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GEN. POPE'S MILITARY PLANS.
After the great mistake of the "change of base,” this was the only programme which offered any probability of success to the Union army ; and though involving hazard and heavy fighting on the part of Gen. Pope's army, there was every reason for believing that, with the hearty co-operation of the two armies, it could not fail of success. Its progress, and the causes which led to its failure, it is now our duty to show.
Almost immediately after taking command of the army of Virginia, in the first days of July, Gen. Pope instructed Gen. King, who commanded one of Gen. McDowell's two remaining divisions, at Fredericksburg, to send forward detachments of his cavalry to operate upon the line of the Virginia central rail-road, and as far as possible, to embarrass and destroy the communication between Richmond and the valley of the Shenandoah. The expeditions sent out by Gen. King, in accordance with this order, were completely successful, and succeeded in breaking up that rail-road at several points. In pursuance of the design he had formed, he ordered Gen. Banks, about the same time, to send forward an infantry brigade, with all his cavalry, to march rapidly upon Culpepper Court House, and after taking possession of that place, to push forward cavalry toward the Rapidan, in the direction of Gordonsville.
On the 14th of July, he directed Gen. Banks to send forward that night the whole of his cavalry, under Brigadier General Hatch, with orders to make a rapid march upon Gordonsville, to occupy it, and with a part of his force to destroy the rail-road for ten or fifteen miles east of the town, and with the remainder, to proceed westward in the direction of Charlottesville, and destroy the bridges, and interrupt, as far as practicable, that line of communication. Had this been accomplished, the progress of the enemy would have been seriously delayed ; but Gen. Hatch, instead of taking cavalry only, took infantry, artillery, and a wagon train also, and going by
a circuitous route, had only reached Madison Court House on the 17th of July, and meantime the advance of "Stonewall: Jackson's forces, under General Ewell, had reached Gordonsville on the 16th.
Finding himself thwarted in this important movement, through the negligence or disobedience of Gen. Hatch, Gen. Pope next direoted that officer to select, from his own cavalry and that of Gen. McDowell which he had sent forward, fifteen hundred or two thousand of the best mounted men, and proceed from Madison Court House around the west side of Blue Ridge, to a point whence he could make an easy descent the rail-road at Waynesborough or its vicinity, and if successful, to push forward to Charlottesville and destroy the Orange and Alexandria rail-road between that town and Charlottesville.
This, with Gen. King's previous movements, would have effectually cut off rail-road communication between Richmond and Gordonsville, and thus have delayed the progress of Jackson's main army.
But Gen. Hatch again proved faithless or inefficient, and after commencing the movement as directed, speedily abandoned it, and returned to his post by way of Sperryville. For this second failure, Gen. Pope promptly and very properly relieved him from his command, and appointed Gen. Buford to the position of chief of the cavalry of Banks' corps.
On the 29th of July, Gen. Pope took the field in person, and after reviewing Ricketts' division of McDowell's corps, proceeded to Gen. Banks' head-quarters, a few miles south-east of Little Washington, Rappahannock county. On the 7th of August, all his infantry and artillery force, except King's division, were stationed along the turnpike, from Sperryville to Culpepper, and numbered about twenty-eight thousand men. As already stated, Gen. King's division, and a brigade of Sigel's corps were left at Fredericksburg.
The cavalry were in advance of this line ; Gen. Buford,
TOPOGRAPHY OF HIS FIELD,
with five regiments, being posted at Madison Court House, with his pickets along the Rapidan river from Burnett's Ford, as far west as the Blue Ridge ; with a brigade of infantry, and a battery of artillery, from Sigel's corps, to support him, stationed where the road from Madison Court House to Sperryville crosses Robertson's river. Gen. Bayard, with four regiments of cavalry, held a position near Rapidan station, at the point where the Orange and Alexandria rail-road crosses the Rapidan river, and his pickets, connecting with Gen. Buford's at Burnett's Ford, extended to the east as far as Raccoon Ford, and thence to the forks of the Rappahannock, to connect with Gen. King's. A signal station was established on Thoroughfare Mountain, about half-way between Generals Buford and Bayard, which over-looked the whole country as far south as Orange Court House.
Having thus designated the position of Gen. Pope's army at the commencement of the active campaign, let us glance briefly at the prominent physical features of the country in which that campaign was to be conducted. The territory occupied by the opposing forces may be described in general terms as bounded on the south by the Rapidan and Rappahannock rivers ; on the east and north-east by the Potomac ; on the north by a line drawn from the mouth of Difficult Creek through Aldie Gap to the Blue Ridge ; on the northwest by the Blue Ridge, and on the west, by the turnpike from Front Royal to Orange Court House.
The southern portion of this tract is drained by the Rappahannock, which is formed by the union, about fifteen miles above Fredericksburg, of two very considerable rivers, the north fork of the Rappahannock, often called the Rappahannock, and the Rapidan. Both have their sources in the Blue Ridge, the north fork rising near Front Royal, and the Rapidan nearly fifty miles farther south. Both are deep and quickly raised by the rains, which fall so frequently in the moud
GEN. JACKSON'S RAID.
tains, yet both are fordable, except after heavy rains, at points within a few miles from each other. The north fork is crossed at three points by good bridges, viz: about ten miles above its junction with the Rapidan, at Rappahannock Station, on the Orange and Alexandria rail-road, and at Waterloo bridge, near the Warrenton sulphur springs. Between these points there are three good fords, and above Waterloo there are frequent fords, in the ordinary stage of the water.
The only considerable stream north of the Rappahannock, in this tract, is Bull Run creek and its affluents, a tributary of the Potomac. These affluents, Cedar Run, Kettle Run, Broad Run, and Cub Run, were all of them more or less important in reference to the battle which followed. A single chain of high hills, outliers from the Blue Ridge, traverses the district, though broken by the streams which cross it. In the southern part, indeed, it forms distinct and isolated summits, like Thoroughfare Mountain and Cedar Mountain, while between is but a gently rolling surface, but from Warrenton, northward, it is a continuous chain, known as the Bull Run Mountains, and only broken by Thoroughfare and Hopeville Gaps.
The Orange and Alexandria rail-road passes diagonally through the tract, and is joined by the Manassas Gap rail-road, from the west, at Manassas Junction, near the site of the first Bull Run battle, and by the Warrenton branch, also from the west, at Warrenton Junction. Most of the battles of the campaign were fought in the immediate vicinity of one or other of these rail-roads, or on the turnpike extending from Alexandria to Thoroughfare Gap, which runs nearly parallel with the upper portion of the Orange and Alexandria and Manassas Gap rail-roads.
It became evident, on the 7th of August, that Jackson was moving forward upon the Union troops, with the intention of compelling them to fight or retreat, and leave him a clear