impressions of the character of the movement as well as every step of its progress.
There was a long and unnecessary delay at Cedar Run, improved by the enemy, confronted by about 50 cavalry, in making a grand display, apparently of his entire force, in battle array on the opposite side of Cedar Run, while an extensive line of skirmishers and a battery of artillery exchanged shots with a few of Captain Blackford's company, First Virginia Cavalry, dismounted, with Sharps carbines.
It was ascertained here that they had a large wagon train, which was very ostentatiously paraded to view. A careful estimate of the force was made from the favorable opportunity this afforded, and Captain Blackford, on duty at the time, set it at 10,000. I believe, therefore, that to be the maximum; but to know whether supporting columns were in rear became of the utmost importance, and I that night, as I wrote to the general, selected Principal Musician David Drake to head a small party of observation to reach the railroad in rear of the enemy's position an report before morning. The officer to whom I specially intrusted starting Drake (Colonel Jones) forgot to deliver my message, consequently the party failed to start until next morning.
The enemy failed to make any move till 11.30 a. m. the next day, at which time their column was observed in motion along the line of the railroad and marched steadily upon Bealeton Station, where my reserves of cavalry and 300 infantry were then located. I made dispositions for defense, determined not to leave till his approach was so near as to make his intention to march to that int unmistakable. From the open ground about Bealeton I commanded a fine view of the column advancing slowly, but steadily, using a caution very characteristic of the enemy, and which greatly facilitated a close observation of his movements, which opportunity I did not fail to improve. When within about a mile of Bealeton they formed line of battle, and having delayed there as much as practicable by a show of resistance, I dispatched the infantry first slowly to the rear and kept part of the cavalry menacing his front, sending Colonel Robertson on the right and Colonel Jones on the left to threaten the enemy's flanks, with orders to carry it as far as compatible with safety, and then retire diagonally toward the railroad bridge. Time was thus given the infantry to retire 4 miles with perfect regularity, even slowness, and to join their respective regiments, under General Ewell, fresh for combat, instead of jaded and panic-stricken. Upon arriving near the bridge, to gain additional time to remove some cars of stores, I ordered Captain Blackford to dismount a few of his men and take post in advance to check the enemy's advance, and I also stationed my own battle-flag so as to show above the crest of the ridge, to represent a regiment. Some half a dozen men thus held the advance of the enemy, with infantry, cavalry, and artillery, at bay till all the stores were removed. My cavalry, having forded the river, were directed by me to extend General Ewell's lines in line, and subsequently I acted under orders of General Ewell.
The scout I sent to the enemy's rear returned next morning while the enemy's skirmishers were reported still in view opposite us, and reported that the wagon train was on its way back the day before beyond Warrenton Junction. Believing the enemy to be already in retreat, I ordered all the cavalry to horse and proceeded immediately to follow in pursuit. Colonel Jones, First Virginia Cavalry, led the way and pressed the pursuit with great vigor and success - capturing about 25 officers and men, mostly cavalry, and wounding several - to the near vicinity of Warrenton Junction, where the enemy was encamped