patrols. As we were most anxious to avoid attracting the enemy's attention to our designs in this quarter, we did not care to pursue the reconnaissance farther. We had seen enough to be convinced of the perfect practicability of the route. To make more certain of the fords, however, Captain Woodbury proposed to return at night, and, with a few Michigan woodsmen from Colonel Sherman's brigade, to endeavor to find them.
On returning to camp it was determined to send Captain Wright and Lieutenant Snyder, Engineers, with Captain Woodbury. At the same time the commanding general directed Captain Whipple, Topographical Engineers, and Lieutenant Prime, Engineers, to make a night reconnaissance of the run between Warrenton Bridge and Blackburn's Ford. Both these night expeditions failed. It was found the enemy occupied the woods too strongly on our side of the run to permit the reconnaissances to be accomplished. it was not our policy to drive in his pickets until we were in motion to attack. On laying before you the information obtained, the commanding general believed himself justified in adopting the following plan of attack, which was decided upon on the 20th:
1. A false attack to be made by Richardson's brigade (temporarily attached to Miles' division) on Blackburn's Ford; the rest of that division remaining in reserve at Centreville.
2. Tyler's division to move from its camp at 3 a. m. (the 21st) towards the stone bridge of the Warrenton turnpike, to feign the main attack upon this point.
3. The divisions of Hunter and Heintzelman (in the order named) to leave their camps at 2.30 a. m. (they were encamped about two or three miles behind tyler), and, following his movement, to diverge from the Warrenton turnpike at the by-road beyond Cub Run, and take the road for Sudley Springs; or, rather, it was provided (if I mistake not) that Hunter's division should proceed to Sudley Springs, and heintzelman to take the lower ford; these matters, however, to be regulated by circumstances.
It was intended that the head of Hunter's division should be at the turn-off at early daylight or about 4 a. m., and that it should reach Sudley by 6 or 7.
Your are aware of the unexpected delay. The two leading brigades of Tyler had not cleared the road for Hunter to this point until 5.30; and our guide, alleging that a nearer route to the ford would bring our columns in sight of the enemy's batteries, led them by so circuitous a way that Hunter did not reach Sudley until 9.30, or thereabouts. Accompanying the commanding general, we, as you are aware, after waiting two or three hours at the turn-off, rode on to overtake the front of Hunter's division. When we emerged from the woods (nearly northeast of Sudley) into the open country, from whence the course of the run and the slopes of the opposite shore could be seen, we could perceive the enemy's columns in motion to meet us. The loss of time here in great measure thwarted our plan. We had hoped to pass the ford and reach the rear of the enemy's defenses at Warrenton stone bridge before he could assemble a sufficient force to cope with us.
It now became necessary to have Tyler's division force the passage of the bridge. it had always been intended that this division should pass at or near the bridge; but it was hoped, by taking its defenses in rear, it could be passed without force. The commanding general promptly sent orders to Tyler to press his attack with all vigor. I had yet much confidence that, though we had been anticipated (owing to