The Folwell letters, June 22, 1863: “Still at Edwards Ferry”

For Monday, June 22, 1863, Captain William W. Folwell offered a short entry:

Monday [June 22], 8 A.M.

Still at Edwards Ferry.  Beautiful morning.  All quiet.  We shall probably move or rather make our camp this morning across the canal on to a pleasant hill-side. [Lieutenant James L.] Robbins goes to Washington to-day, I presume. He will attend to sending up our baggage and Co. books.  He will send up an express box with “goodies” from home. We could live very well up here if we could get bread. The natives around here scarcely use it, but make all kinds of short cakes and biscuit, which to me are an abomination.  We hope to have a mail within two or three days. Oh, I am so stupid.

Unclear to me if the last sentence was in reference to some missed opportunity with the mail, or a general self-deprecating remark.  Something lost to time.

Very little here of the war situation.  Just an uneventful day in an eventful campaign.  When that occurs, the focus is, as we see in the entry, upon things such as mail and food.  As a Loudoun County resident, I can take some pride that the “abominable” short cakes and biscuits which Folwell referenced were on the Maryland-side.  You know, over in Montgomery County.

Adding some that broader context here, June 22 saw an attempted ambush of Major John S. Mosby’s command.  Then later in the day came orders for the engineers to place a bridge over Goose Creek near the mouth.  The engineers were also to look into blazing a path from the Eleventh Corps camps (near where modern Dulles Toll Road crosses Goose Creek) down to Edwards Ferry.  And in addition, elements from the First Corps constructed a bridge over Goose Creek at the Alexandria-Leesburg Turnpike.  We’d call these tasks part of the “mobility” function of combat engineers.  In other words, making it easier to move friendly troops.  Specific to the situation on June 22, the bridges and blazed path would allow movement of the First and Eleventh Corps to reinforce the Twelfth Corps then in Leesburg.  Furthermore, as events would later dictate, would allow the movement of the army to Edwards Ferry and thence across the Potomac.  Those mobility corridors, built by the engineers and other detailed troops, would save the army hours of marching time in the days which followed.

Something that gets overlooked when we focus on valuable minutes on the battlefield of Gettysburg is that hours were saved, spent, and, at times, wasted on the roads from the Rappahannock to Adams County… by both sides.

(Citations from William Watts Fowell, Civil War Diary, unpublished, transcription retrieved from University of Minnesota Library, pages 415 (pages 421 of scanned copy))

The Folwell letters, June 21, 1863: “…we had a fine bridge 1340 ft. long.”

Last week, we left Captain William W. Folwell at Edwards Ferry with night approaching on June 20, 1863.  That date and place are important to the discussion of the Gettysburg Campaign.  The first bridge over the Potomac at that point would later provide the path for the Army of the Potomac to move north.  Not to play this up too much (well… it is my shtick), as without doubt the army would have found someplace to cross the river eventually.  But as the events did play out, Edwards Ferry is where the army crossed.  As such, to understand the “downstream” events, we have to understand the particulars upstream.  In other words, if you want to start talking July 1, 1863 then let’s roll back to understand how the armies got there in the first place.

And with respect to what happened ten days later, June 21 was important for at least two events – The battle of Upperville and the laying of the first bridge at Edwards Ferry.  The former changed the way Federal leaders perceived the developing situation.  The latter, originally suggested by Major-General Henry Slocum for logistic reasons, would take on greater importance just days later when Federal leaders decided to act upon those changes to the situation (as they perceived it…).

Looking at all this at the lower, detailed level, we find Folwell on the Maryland side of Edwards Ferry and about to be involved with the second of those important events:

Edwards Ferry, Md., June 21st, 1863.

Friday night, as I have already written you, we, the Regulars and our three Cos., C, F and I [50th New York Engineers], came here from Monocacy.  Yesterday, we lay here all day idle.  In the afternoon, it rained and I put up some shelter tents and went to sleep under them….

As things are apt to play out, men involved with great events tend to be surrounded by a lot of mundane, ordinary “living my life” events.  Such as a soldier trying to keep dry.  But in the next sentence, the bridge building started:

At dark, the order came to build the bridge.  We backed our rafts into the river and poled them to place.  The Regulars began from the Md. shore.  Capt. [Charles] Turnbull decided it was too dark to attempt building from both shores at once, and therefore, ordered our Cos. to lay down on the raft and rest till day-light. I lay down with my men wrapped in a blanket and slept so soundly that had I not found my blanket soaking wet this morning, I should not have known that it had rained.

