CROSSING OF THE RAPPAHANNOCK AND AFFAIR AT WARRENTON SPRINGS AUGUST 23.
The remainder of the division proceeded to the vicinity of the Warrenton Springs, on the southern bank, and late in the afternoon the Thirteenth Georgia Regiment, of Lawton's brigade, under Colonel Douglass, was crossed at the Springs, capturing a few cavalrymen on picket at that place. Brown's and Dement's batteries, of four guns each, were also crossed over at this point. My own brigade, under the superintendence of General Ewell, who was acting under General Jackson's orders, was crossed over, about a mile below the Springs on an old dilapidated dam, formerly built for purposes of navigation, and Hays' brigade, under Colonel [H.] Forno, was ordered to follow; but as my brigade did not succeeded in crossing until it was nearly dark, and the crossing was exceedingly difficult, Hays' brigade was left on the south bank for the night. My orders were to occupy a woods on the north bank of the river immediately in front of the place at which I crossed and to establish communications with General Lawton, the whole of whose brigade I was informed would cross over at the Springs. Before I was ordered to cross over there had been quite a heavy shower of rain, which had somewhat swollen the river, and it was raining when I crossed. I moved the brigade into the woods indicated, General Ewell having recrossed after seeing the whole of my brigade over, and in extending the left into the woods on a line parallel with the river a road was found running from the Springs through this body of woods toward the fords and Rappahannock Station below. My left was posted near this road, the right extending to an old field just below where I had crossed. Pickets were put out in front and on the flanks, and Major A. L. Pitzer, my volunteer aide, was dispatched to find his way to the Springs and communicate with General Lawton. It had become exceedingly dark by this time, and Major Pitzer, in endeavoring to get to the Springs, rode upon a party of six of the enemy's cavalry, who had passed up the road a few moments before we had reached it. He was made a prisoner by this party, who were endeavoring to make their way to the Springs, but finding some difficulty in the way had halted. After he had been compelled to surrender his arms the party started with him back on the road they had come, and the major, with great presence of mind, informed them that they were all his prisoners; that if they attempted to pass out in any direction they would be fired upon by some of our pickets, as they were completely surrounded, but if they submitted to his directions he would take them in safe, which they concluded to do, and the major did actually bring them in as prisoners after they had captured him. After this attempt I did not deem it prudent to make another effort to establish communication with the Springs that night, as it was very dark and threatening rain, and there was no one in the command who had sufficient knowledge of the localities to find the way.
During the night there was a very heavy rain and in the morning I found that the river had become very much swollen, and was so high as to defy all attempts at crossing, and a messenger sent to the Springs returned with the information that only the Thirteenth Georgia Regiment, of Lawton's brigade, had crossed over the night before. As soon as I ascertained the condition of things I dispatched a note for General Ewell or General Jackson, whichever should be first met with, informing them of my condition, and that if the enemy should come upon me
45 R R - VOL XII, PT II