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[251] Sturgis' brigade, two thousand; cavalry, five thousand.1 He had no enemy in front, and therefore desired to take advantage of this situation to gain ground, and endeavor to cut off the means of communication of the Confederates at Gordonsville. Banks carried Crawford's brigade to occupy the village of Culpepper, and his cavalry appeared along the banks of the Rapidan. On the 14th, Pope sent him instructions from Washington to make a demonstration as far as Gordonsville, and not to return until he had destroyed the railway track. But General Hatch, who was entrusted with this mission, encumbered his column of infantry with so heavy a train of artillery and wagons that his march was considerably delayed. When he reached Madison Court-house, on the 17th, he learned that Jackson had reached Gordonsville the day before, and he withdrew without accomplishing anything.

These preliminary operations had been directed by Pope from his office at Washington. On the 29th of July, he came at last to assume command of his army, after having availed himself of his sojourn in the Federal capital to induce the President to accept his plan of campaign. He was one of those who had most severely denounced McClellan's march toward the James after the battle of Gaines' Mill, and subsequently insisted with the greatest importunity upon the recall of the army of the Potomac to the banks of the Rappahannock. On leaving the city he was promised that this measure should be carried out, although, as we have already observed, the decision of the President was to be kept from General McClellan for several days, and he was to facilitate the embarkation of the Federal troops at Harrison's Landing by drawing the attention of the enemy to the borders of the Rapidan by vigorous demonstrations.

In the presence of an enemy like Jackson he might be sure of not having long to wait for the coveted opportunity to measure strength with his new adversaries.

Ricketts, who commanded a division of McDowell's corps, was at Culpepper, where Crawford's brigade of Banks' corps had already preceded him some time before. On the 7th of August, Banks, with the remainder of his forces, drew near to Culpepper,

1 See Note C, Appendix to this volume.

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