I hate to chop this up with annotations, but this is somewhat important in the bridging story.  We have here a first hand account indicating the use of the river lock at Edwards Ferry:

Edwards Ferry 26 Apr 044

This river lock was built with the intention of moving boats from the Goose Creek Canal (on the Virginia side) over to the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal.  Just days before, when Folwell and others were contemplating a bridge at Nolan’s Ferry, the engineers had to work out arrangements for moving boats and equipment over the canal berm into the river.  The river lock made such unnecessary at Edwards Ferry.   So the boats, as packed and formed into rafts at Georgetown, could be taken out to the river without leaving the water.

But after the equipment was on the river, the engineers opted to wait until daylight.  Was that an unnecessary delay?  Well, on that evening the moon was in waxing phase. Illumination that night was 17%.  The moon sat just after 10 P.M.  In short, Turnbull’s decision was probably wise, provided one wished to have an orderly bridge that connected in the middle!

So after one more night of rest, in the rain mind you, Folwell and company had work to do on June 21:

At daylight, we carried our material to the Va. shore, threw out our pickets, and began work; by seven o’clock we had exhausted our material, and lacked two boats to complete the bridge.  The regulars furnished them, and very soon after we had a fine bridge 1340 ft. long.  They replaced the boats with trestle.  Since finishing our work, I have breakfasted, washed, rested, and would now dine if I had anything to eat.  Strange enough, it is really Sunday here.

At 11:45 that morning, Turnbull reported, “The bridge has been finished two hours, and reported to General Slocum. Bridge 1,340 feet long.”  While matching Folwell’s description as to the length, perhaps Turnbull didn’t consider the bridge complete until the last boats and trestle was in place, thus accounting for the time between 7 and 9:45 that morning.  This is the only mention I know of a trestle section on the first bridge.  The application is logical in this case, covering a section where boats were in short supply.

With work completed, Folwell and company tended to their personal needs:

The little store by the lock is shut and the inhabitants do not sell provisions.  We made no provision for it yesterday.  Bain [Lieutenant Mahlon Bainbridge Folwell] and Dan [Lieutenant Daniel M Hulsehave] gone out to a house to get dinner, but I do not think it proper for me to leave Camp.  I am getting hungry and hope they will bring me back something to eat.  There is a great battle going on today off in the direction of Aldes and Linker Gap.  The Rebs. are probably trying to force the passage of those gaps.  We ought to prevent them, and I think a skillful General would do it.  I have but small hopes of Joe. Hooker, He lacks ability and locks courage, – nerve.  4 P.M. finally, William got me some dinner.  Ham broiled, potatoes, coffee, Hoe cake, hot.

So, let us just say Folwell was no fan of Joe Hooker.  And of course he was hearing the fighting in Loudoun Valley near Upperville.  I suspect he was referring to Ashby’s and Snicker’s Gaps.  Or Aldie and Snicker’s Gap.  At any rate, I would not ask Folwell for directions around Loudoun County.

I had not finished them when Lieut. [James L.] Robbins [Company A] arrived with the advance of another fleet of pontoons, 16 in number, and on my invitation proceeded to discus the residuun. The careless fellow bro’t no mail, no Jim Scott, no baggage, no tents.  Well, he couldn’t help it, he had to hurry away at a moment’s notice.  The Regiment is encamped on the old ground at Camp Lesly [Leslie].  This Sunday afternoon is very beautiful and all is quiet, but the thunder of the battle which is still raging, at times furiously.  Just now there is a lull.  Robbins brought five days rations for our men. We had just drawn five days yesterday.  At Washington they do not seem to know anything of our whereabouts and destination. They think us at Monocacy.  We were there two days ago.  I am writing very stupidly.  I have been without sleep so many nights, and on the move so may days, that I don’t know whether I am dad or alive.

This last section alludes to confusion within the Engineer Brigade. And that confusion was much due to confusion at Army headquarters.  But at least Folwell’s men had plenty of rations!

(Citations from William Watts Fowell, Civil War Diary, unpublished, transcription retrieved from University of Minnesota Library, pages 413-5 (pages 419-21 of scanned copy); OR, Series I, Volume 27, Part III, Serial 45, page 246.)


