strong force so disposed as to entrap them. And the defeat of an expeditions which might have proved so embarrassing entitles the officers who effected it to the award of distinguished skill and generalship.
On the morning of the 13th, the army concentrated at Warrenton, the cavalry holding the roads from the east side, which was now the direction of the enemy. About 10 a.m. I was directed by the commanding general to make a reconnaissance with the cavalry force available toward Catlett's Station. I sent forward Lomax's brigade in the direction of Catlett's Station, and followed with the brigades of Funsten and Gordon, the former (which had now been joined by the Seventh and Eleventh Regiments) in front. General Lomax advanced as far as Auburn, where he ascertained that the enemy occupied Warrenton Junction in force, and halted his command until my arrival. I directed him to remain at this point and hold the road from Auburn to Warrenton Junction; and having thus guarded against an attack on my rear, I continued to advance toward Catlett's Station, sending reconnoitering parties under Captain Blackford, of the Engineers,off to my right toward Three-Mile Station, on the Warrenton Branch, where a body of the enemy appeared to be concentrated. Arriving cautiously beyond Saint Andrew's Church, in plain view of the enemy at Catlett's Station and Warrenton Junction, I discovered that he was really retreating toward Manassas, and had an immense part of wagons stationed between Warrenton Junction and Catlett's.
There appeared to be here an excellent opportunity for the main body to move down and attack the enemy in motion during the night, and I hastened to send this valuable information to the commanding general, selecting for the purpose my inspector-general (Major Venable), who, upon arriving near Auburn, discovered that the enemy was in possession thereof, sent me word to the effect, and then made a detour so as to avoid them, and reached the commanding general with the information with which he was intrusted. I received a confirmation of Major Venable's statement from Captain Blackford, who had now returned from his reconnaissance, and reported a column of the enemy moving in that direction.
By 9 p.m. I had received no notification from General Lomax that the enemy had dispossessed him of his position at Auburn, though he informs me that a courier was sent with the information. I had with me seven pieces of artillery and the force of cavalry already named, with which I could have inflicted damage on the enemy and his immense trains, but believing that a more decided result could be obtained by a movement of our whole army, I carefully concealed my force from view, and anxiously awaited the expected move. It was growing late when the news of the enemy's occupying Auburn reached me. I moved at once for Auburn,but it was dark before I reached that place, and I was skirmishing with the enemy after dark near Auburn. That was the only road of egress toward Warrenton. On my right, as I was now facing, was woods, and on my left for several miles a mill-race. In this predicament I was not long in deciding to conceal my whereabouts, if possible, from the enemy; communicate,if possible,to the commanding general the movement of the enemy that was then progressing, and patiently await the dawn of morning.
It will be perceived that the enemy's column diverged at Warrenton Junction, and embracing me converged again in the direction of