On the fifteenth of October, the army remained in position at Centreville, the enemy's cavalry and artillery advancing and skirmishing with the Second corps at Blackburn's Ford, and the Third corps at Liberty Mills. Finding the enemy did not advance beyond Broad River, I was about recrossing Bull Run, when on the sixteenth a severe rain-storm occurred, which rendered Bull Run unfordable and required the sending for the pontoon-bridges, which were in the rear with the main supply-train of the army. On the seventeenth, the enemy's cavalry appeared on my right flank, with artillery and reported infantry, indicating a farther attempt to outflank my position; at the same time, reports from prisoners and deserters indicated a movement on the part of the enemy. The eighteenth was spent in efforts to ascertain the precise position of the enemy, which resulting in the conviction he was retiring, the army was put in motion on the nineteenth, and advanced to Gainesville. Brigadier-General Kilpatrick in the advance drove the enemy's cavalry through Buckland Mills, beyond which he advanced with one brigade as far as New-Baltimore, when a division of the enemy's cavalry came up from Auburn and endeavored to cut off his retreat; General Kilpatrick, however, extricated himself by taking a road to Haymarket, but not without considerable loss, from the superior numbers he was engaged with. On the twentieth, the army occupied Warrenton without opposition, the enemy retiring to the south bank of the Rappahannock. It was then ascertained the enemy had completely destroyed the Orange and Alexandria Railroad from Bristol Station to the Rappahannock. Through the energy and skill of Colonel McCallum, Superintendent of Military Railroads, the road was put in order to Warrenton Junction by the second of November. At this period I submitted to the General-in-Chief the “project” of seizing by a prompt movement the heights of Fredericksburgh, and transferring the base of operations to the Fredericksburgh Railroad. This not meeting the approval of the General-in-Chief, on the fourth of November the army was put in motion to force the passage of the Rappahannock. Major-General Sedgwick, in command of the Sixth and Fifth corps, advanced to Rappahannock Station, where the enemy were intrenched on the north bank of the river. Major-General Sedgwick attacked and carried the enemy's works, on the north bank, capturing four pieces of artillery and some sixteen hundred prisoners. Major-General French, commanding the Third, Second, and First corps, marched to Kelly's Ford, where the advance of the Third corps gallantly forced the passage to the ford, taking the enemy's works on the other side and capturing some four hundred prisoners. Finding himself surprised, and the passage of the river secured, the enemy withdrew during the night. The next day, November eighth, the pursuit was begun from Kelly's Ford; but owing to a fog prevailing, preventing Major-General Sedgwick from ascertaining whether the enemy had evacuated his front, the column from Kelly's Ford was obliged to move over to the railroad, to secure the opening of the river at Rappahannock Station. The pursuit was continued to Brandy Station, the cavalry proceeding to Culpeper, where it was ascertained the enemy had retired to his old position on the Rapidan. A position was taken up from Kelly's Ford through Brandy Station to Welford's Ford, and work immediately commenced on the repairs of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad to the Rappahannock. By the sixteenth of November, the road was put in order, the bridge built over the Rappahannock, and by the nineteenth of November the sidings of a depot at Brandy Station were constructed, and supplies for the use of the army brought up and delivered. As the subsequent operations of the army were important, and I desire to narrate them in more detail, I shall submit them in a special report. The casualties occurring in the several affairs herein reported were transmitted to your office at the several times of their occurrence. Very respectfully,
George G. Meade, Major-General Commanding.
Operations at mine Run.
headquarters army of the Potomac, December 7, 1863.My last reports of the operations of this army included the twentieth ultimo. I have now to submit in continuance of that communication the following report of subsequent operations to the present date: The railroad and the depot at Brandy Station being completed, and all the necessary wants of the army supplied, arrangements were at once made for an advance. The position of the enemy was known to be behind his strong intrenchments on the Rapidan. These were known to extend from the junction of the Rapidan and Rappahannock River to a point as high up as Liberty Mills, west of Orange Court-House. An attack in front had long been impracticable, and the instructions of the General-in-Chief confined my operations to such tactical manoeuvres as my judgment dictated. A movement, therefore, to immediately turn either flank of the enemy was the question to be decided. I ascertained from reliable sources that the enemy had abandoned the design of guarding the lower fords, but relied for the protection of his right flank on an intrenched line he had constructed perpendicular to the Rapidan, leaving it at Morton's Ford, and extending as far as Bartlett's Mill, on the road from Robertson's Tavern to Raccoon F )rd. I could hear of no works or defences on the Orange and Fredericksburgh turnpike or plank-road. Ewell's corps, estimated between twentyfive and thirty thousand men, held the line from Bartlett's Mill to near Rapidan Station; and Hill's corps, over twenty-five thousand strong.
Adjutant-General of the Army:
Adjutant-General of the Army: