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[322]

About 10 o'clock on the night of the 23d, Pope himself, accompanied by the corps of McDowell and the division of Reynolds, reached Warrenton. At that time more than 50,000 men of the army of Virginia were concentrated along the turnpike road between Jackson at Sulphur Springs and Warrenton. On the morning of the 24th, Pope girded himself to destroy the army of Lee, which he supposed was still north of the Rappahannock, as Sigel had reported. Buford's cavalry was sent to Waterloo, whence a good country road led to Warrenton, to reconnoiter and to destroy the bridge over the Rappahannock at that point, and get in Lee's supposed rear. Sigel, Banks and Reno were to move toward the same point, from opposite Sulphur Springs, while Mc-Dowell was placed along the roads leading to Sulphur Springs and to Waterloo to support the movement. As Sigel approached the river, A. P. Hill, who now, in the succession of exchanging moves, held its Confederate side, opened his batteries and an engagement of artillery was brought on. Sigel continued, cautiously, his march up the river, annoyed by Hill's batteries, and it was well into the afternoon before Buford learned that there were no Confederates on the north side of the Rappahannock. It was nearly 4 p.m. when Pope telegraphed Halleck that ‘Sigel is pursuing the enemy in the direction of Waterloo bridge. . . . . No force of the enemy has as yet been able to cross except that now enclosed by our forces between Sulphur Springs and Waterloo bridge, which will undoubtedly be captured unless they find some means of escaping.’

Sigel occupied most of the 24th in his cautious march of six miles from Sulphur Springs to Waterloo, where he arrived late in the afternoon and found the Confederates on the south side of the river, but holding and defending the bridge. The continuing thunder of Lee's guns, from point to point of vantage between Sulphur Springs and Waterloo, had thoroughly engaged Sigel's attention during the entire day, as Lee intended they should, to divert attention from the new flank movement which he had already begun. Pope was equally ignorant, for, in the afternoon, after learning that there were no Confederates north of the Rappahannock, he dispatched to Halleck that he would ‘early to-morrow . . . move back a considerable part of my force to the neighborhood of Rappahannock

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