept. 2, 1862--7.10 P. M.Major--General Halleck, General--in--Chief, Washington: I arrived here safely. Command coming in on the road without much molestation. Some artillery firing on the roads through Vienna to Chain Bridge, but nothing of a serious character so far as I can learn. Within an hour all the commands on the other roads will be in camp within the intrenchments. The three corps on the Vienna and Chain Bridge roads by to-morrow morning. I await your orders. The enemy still continue to beat around to the north. I do not myself believe that any attack here is contemplated. The troops are very weary, but otherwise in good condition. (Signed)
General Sigel's report.
headquarters First corps, army of Virginia, September, 1862.operations previous to the battles of the 29TH and 30TH of August. After the battle of Cedar Mountain, the retreat of the First corps from the Rapidan behind the Rappahannock, and the engagements of that corps near the Rappahannock station, Freeman's Ford, and Sulphur Springs, we advanced to Waterloo Bridge on the same day we had taken possession of Sulphur Springs. The brigade of Gen. Milroy occupied a position on the north side of the bridge, extending his line of sharp-shooters along the shore of the river. The main body of the corps was encamped between the bridge and Sulphur Springs, and behind it the corps of Major-General Banks and General Reno's division. The enemy had advanced from Rappahannock station, along the south side of the river in a line parallel with the route taken by our troops, and was trying to cross at the above-named ford, (Freeman's,) and the bridges at Sulphur Springs and Waterloo. In the night of the twenty-fourth of August, his camp-fires extended from Waterloo Bridge to Jefferson Village, a distance of four or five miles, his main force of about thirty thousand men occupying the latter point. Early in the morning of the twenty-fifth, a sharp skirmish commenced at the Waterloo Bridge, which was reported to me by Gen. Pope to have been destroyed by Gen. Buford, but which we found on our arrival to be in good order, and strongly defended by the enemy. While we were taking position on the north side, the enemy began to break up his camp at Jefferson, and to mass his troops on the south side of the bridge. By noon, twenty-eight regiments of infantry, six batteries, and several regiments of cavalry of the enemy had arrived and taken their position. I had the night before given notice of the enemy's strength and movements to Major-General Pope, and now again informed him of the position of affairs, as the disposition he had made of our forces was evidently based on the supposition that the enemy would force the passage of the river between Bealton and Waterloo Bridge. In the mean time, I had been directed to march to Fayetteville, and form part of the centre of the army, to be arranged in a line extending from Waterloo Bridge to Bealton station. In accordance with this order, Gen. Milroy should have been relieved in the morning by a brigade of Gen. McDowell; another brigade of the Third corps (McDowell's) had to march to Sulphur Springs. In the forenoon of the same day, Gen. Roberts, of Major-Gen. Pope's staff, delivered to me a verbal order to hold my position at Waterloo Bridge under all circumstances, and to meet the enemy if he should try to force the passage of the river, and that Gen. McDowell would be on my right with the cavalry brigade of Gen. Buford, and Gen. Banks on my left. Soon afterward I received intelligence that a large force of the enemy's cavalry had crossed on my right and was moving toward Orleans, and that another force had crossed on my left at Sulphur Springs, and taken possession of that place. I immediately ordered Gen. Beardsley, with the Ninth New-York cavalry and four mountain howitzers, to Sulphur Springs to shell the enemy out of the place, which he did. The rest of my cavalry, consisting of three companies of the First Virginia and two of the First Maryland, I ordered toward Orleans for the purpose of protecting my right flank. Meanwhile cannonading was kept up near the bridge, and from all indications I supposed that the enemy would avail himself of the opportunity to make a combined attack against my position. I therefore sent to the left to find Gens. Banks and Reno, and to the right to look after Gen. McDowell's troops, especially the cavalry brigade, and was not a little astonished to learn that Gens. Banks and Reno were, by order of Gen. Pope, on their march to Bealton, and that no troops could be found on my right except the cavalry brigade of Gen. Buford, which was encamped four miles behind us, on the Warrenton Road. To confuse matters still more, I received a despatch from General McDowell, one section of it directed to Major-Gen. Banks, asking for news from his corps, and the other directed to myself, informing me that I would join my pontoon-train at Fayetteville. I sent this to Gen. Banks, and requested him to furnish me with what information he could, so that, in the absence of instructions, I might be enabled to direct my movements properly. I also sent to Generals Pope and McDowell, at Warrenton, for an explanation and for orders, but Gen. Pope had left for Warrenton station, and Gen. McDowell did not furnish me with any instructions. It was now nearly sunset and my situation exceedingly critical. Threatened on my right and left flanks, an army of