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[321] the railroad bridge, which up to this time, by the aid of guards and artillery, he had kept intact, and move toward Warrenton. These movements would bring him into line of battle facing any movement of Lee from Sulphur Springs toward Warrenton. Longstreet's batteries gave parting salutes to these backward movements. Reynolds' division of 6,000 men, from Aquia creek, reported during the forenoon of the 23d, and followed after McDowell.

The courage and ready wit of a Confederate soldier are well illustrated by the story that Allan tells in his ‘Army of Northern Virginia:’ Maj. A. L. Pitzer, of Early's staff, in attempting to find the Thirteenth Georgia regiment, was taken prisoner by a scouting party of the Sixth Federal cavalry. Overmatched in force, the major had recourse to his wits. He persuaded his captors that they were within the Confederate picket lines, and would be fired on whichever way they attempted to escape. He offered to lead them safely in if they would submit to his guidance. The offer was accepted, and the unarmed major led in and delivered the armed squad to General Early.

Early put on a bold front while awaiting the reconstruction of the bridge in his rear, aided by the swollen condition of Great run in his front. He destroyed the bridge over that stream, and held the road against Sigel's advance of 25,000 men, which Pope had ordered to make attack and beat the Confederates on the north side of the river. Sigel conceived the idea that Lee's whole army was in front of him, and therefore only skirmishing and artillery firing took place during the afternoon and until dark, Sigel, in the meantime, going into camp and advising Pope to withdraw his corps to a better position. Robertson, with his cavalry and some guns returning from Stuart's expedition in Pope's rear, joined Early during the day. As soon as the bridge was made passable, at about nightfall, Lawton's brigade was crossed over to Early's support. Ewell himself went over, for a consultation with Early during the night, when it was decided, in view of the large force before him, that it was not expedient to bring on a battle at that place; so orders were given at 3 o'clock next morning for Early to withdraw, which he did soon after daylight, and removed his men to Jackson's rear, where they broke their fast of two nights and the intervening day.

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