Today in History:

25 Series I Volume XII-II Serial 16 - Second Manassas Part II


nock above Falmouth the Rapidan was lined with cavalry pickets. On the top of Thoroughfare Mountain, about half way between Generals Bayard and Buford, was established a signal station, which overlooked the whole country as far south as Orange Court-House.

On the 7th I proceeded to Sperryville and inspected the corps of Major-General Sigel. I remained at Sperryville until 4 o'clock on the afternoon of that day, during which time I received several reports from the front that the enemy was crossing the Rapidan at several points between the railroad crossing of that river and Liberty Mills. I reached Culpeper Court-House on the morning of the 8th of August. The town had been occupied for several days by Crawford's brigade, of General Banks' corps, and on the 7th Ricketts' division, of McDowell's corps, had also reached there from Waterloo Bridge. During the whole of the morning of the 8th I continued to receive reports from General Bayard, who was slowly falling back in the direction of Culpeper Court-House from the advance of the enemy, and from General Buford, who also reported the enemy advancing in heavy force upon Madison Court-House. My instructions required me to be careful and keep my communications good with Fredericksburg, and by no means to permit the enemy to interpose between me and that place. Although during the whole of the 8th of August it was very doubtful, from the reports of Generals Bayard and Buford, whether the enemy's movement was in the direction of Madison Court-House or of Culpeper, I considered it advisable, in view of my relations with Fredericksburg, to concentrate my whole force in the direction of Culpeper, so as to keep myself constantly interposed between the main body of the enemy had the lower fords of the Rappahannock. Early in the day I pushed forward Crawford's brigade, of Banks' corps, in the direction of Cedar, or Slaughter, Mountain, to support General Bayard, who was falling slowly back in that direction, and to assist him as far as practicable in determining the movements and the forces of the enemy. I sent orders also to General Banks to move forward promptly from Hazel River to Culpeper Court-House, and also to General Sigel to march at once from Sperryville to the same place. To my surprise I received after night on the 8th a note from General Sigel, dated at Sperryville at 6.30 that afternoon, asking me by what road he should march to Culpeper Court-House. As there was but one road between those two points, and that a broad stone turnpike, I was at a loss to understand how General Sigel could entertain any doubt as to the road by which he should march. This doubt, however, delayed the arrival of his corps at Culpeper Court-House several hours, and rendered it impracticable for that corps to be pushed to the front, as I had designed, on the afternoon of the next day.

Early on the morning of the 9th of August I directed General Banks to move forward toward Cedar Mountain with his whole corps, and to join the brigade of that corps, under General Crawford, which had been pushed forward on the day previous. I directed General Banks to take up a strong position at or near the point occupied by that brigade, to check the advance of the enemy, and to determine his forces and the character of his movement as far as practicable. The consolidated report of General Banks' corps, received some days previously, exhibited an effective force of something over 14,000 men. Appended to this report will be found the return in question. It appeared subsequently, however, that General Banks' forces at that time did not exceed 8,000 men; but although I several times called General Banks' attention to the discrepancy between his return and the force he after