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[320] which informed Lee fully concerning the strength and the plans of his antagonist.

In the afternoon of the 23d, before Stuart cut the railway and the telegraph at Catlett's station, Pope had telegraphed to Halleck: ‘Under present circumstances I shall not attempt to prevent his (Lee's) crossing at Sulphur Springs, but will mass my whole force on his flank in the neighborhood of Fayetteville,’ a cross-roads hamlet five miles to the southeast of Sulphur Springs, and about the same distance northeast from the right of his position on the Rappahannock. An hour and a half later he telegraphed: ‘I cannot move against Sulphur Springs just now without exposing my rear to the heavy force in front of me,’ still looking with alarm across the Rappahannock at Longstreet. Three hours later, after reporting Jackson's crossing, he again telegraphed: ‘I must . . . either fall back and meet Heintzelman behind Cedar run, or cross the Rappahannock with my whole force and assail the enemy's flank and rear. I must do one or the other at daylight; which shall it be?’ Halleck approved the suggested bold attack on Lee's rear, and directed the troops approaching from Fredericksburg to march to Stevensburg and Brandy station, on the south side of the river, proposing to unite these with Pope the next day to attack Lee's rear. Gen. George H. Gordon, who has written so well concerning the army of Virginia, in which he served, and who fought so bravely at Winchester and Cedar run, says of Pope: ‘He awoke on the morning of the 23d with no very clear notions of what he intended to do.’

The heavy rain of the night of the 22d interrupted Jackson's movement and compelled Lee to abandon, for the time being, his intended flank movement; Jackson, by the most persistent efforts, repaired the bridge at the springs in order to extricate Early from the perilous position which he was so boldly holding on the north bank of the Rappahannock, and Pope, knowing that river to be impassable, gave up, no doubt gladly, his scheme of crossing to attack Lee's rear, and determined to concentrate against the Confederates on the north side of the river, as he had at first proposed. In the early morning of the 23d he turned Sigel toward Sulphur Springs, by way of Fayetteville, followed by Banks and Reno. McDowell, from his left, was ordered to burn

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