Camp to the “left of the Magnetic Iron Ore” : Finding Eleventh Corps Camp

One intriguing aspect of the marching through Loudoun County is the location where the Eleventh Corps camped during their stay.  Most of the other units found camps near well known placenames – Leesburg, Aldie, Guilford Station, Gum Springs.  But the Eleventh camped at “Trappe Rock.”  The placename is not marked on any modern maps.  And we can’t trace an evolution to modern placenames (Farmwell to Ashburn, for instance).  Instead this is a vague reference to some place known then, but not known today.

Trap rock is supposed to be stuff like this:

Maybe it is out there along Goose Creek and I’m just not adventuring far enough into the underbrush.

At one time I thought it may refer to outcroppings in the quarry astride the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Park. But I’ve dismissed that option as being impractical for several reasons.

Going back to the orders that sent the Eleventh Corps to “Trappe Rock” those read:

The First Corps, General Reynolds, and Eleventh Corps, General Howard, will march at 3 a.m. for Leesburg from Centreville, one corps taking the route by Frying Pan, old Ox Road, and Farmwell Station, crossing the railroad; the other by Gum Springs, Farmwell, crossing Goose Creek near Trappe Rock.

Another clue is from the supplemental instructions sent out on June 16.   At that time, the orders for the First and Eleventh corps were intermixed. The respective commanders, Major-General John Reynolds and Major-General Oliver O. Howard, were told to decide amongst themselves who went to Trappe Rock and who went to Herndon Station (and eventually Gilford Station).  The supplemental instructions issued at noon that day read in part:

If the column via Gum Springs can find a better and more practicable road via Bitzer’s, the dam and lock to the left of the Magnetic Iron Ore (see the map), there is no objection to going that way.  A road may be found via Gum Springs, T. Lewis, Freeman’s, Moran’s, Bitzer’….

Those are specific place names on the McDowell map, and are easy to correlate.


There are two “Trappe Rock” mentions in that area of Goose Creek.  Only one is near a “Magnetic Iron Ore” notation.  We also see that Major-General Dan Butterfield was hovering over the McDowell map when writing these orders.

Of course, as mentioned earlier, the orders of June 16 were invalid within hours of their issue.  Instead of just marching past “Magnetic Iron Ore” and “Trappe Rock” the Eleventh Corps was to hold there.  In an update to Brigadier-General Alfred Pleasonton on June 17, Butterfield noted, “General Howard is at Goose Creek (Trappe Rock mill-dam and canal lock).”  Looking at the Goose Creek map, there was indeed a mill, dam, and canal lock in that vicinity.  It was know as Cochran’s Mill, thought it is unclear to me when that name was in effect (pre- or post-war).  That location matches to the area upstream of the present day, and abandoned, Balls Ford Bridge.

Belmont Ridge Rd 14 June 09 114

If so, the area has changed a bit since the Eleventh Corps camped there:


(Citations from OR, Series I, Volume 27, Part III, Serial 45, pages 150 and 151.)

Marching Through Loudoun: June 24, 1863

Today (June 24) in 1863, from his headquarters at Fairfax Courthouse, Major-General Joseph Hooker forwarded an assessment of the situation to Major-General Henry Halleck in Washington. He dismissed any Confederate advances into Pennsylvania as only for “plunder,” and something best confronted by the militia.  In Hooker’s estimate, no other troops, save those of Lieutenant-General Richard Ewell’s Corps, had crossed the Potomac.  Lee had over-extended, or so Hooker felt.  And Hooker was seeking out an advantage:

General French is now on his way to Harper’s Ferry, and I have given directions for the force at Poolesville to march and report to him, and also for all of Stahel’s cavalry, and, if I can do it without attracting observation, I shall send over a corps or two from here, in order, if possible, to sever Ewell from the balance of the rebel army, in case he should make a protracted sojourn with his Pennsylvania neighbors.

If the enemy should conclude not to throw any additional force over the river, I desire to make Washington secure, and, with all the force I can muster, strike for his line of retreat in the direction of Richmond.

But Hooker still had not found the opening he wanted.  So for another day the marching in Loudoun remained limited.  As indicated with his report, Hooker ordered Stahel’s cavalry division, which was for all practical purposes now the third division of the Army of the Potomac (for simplicity I’ll show that on the map now), over the Potomac in the direction of Harpers Ferry.  And as mentioned in the close of yesterday’s serial, he also ordered Eleventh Corps to move that way.

