Numbers 33. HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF VIRGINIA, Rappahannock Station, August 23, 1862-8.30 a.m. (Received 9 a. m.)
The heavy storm of yesterday and last night has caused the river to rise 6 feet. There are no longer any fords, and the bridges are carried away. I succeeded in time in withdrawing my advanced forces from the south side of the river. The movement across the river on the enemy's flank and rear is therefore impossible. The enemy's forces on this side which have crossed at Sulphur Springs and Hedgaman's River are cut off from those on the south side. I march at once with my whole force on Sulphur Springs, Waterloo Bridge, and Warrenton, in the hope to destroy these forces before the river runs down. The rain still continues, and I think we are good for thirty-six hours. As soon as I have effected this purpose, which I hope to do by an early hour to-morrow, I shall move back, detaching a large force to reopen my communications at Catlett's and send forward supplies. If Heintzelman and Cox move quickly it will be easy to hold the Rappahannock, leaving the enemy much by his attempt to turn our right. You may not hear from me before to-morrow night.
Numbers 34. HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF VIRGINIA, August 23, 1862-11 a. m.
You will please, on arriving at Rappahannock Station, follow the route taken by the army corps of General McDowell, passing Brigadier-General Tower, who is in command of the rear guard, and whom you will find near the railroad station. Please keep well closed, and close up to the rear of McDowell's corps. Our march is the Warenton, about 10 miles distant, which you must make to-night.
By command of General Pope, commanding Army of Virginia:
T. C. H. SMITH,
Lieutenant-Colonel and Aide-de-Camp.
Numbers 35. HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF VIRGINIA, Near Warrenton, August 23, 1862-10 p. m. (Received August 24, 8.40 a. m.)
My advance entered the town about an hour ago, the enemy evacuating it on our approach. They fell back toward Hedgerman's River and Sulphur Springs. At the letter place my left was engaged about sunset, and now awaits daylight. I shall move rapidly at daylight upon Sulphur Springs and Waterloo Bridge. If the enemy is really in large force on this side of the Rappahannock he will be trapped, as the river is very high behind. I will communicate further to-morrow morning.