withdrawal of the army of the Potomac from the Peninsula, and to gain time by a demonstration against the enemy, Gen. Pope pushed his forces across the Rappahannock, occupied Culpeper and threatened Gordonsville. Jackson's and Ewell's forces were hurried to the Rapidan, and on the ninth of August encountered Banks's corps at Cedar Mountain. A hard-fought battle ensued, and on the arrival of reenforcements from the corps of Gens. McDowell and Sigel, the enemy fell hack upon the Rapidan and Gordonsville. On the fifteenth, our cavalry surprised a party of the enemy near Louisa Court-House, and captured important despatches, showing that Lee was moving by forced marches the main body of the rebel army to attack Pope, before a junction could be formed between him and the army of the Potomac. On the sixteenth, I telegraphed to General Pope not to cross the Rapidan, and advised him to take position in rear of the Rappahannock, where he could be more easily reenforced. He commenced this movement on the seventeenth, and by the morning of the eighteenth had most of his forces behind that river, prepared to hold its passes as long as possible. He had been reenforced by King's division and a part of Burnside's corps, under Gen. Reno, from Fredericksburgh. I also directed Gen. Burnside to occupy Richard's and Barnett's Fords, which were between him and Gen. Pope's main army. The enemy made several attempts to cross at different points on the Rappahannock, but was always repulsed, and our troops succeeded in holding the line of this river for eight days. It was hoped that during this time sufficient forces from the army of the Potomac would reach Acquia Creek to enable us to prevent any further advance of Lee, and eventually, with the combined armies, to drive him back upon Richmond. On the twenty-fourth, he made a flank movement, and crossed a portion of his forces at Waterloo Bridge, about twelve miles above the Rappahannock railroad station. Pope directed an attack upon the forces which had crossed the river, hoping to cut them off, but the enemy escaped with no great loss. The annexed telegram from General Pope, marked Exhibit No. 3, and dated the twenty-fifth, gives his views of the condition of affairs at that date. The enemy, however, had not fallen back, as he supposed, but on being repulsed at Waterloo Bridge, had moved further up the river and entered the valley which lies between the Blue Ridge and Bull Run Mountains. The object of this movement was evidently to get in Pope's rear, and cut off his supplies from Washington. Anticipating this danger, I had telegraphed to Gen. Pope on the twenty-third: “By no means expose your railroad communication with Alexandria. It is of the utmost importance in sending your supplies and reenforcements.” On the twenty-sixth I telegraphed: “If possible to attack the enemy in flank do so, but the main object now is to ascertain his position.” From this time till the thirtieth I had no communication with General Pope, the telegraph-lines being cut at Kettle Run by a part of Jackson's corps under Ewell, which had marched around Pope's right and attacked his rear. Finding it doubtful whether we could hold Rappahannock long enough to effect this junction of the two armies, I had directed a part of the Peninsula forces to land at Alexandria, and move out by railroad as rapidly as possible. As soon as I had heard that the enemy had turned Gen. Pope's right flank and forced him to change his front, I ordered the remainder of the army of the Potomac to Alexandria, and directed Gen. Burnside to prepare to evacuate Fredericksburgh and Acquia Creek. I determined, however, to hold this position as long as possible for a base of future operations. Gen. Pope's dispositions at this juncture were well planned. The corps of McDowell and Sigel, and the Pennsylvania reserves, under Reynolds, were pushed forward to Gainesville; Reno and Kearny were directed upon Greenwich, while Hooker's division was sent against Ewell along the railroad. Unfortunately, however, the movement was too late, as a large detachment of Lee's army was already east of Thoroughfare Gap. Hooker encountered the enemy near Kettle Run, and a sharp engagement ensued. This gallant division drove Ewell a distance of five miles, the enemy leaving their dead, and many of their wounded, on the field. As McDowell, Sigel, and Reynolds had reached their positions, there was now every prospect that Jackson would be destroyed before reeforcements could come to his relief. On the evening of the twenty-seventh, General Pope ordered Gen. Porter to be at Bristow's Station by daylight on the morning of the twenty-eighth, with Morell's, and also directed him to communicate to Banks the order to move forward to Warrenton Junction. All trains were ordered this side of Cedar Run, and to be protected by a regiment of infantry, and a section of artillery. For some unexplained reasons Porter did not comply with this order, and his corps was not in the battles of the twenty-eighth and twenty-ninth. Heintzelman's corps pressed forward to Manassas on the morning of the twenty-eighth, and forced Jackson to retreat across Bull Run by the Centreville turnpike. McDowell had succeeded in checking Lee at Thoroughfare Gap, but the latter took the road from Hopeville to Newmarket and hastened to the relief of Jackson, who was already in rapid retreat. A portion of McDowell's corps encountered the retreating column on the afternoon of the twenty-eighth, near Warrenton turnpike, and a severe but successful engagement ensued. Jackson was again attacked on the twenty-ninth, near the old battle-ground of July, 1861. Knowing that Longstreet was not distant, he made a most desperate stand. The fight continued nearly all day, and was terminated only by darkness. We had gained considerable ground, but nothing was decided when the battle closed. It was renewed the next morning, and after another day's hard fighting, our
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Rebel reports and Narratives.
Doc . 91 .- General Sherman 's expedition.
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