This fire from Stewart
, coming as it did from the rear, on the road to Catlett's Station, over which the corps must pass to Centreville
, its objective point, was a genuine surprise and threw the men of the First Division on the hill into momentary confusion, as it was well directed and rapid.
A heavy fog enveloped the country, consequently the operations of the rebels were veiled from view of the Division
At this time the Third Division was moving down the Catlett
's. Station road, followed by the Second, which was then crossing the difficult ford of Auburn
A brigade of the Third Division immediately threw out skirmishers and formed line of battle, which, with the help of artillery, soon had Stewart
in full retreat down the Catlett's Station road, which was soon clear of the enemy.
While this was going on there was considerable excitement, for it was not known exactly where the enemy were.
The cannon shot coming from every direction seemed to indicate that the rebels held every avenue of escape, but with the retirement of Stewart
, the road to Catlett
's was opened and over this the Second Division took the advance.
The Third Division lay in line of battle until the Second had passed and then followed.
‘Everyone was perfectly well disposed to march,’ says Warren
, ‘and there was, for the once, no complaint as to the pace set by the head of the column.’
The First Division still held its position.
mentions the following incident as taking place at this time.
‘A powerful battery, supposed to be Jones
' battalion of sixteen pieces, among them some 20-pounders, opened from the direction of Warrenton
and even further to the South
, gallantly replied to by Arnold
's ‘A,’ First Rhode Island which, having been in action against Stewart
, had literally executed the order,—seldom, if ever heard except on the drill ground,—‘Fire to the rear!
Limbers and caissons, pass your pieces.’
The shells of still another Confederate battery, which had got around upon the Greenwich
road, flew in a direction exactly opposite to that taken by the shells leaving Stewart
It was said by Major McClellan
, of Stewart
's staff that shots from Stewart
's guns passed clear over the Union
troops and fell among the advancing lines of Ewell
, on the other