On the other end of the line, Hooker effectively broke up the division of Brigadier-General John Abercrombie.  One brigade of the division, under Brigadier-General Alexander Hays, reported to Second Corps.  The fresh Vermont Brigade, under Brigadier-General George Stannard, received the assignment to First Corps.  Another brigade had orders for Twelfth Corps, but lacked sufficient service time to make the march worthwhile.  Replacing Abercrombie’s division at Centreville, Major-General John Newton’s division from the Sixth Corps moved down from Germantown.  (You’ll also note I’ve split out the divisions of the Second Corps on today’s map.)


Also on June 24, a battalion of the 2nd Massachusetts Cavalry, under Colonel Charles R. Lowell, moved to Poolesville with orders to picket river crossings from Great Falls to the Mouth of the Monocacy. They replaced the troopers of Captain Samuel McKee, previously posted at the Monocacy.

But the “big” move of the day was Eleventh Corps.  As ordered Major-General O.O. Howard received marching instructions at 9 a.m. (again, the delay in communications because of multiple telegraph, wig-wag, and courier exchanges) and started his men towards Edwards Ferry.  But even before they marched, their orders to cross the river changed.  At 7 a.m. Captain Charles Turnbull at Edwards Ferry was ordered to meet Howard and instruct the Eleventh Corps to camp at the bridges, “and not to cross without further orders.”  Howard arrived around 1 p.m.

Brigadier-General Henry Benham of the engineers continued his disagreement with headquarters into this day. If the dispatch of the previous night was not enough, he repeated his frustrations at 8:45 a.m. He had 300 engineers of the Regular battalion at Edwards Ferry.  Another 360 of the 15th New York Engineers were at the Monocacy, waiting bridging equipment.  At the Washington Navy Yard, he held 135 men to repair equipment brought up from the Rappahannock and 250 more of the 50th New York Engineers.  Benham wanted to remain in Washington, with those 385 men, to supervise the repairs, which he estimated would take a week.  Headquarters agreed to continue the repairs, but still ordered Benham to the field at Edwards Ferry.

At Edwards Ferry, one bridge remained in place, with supporting bridges over the canal and Goose Creek near the mouth. One problem facing the engineers was the heavy wagon traffic which was damaging the bridge.  Turnbull requested replacement planks and other timbers.  Those were acquired from the apparently well stocked Navy Yard and forwarded up the canal.

Also on the canal was another set of pontoons was headed up the canal to the Mouth of the Monocacy and the 15th New York.  But orders issued mid-day changed those instructions.  The second bridge would go in at Edwards Ferry, near the first.  And Major E.O. Beers of the 15th was ordered to Edwards Ferry to put the bridge in place.

Why the change?  Perhaps a series of reports from Major-General Henry Slocum that morning.  The Twelfth Corps commander reported the presence of 6,000 Confederates moving east from Snicker’s Gap and reaching Hamilton, just over the Catoctin passes from Leesburg.  Follow up reports placed Lieutenant-General Longstreet himself at Round Hill.  If true, the Confederates might attempt to push Twelfth Corps away from the fords.  And of course Hooker didn’t want to hand over a pontoon bridge, at such an advanced position like the Monocacy, to the Confederates.

Lending support to my guess, Hooker also issued orders for the Eleventh Corps to prepare to support Slocum in Leesburg, and not cross over the Potomac. At 6:00 p.m. Slocum requested that Howard’s Eleventh move to the north side of Goose Creek (over the span at the creek’s mouth) to better support him in Leesburg.  Instead, at 7:30 p.m. Hooker ordered Howard to “guard the bridge and depots at Edwards Ferry, on the north side of the Potomac at that place.”  But that order stood for four hours.  At 11:35 p.m. yet another change ordered Howard to instead, “take up the line of march early to-morrow morning for Sandy Hook, in the vicinity of Harper’s Ferry, reaching that place to-morrow afternoon.”

Meanwhile, the engineers at Edwards Ferry sat on an unanswered question.  Captain Turnbull addressed this directly to Major-General Hooker at 5:15 p.m:

Which side of Goose Creek do you wish the second bridge – north or south? The present bridge is on the north side of Goose Creek, with one bridge over Goose Creek at its mouth.  Please answer at once.

That question would linger through the night and well into the next day.

(Citations from OR, Series I, Volume 27, Part I, Serial 43, page 55; and Part III, Serial 45, pages 279, 287, and 290-1.)

Marching Through Loudoun: June 22, 1863

After all the fighting on June 21, 1863, and with no marching orders, would the Army of the Potomac have a relaxing, uneventful day?  Not with this fellow around.

