cover of Pope
's batteries on the high northern bank.
The Confederates captured 64 prisoners and lost 16, killed and wounded.
The morning of the 21st found Lee
's 50,000 veterans on the south bank of the Rappahannock
, with Jackson
on the left, extending from the railroad bridge to Beverly ford, across which Robertson
's Fifth Virginia cavalry had made a dash, scattering the Federal infantry near by, disabling a battery, and spending most of the day on the north side of the river by the aid of Jackson
's batteries on the south side.
On the approach of a large Federal force, Rosser
, by order of Stuart
's line from Rappahannock bridge to Kelly's ford
's 55,000 men held the commanding ground on the north bank of the Rappahannock
, and a lively artillery duel was kept up during the day between the confronting armies, but with little or no damage to either.
The undulating Midland plain, on which these contending armies had now met, was far better fighting ground than was the swampy and densely forested Tidewater
country, which was so recently the field of contention.
The larger portion of this vicinity of the Rappahannock
was cleared and had been under cultivation, in large plantations, until the opening of the war. At the same time it was a more difficult region for strategic movements to be covered from observation.
It was evident that Pope
's concentrated army could not easily be reached by a front attack, while his left was difficult of approach, and receiving the reinforcements steadily coming to him from the direction of Fredericksburg
's military genius, and his conferences with Jackson
, convinced him that the proper movement was one that should turn Pope
's right and place the Confederates
in his rear, cutting him off from the old time highway that led through the Piedmont country, by Warrenton
, toward Washington
Moreover, ‘the strength of the hills’ lay in that direction; for within sight, looking to the northward and westward, were the outlying ridges of the coast range, the Rappahannock
and Bull Run mountains
, behind which concealed movements could be made in the desired direction.
The first step in this strategic movement was to get the mobile left wing of his army, under the energetic