road by which he came, and which led him back to Kelly's Ford, some 6 miles below the railroad crossing. The movement of the trains - unfortunately very large - was followed by the march of troops in the same order - the troops commencing to move after midnight so as to allow the trains to get some distance ahead if possible. The size of the trains, the night march, the corps having for a large part of the way to sue the same road, made a retreat a very tedious and wearisome one to the troops, although it was entirely successful and effected without loss or accident, but the troops did not reach the Rappahannock until the evening of the 19th.
Bayard's cavalry, being charged with covering the rear of the column, got no farther than Culpeper that night. The next morning, the 20th, agreeably to the instructions given him, he took post at Brandy Station, half way between Culpeper Court-House and the Rappahannock, and sent out strong parties in all the roads coming from the enemy's position. The party sent out on the Raccon Ford road soon came upon the head of the enemy's column, which had made the expected movement, but too late to intercept us. The enemy followed up the cavalry to Brandy Station and thence to the Rapphannock, some skirmishing taking place on the way, and the cavalry retiring across the river.
the entire corps, with the exception of a small party thrown in advance at the head of the bridge, now occupied the left or north bank of the Rappahannock, with General Sigels' corps on the right, General Banks' corps partly in reserve and partly on the left and Reno's corps below us, at Kelly's Ford, and Reynold's division, formerly under my command, and which it was soon to rejoin, coming up the river from Fredericksburg. I understood it was desired the line of the Rappahannock should be held as long as possible, to gain time for the troops coming up the Potomac to join, and particularly those coming by way of Aquia and Fredericksburg, who would be liable to be cut off if we should give up the river before they arrived. The Rappahannock above the mouth of the Rapidan is an inconsiderable stream, and fordable at most seasons every few miles. The Third Corps was posted at and above the railroad bridge, which had been so arranged as to serve for artillery and cavalry. The advance, a regiment of Hartsuff's brigade, was posted on two small hills on the southern side of the river, between the line of the railroad and the river. The first one was about 150 yards from the road and as many from the river; the second some 400 yards from the road and 600 from the river. On the first was a small intrenchment, thrown up by the enemy at the time of their retreat from Manassas last spring. That evening a battery of artillery and a regiment of infantry, from Banks' corps, I think, were sent by you to guard a ford to the right of my line.
Early on the morning of the 21st the enemy attempted the ford held by the battery and regiment on my right and drove them away, dispersing the regiment and disabling the battery. King's division was immediately sent up to retake the position, which it soon did, driving the enemy back with loss, and taking some of the cavalry prisoners. The rifled batteries of both divisions now lined the river bank in such position as commanded the opposite shore and gave shelter to our troops. The enemy's fire disabled three guns in Naylor's battery, but they themselves were equally damaged in return by the accurate fire of Hall's battery, which finally compelled them to retire.
On the 22nd, fearing the enemy might gain possession of the most advanced hill, near the bridge, which it was desirable to hold, in the