War of the Rebellion: Serial 016 Page 0026 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

Search Civil War Official Records

ward stated to me he had led to the front, that discrepancy has never been explained, and I do not yet understand how General Banks could have been so greatly mistaken as to the forces under his immediate command. I directed him, when he went forward from Culpeper Court-House, that if the enemy advanced to attack him in the strong position which I had instructed him to take up, he should push his skirmishers well to the front and notify me immediately. Three miles in his rear, and within easy supporting distance, Rickett's division, of General McDowell's corps, had been posted at the point where the road from Madison Court-House to Culpeper intersects the road from Culpeper to Cedar Mountain. This division was so posted because it was not certain whether a considerable force of the enemy was not advancing on Culpeper from the direction of Madison Court-House, General Buford having reported to me very early on the morning of the 9th from Madison Court-House that the enemy was in heavy force on his right, his left, and partly on his rear, and that he was retreating in the direction of Sperryville.

Desultory artillery firing had been kept up all day on the 9th in the direction of General Banks' corps, but I continued to receive during the whole of that day reports from General Banks that no considerable force of the enemy except cavalry had come forward, and that though the cavalry had been ostentatiously displayed he did not believe that the enemy was in sufficient force to make any attack upon him. As late as 5 o'clock in the afternoon General Banks wrote me substantially to the same effect, but before I had received this last note the artillery firing had become so rapid and continuous that I feared a general engagement was going on or might be brought on at any moment. I therefore instructed General McDowell to move forward Ricketts' division rapidly to the field and accompanied that division myself. At no time during the day did General Banks express any apprehensions of attack in force by the enemy, nor did he ask nor intimate that he needed re-enforcements.

General Sigel's corps began to march into Culpeper Court-House late in the afternoon, and just as I was leaving that place, having been delayed several hours by General Sigel's singular uncertainty as to what road he ought to pursue. I had given orders a number of days previously that all the troops belonging to the Army of Virginia should be ready to march at the shortest notice and should habitually keep two days' cooked rations in their haversacks. Notwithstanding this order, General Sigel's corps arrived in Culpeper without any rations, and was unable to move forward until provisions could be procured from McDowell's train and cooked at Culpeper Court-House.

I have received no report from General Banks of his operations at Cedar Mountain, but I had sent forward Brigadier-General Roberts, chief of cavalry, of my staff, and had directed him to report to General Banks in the early part of the day of the 9th, and to advise freely with him as to the operations of his corps. General Roberts, as well as General Banks, was fully advised of my wishes, and that I desired General Banks merely to keep the enemy in check by occupying a strong position in his front until the whole of the disposable forces under my command should be concentrated in the neighborhood. General Roberts reported to me that he had conferred freely with General Banks and urgently represented to him my purposes, but that General Banks, contrary to his suggestions and to my wishes, had left the strong position which he had taken up and had advanced at least a mile to assault the enemy, believing that they were not in consider