promptly retreated during the night of the 10th, to beyond the Rappahannock
then tried by another flank movement, by way of the Fauquier Springs
, to bring on an engagement on the plains of Fauquier
; but while Lee
was halting to ration his troops, Meade
hastened to the south side of the Orange & Alexandria railroad, by way of Bealeton
, then took the road still farther to the southward, leading through Brentsville
The two armies now engaged in a race, at times within sight of each other, on opposite sides of the railroad; Meade
hastening to escape Lee
, and Lee
hurrying to intercept Meade
and bring him to battle.
As he passed through Brentsville
detached a portion of Warren
's corps and sent it across to Bristoe Station, to guard his flank from attack by the highway from Lee
's route that there crossed the railroad.
This covering force was adroitly concealed in the cuts and behind the fills of the railway at Bristoe Station. A. P. Hill
, leading Lee
's advance, sent Cooke
's superb North Carolina brigade to the same point, from the northward without advanced skirmishers.
As these approached the station, Warren
's men met them, with unexpected volleys, and drove the brigade back in confusion, with a loss of nearly 1,400 men. Lee
with stern rebuke for his imprudence, then sadly directed him to gather his wounded and bury his dead.
This disaster, at the head of the column, and the failure of Ewell
to close up on Hill
, gave check to Lee
's advance, which enabled Meade
to make good his escape to the fortifications at Centreville
, on the northern side of Bull run
followed to the vicinity of Manassas Junction
and then retraced his steps to the Rappahannock
, subsequently saying, in his report concerning this campaign:
Nothing prevented my continuing in his (Meade's) front but the destitute condition of the men, thousands of whom are barefooted, a greater number partially shod, and nearly all without overcoats, blankets or warm clothing.
I think the sublimest sight of the war was the cheerfulness and alacrity exhibited by this army in the pursuit of the enemy under all the trials and privations to which it was exposed.
, with his usual vigilance and daring, covered the fords on either side of the railroad, and two of Early
's brigades were left on the intrenched trap-dyke hill, on the northern bank of the Rappahannock
, at the railroad