Raiding supply lines and disrupting communication was Major John S. Mosby business.  By June 1863 he was already the most prominent Confederate partisan ranger.  And the Federals would sleep much better if he were put out of business.  Major-General George Meade, commanding the Fifth Corps, attempted just that on this day (June 22) in 1863.  From correspondence from Meade to General Oliver O. Howard, commanding the nearby Eleventh Corps:

I came near catching our friend Mosby this morning. I had reliable intelligence of his expected passing a place about 4 miles from here at sunrise. I sent 40 mounted men (all I have) and 100 infantry, who succeeded in posting themselves in ambush at the designated spot. Sure enough, Mr. Mosby, together with 30 of his followers, made their appearance about sunrise, but, I regret to say, their exit also, from what I can learn, through the fault both of foot and horse. It appears Mosby saw the cavalry, and immediately charged them. They ran (that is, my horses) toward the infantry, posted behind a fence. The infantry, instead of rising and deliberately delivering their fire, fired lying on the ground; did not hit a rebel, who immediately scattered and dispersed, and thus the prettiest chance in the world to dispose of Mr. Mosby was lost.

The troops Meade used were from the 17th Pennsylvania Cavalry and 14th U.S. Infantry.  The location was Ewell’s Chapel, as Meade indicated, about four miles south of Aldie.  One man killed in the action, Sergeant Martin Aumiller, may still remain at the chapel site, in an umarked grave.

EwellsChapel_June23 002
Site of Ewell’s Chapel

This sensitivity to the operations of Mosby underscores another issue facing the Army of the Potomac while operating in Loudoun and surrounding counties.  The only rail line remaining in the area, the Orange & Alexandria, ran to the southwest.  So the army needed clear, secure roads for supply routes.  In the operational area I’m considering for these posts, there were three turnpikes the army could draw upon – The Warrenton Turnpike, The Little River Turnpike (which became the Ashby’s Gap Turnpike past Aldie), and the Leesburg & Alexandria Turnpike.  I’ve added them in gold for today’s map, along with the general location of Ewell’s Chapell for reference.


I’ve also included the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal for good measure, as that was Major-General Henry Slocum’s preferred supply line.  As you can tell from the map, just looking at eastern Loudoun County, there were a lot of side roads to patrol and many potential ambush sites to clear.

The wide area the Army of the Potomac occupied also strained communication.  On the letter to Howard, Meade added “- I don’t know what we are going to do.  I have had no communications from headquarters for three days.”  Consider Meade commanded an infantry corps on the front line at a critical sector. Some of his troops fought in Loudoun Valley.  And he had received no communications.  (Although I’d point out Meade had received instructions to support the Cavalry a few days earlier, though indirectly.)

However, the army headquarters was communicating instructions to the engineers at Edwards Ferry.  Chief of Staff Major-General Daniel Butterfield asked if Captain Charles Turnbull could put a bridge over Goose Creek near its mouth.  Butterfield also inquired about blazing a road from the pontoon bridge to the camps of Howard’s Eleventh Corps.  The bridge and road were logical additions to allow Howard, at a rather remote location, to draw supplies from across the Potomac.  The additions would also allow for rapid movement of that corps should Hooker decide to move across the Potomac, which was a growing possibility on June 22.  Butterfield also noted that “General Wadsworth is bridging Goose Creek near the pike,” but was not specific to the location or construction.  I’ve placed a small blue line on the map with my guess Wadsworth’s bridge was at the site of the turnpike bridge.

For June 22, the Itinerary of the Army of the Potomac was short: The Cavalry Corps and Barnes’ (First) division, of the Fifth Corps, returned from Upperville to Aldie.  Stahel’s cavalry division moved from Buckland Mills, via New Baltimore, to Warrenton.  The Army of the Potomac was like a coiled spring.  Waiting.

(Citations from OR, Series I, Volume 27, Part I, Serial 43, page 142; Part III, Serial 45, pages 255-6.)

Marching Through Loudoun: June 18, 1863

Through the month of June 1863, the Army of the Potomac made two large operational pivots. The first pivot took place after the Battle of Brandy Station with the army moving off the Rappahannock River, where it faced generally south, into a position facing west. As my friend Clark Hall mentioned in the comments yesterday, the Bull Run Mountains and Catoctin Mountain formed a geographic shield. But that pivot was not complete on this day (June 18) in 1863. The army was still in motion.

