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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 12, Part 2 (Second Manassas)
Page 329 Chapter XXIV. CAMPAIGN IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA.

the Pennsylvania and New Jersey, had severe duty to perform in holding the enemy in check.

There are two officers of my staff (aides-de-camp) who are deserving of special mention in this connection - Captain Leski and Captain Howard Stockton. Having had no officers of Topographical Engineers, they were placed on this duty, and were constantly in front, exerting themselves with a zeal and intelligence that accomplished much for the army, and especially for the advance.

On the 11th nothing in the way of hostilities occurred between the two armies. The burial of the dead and care of the wounded were effected under an informal flat of truce.

On the 12th King's division joined from Fredericksburg, and on the same day the enemy retired from our front across Robertson's River, going, according to the reports of our scouts and the lookouts, from the mountains back to Gordonsville, or, at all events, his main body disappearing from the banks of the Rapidan.

As it was not intended we should go beyond the Rapidan, but to continue to threaten its passage, the strongest defensible position north of that river and east of its northern tributary, Robertson's River, was occupied by the army;Major-General Sigel's corps on the right, his right touching Robertson's River; the Third Corps in the center; Major-General Reno, who, at the head of the re-enforcments coming up the Potomac to Aquia Creek, had followed King's division from Fredericksburg, on the left, his left near the Rapidan,

and General Banks in reserve at the little town of Culpeper Court-House - the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, which had been repaired, going through the center of the position. The army was in the forks of the Rapphannock and its tributary, the Rapidan. These two streams rise in the Blue Ridge and run through the Bull run or Piedmont Ridge. Beyond the Rapidan and close to the river the Piedmont Ridge, which disappears at Warrenton, begins again nearly opposite the left of our line, held by Reno, and stretches off to the southwest to Lynchburg.

On the morning of the 18th one of our spies, who had been with the enemy's army, came and reported to your that the enemy had accumulated all his forces, including several divisions just up from Richmond, behind the ridge immediately beyond the river and opposite our extreme left. His artillery horses were all harnessed, and they were expecting orders to march every moment down the river, to cross at Raccoon Ford to get in our rear. This movement, which had been completely hidden from our sight by the ridge, and even from that of our lookouts on the top of Thoroughfare Mountain, was one made in the direction which had been expected from the first, and had for its object the interposing of the whole of the enemy's between our army and its re-enforcements, then coming up from Aquia Creek and Fredericksburg and from Alexandria by way of Manassas Junction.

The information was importance and received in time, provided the enemy gave us that day and night the start.

Your orders for the army to retire forthwith behind the Rapphannock required that the reserve corps (Bank's) should immediately send its baggage to the rear, by way of Brandy Station, to the Orange and Alexandria Railroad crossing of the Rappahannock; that the trains of the Third Army Corps should follow those of Banks; that those of Sigel should follow the Third Corps to Culpeper, and then go by the Warrenton road to the Sulphur Springs crossing of the Rappahannock, some 6 miles above the railroad crossing; that Reno should take the


Page 329 Chapter XXIV. CAMPAIGN IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 12, Part 2 (Second Manassas)
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