the enemy in possession of the works on the north side, the troops were withdrawn at night to the only tenable line, north of Culpeper, between that place and Brandy Station, which they continued to hold without molestation during Sunday, the trains being sent back toward the Rapidan. The position was not, however, a good one, and I accordingly withdrew on Sunday night to the south bank of the Rapidan, where a general battle can be delivered on more favorable terms. The army now occupies about the same position as before the recent advance.
I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS,
President of the Confederate States, Richmond, Va.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
November 20, 1863.
GENERAL: I have the honor to report that after the return of the army of the Rappahannock it was disposed on both sides of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, General Ewell's corps on the right and General Hill's on the left, with the cavalry on each flank. The troops were placed as near the river as suitable ground for encampment could be found, and most of the artillery sent to the nearest point in the rear where the animals could be foraged. To hold the line of the Rappahannock at this part of its course, it was deemed advantageous to maintain our communication with the north bank; to threaten any flank movement the enemy might make above or below, and thus compel him to divide his forces, when it was hoped that an opportunity would be presented to concentrate on one or the other part. For this purpose a point was selected a short distance above the site of the railroad bridge, where the hills on each side of the river afforded protection to our pontoon bridge and increased the means of defense.
The enemy had previously constructed some small earth-works on these hills to repel an attack from the south. That on the north side was converted into a tete-de-pont, and a line of rile trenches extended along the crest on the right and left to the river bank. The works on the south side were remodeled, and sunken batteries for additional guns constructed on an adjacent hill to the left. Higher up on the same side and east of the railroad near the river bank, sunken batteries for two guns and rifle-pits were arranged to command the railroad embarkment, under cover of which the enemy might advance. These works were slight, but were deemed adequate to accomplish the object for which they were intended.
The pontoon bridge was considered a sufficient means of communication, as in the event of the troops north of the river being compelled to withdraw, their crossing could be covered by the artillery and infantry in the works on the south side. Four pieces of artillery were placed in the tete-de-pont and eight others on the works opposite. The defense of this position was instructed to Lieutenant-General Ewell's corps and the troops of Johnston's and Early's divisions guarded them alternately, Rodes' division being stationed near Kelly's Ford.
The enemy began to rebuilt the railroad as soon as we withdrew