What worried Major-General Joseph Hooker at this time 150 years ago were reports of Confederate activity at Point of Rocks, about half way between Leesburg and Harpers Ferry. With fears the Rebels might launch a cavalry raid into Maryland (and not realizing a portion of their infantry was already in Maryland), Hooker ordered forward his own infantry. To Major-General Henry Slocum’s Twelfth Corps at midnight on June 17:

The major-general commanding directs that, on receipt of this order, if after 3.30 a.m. or at that hour, you move your corps to Leesburg. Hold it, and open communication with the fords on the Potomac in that vicinity, and hold them. Captain McKee, with a detachment of cavalry of this army, ought to be at the mouth of the Monocacy to-night; bridge trains and two regiments of infantry to-morrow noon. General Pleasonton encountered Fitz. Lee’s brigade of cavalry at Aldie at 4 o’clock this afternoon. Stuart was reported at Middleburg. The inclosed dispatch would lead to a presumption that they are there to cover White’s crossing the river, or else to join him. This must be prevented. General Pleasonton may be sending in a force toward Leesburg, as he has been directed to do so. Guard against collision with him. Inform his officers there, should you meet them, of all you can learn regarding enemy’s movements.

Hooker ordered the Eleventh Corps to stand ready move in support should the Twelfth encountered resistance. The Fifth Corps would remain in place at Gum Springs. Captain Samuel McKee, mentioned in the orders to Slocum, moved to secure river crossing points from the Maryland side. If all these movements were completed with vigor, any attempt by Confederate cavalry to break into Maryland would end before getting started. Only one problem… the Stuart’s cavalry wasn’t planning to splash across the Potomac that day. As Captain McKee reported mid-afternoon, “Nothing has been seen or heard of the enemy here today.”

Hooker anticipated Twelfth Corps in Dranesville might reach Leesburg by mid-day. As Major-General John Reynolds observed, Slocum had trouble crossing Goose Creek due to bad, rocky fords. There were no bridges over the lower portion of Goose Creek. Afternoon rainstorms further delayed the Twelfth Corps. Slocum did not close on Leesburg until 5 p.m.

From Aldie, Brigadier-General Alfred Pleasonton sent out patrols towards Middleburg. He also posted a brigade at Thoroughfare Gap. A “Bull Run-Catoctin line” was taking shape.


As the Army of the Potomac’s cavalry was stretched thin, Hooker requested two regiments of Major-General Julius Stahel’s division to reconnoiter to Warrenton and Sulpher Springs to the south. Stahel would send Colonel Othniel De Forest with two regiments to fill this request.

Meanwhile, the engineers of the army were also busy. For the last week, the brigade worked to pull in the bridges placed at Fredericksburg earlier in the month, then transport the lot to Washington. Summarizing the state of readiness, Brigadier-General Henry Benham reported:

I am now about to bring the bridges from Alexandria to this depot for rearrangement and repairs. We have nearly 200 pontoons to examine and refit into bridges, and about 1,200 animals of the trains to care for, while the total effective force of my brigade, excepting the company and fractional company at work in this depot, and that company at Harper’s Ferry, is only about 1,000 to 1,100 men, and of these 600 are now up the Potomac, under Major Spaulding and Captain Turnbull; and the balance of the command, … should, as I would respectfully recommend, all be concentrated at this depot, where the services of all will be required for the care and guarding of this large number of animals and the speedy restoration of the bridges to a serviceable condition, which will be immediately reported to headquarters.

This early in the campaign, the engineers were already hard pressed.

As June 18 came to a close, Hooker’s headquarters sent out a circular with instructions to “exclude all excess of personal baggage” and generally clean up the wagon trains. The army needed to move faster, with fewer encumbrances. At the close of the circular, a summary of the army’s dispositions read:

The general headquarters will be at Fairfax Court-House to-night. Telegraphic communication will be established to General Reynolds’ camp, near Guilford Station. [where First Corps would move on the 19th]

The Twelfth Corps is at Leesburg; the Eleventh on Goose Creek, near Trappe Rock, 4 miles from Leesburg; the Fifth Corps, General Meade, at Gum Springs; cavalry in the vicinity of Aldie; the Sixth Corps at Germantown; Second Corps at Sangster’s Station. General Pleasonton engaged Fitzhugh Lee’s brigade, of Stuart’s cavalry, at Aldie yesterday, capturing 9 officers and 74 men.

The Army of the Potomac was not finished with this first pivot, but the line was forming across Loudoun. The 19th would bring both marching and fighting.

(Citations from OR, Series I, Volume 27, Part III, Serial 45, pages 178, 193, 194, 197, and 198.)