with heavy force my whole command must be captured, and suggesting the propriety of my attempting to extricate my force with that at the Springs by moving up the river toward Waterloo Bridge. This was sent by a messenger, with directions to swim the river with it if possible. Before this note could be delivered I received a verbal message from General Jackson, which had been delivered across the river at the Springs and was brought to me by a sergeant of one of the batteries at that place, directing me to move up toward the Springs and take command of all the force there, and post my command with the left flank resting on the river and the right on a creek to the north of the Springs which emptied into the river below and was past fording also, there being no enemy in the fork, and stating that he was having the bridge repaired across the river, which would soon be in a condition for infantry to pass over. In a short time afterward I received a note from General Jackson in response to mine, containing similar instructions, and directing me in addition to move up toward Waterloo Bridge if the enemy appeared in too heavy force, keeping close to the river, and informing me that he would follow along the opposite bank with his whole force to cover my movement. I accordingly moved up toward the Springs, posting Colonel Walker with his regiment (the Thirteenth Virginia) and the Thirty-first Virginia on the road, so as to protect my rear. On getting near the Springs I found that Colonel Douglass had moved his regiment and the artillery to a hill just below the Springs which runs cross from the river to the creek mentioned, and along this I posted the Twelfth Georgia Regiment, the Twenty-fifth, Forty-fourth, Forty-ninth, Fifty-second, and Fifty-eighth Virginia Regiments, with the Thirteenth Georgia on the left, all being so disposed as to present a front to the northwest, the rear being guarded by Colonel Walker with the Thirteenth and Thirty-first Virginia Regiments, and the right flank, which was the only one exposed, being secure for a short time on account of the condition of the creek, which is called Great Run. Companies were thrown out on this flank to prevent any attempt to cross the creek, and a bridge which was partially flooded was destroyed. A body of the enemy's cavalry was discovered early in the morning by Colonel Douglass on the north of the creek, and they were hovering around my right flank on the opposite side of the creek all the morning. During the morning General Jackson sent over an officer to pilot one of my staff officers over the route to Waterloo Bridge, which it might be necessary to pass over in case of emergency, and my adjutant-general (Major Samuel Hale, jr.) was sent with him to ascertain the route.
In the mean time the creek began to fall rapidly, and in the afternoon it was in a condition to be crossed. It also began to be evident that the enemy was moving up from below in heavy force and that my command was in a critical condition. It was entirely concealed from the enemy's view by being posted in the woods, and this fact no doubt saved it, for it was evident the enemy was aware of the fact that a force was across the river, and from the caution with which he moved he thought it was much larger than it really was.
Late in the afternoon a heavy column of infantry with artillery made its appearance opposite to my right flank, and I then changed my front so as to present it toward the enemy, without, however, his being aware of it, as my whole movement was concealed from his view by the woods. The artillery was also so posted as not to be observed by him.
About this time Colonel [Brigadier-General] Robertson, with two or three regiments of cavalry and two pieces of artillery, came from the direction of Warrenton, and after consulting with me posted two pieces of