Second Manassas Campaign
August 22, 1862, was a day of surprises in Fauquier County, most of which were provided by Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart and his 1,500 cavalrymen. Their target was the lightly guarded Union supply depot here at Catlett's Station, thirteen miles behind Gen. John Pope's Union army on the Rappahonnock River.
Citizens of nearby Warrenton were pleasantly surprised as Susan Emeline Caldwell described in a letter to her husband the following day:"Our town was thrown in the greatest state of excitement yesterday afternoon by the presence of Genl. Stuart's Cavalry,? You can better imagine than I describe the joy that soon pervaded the hearts of man, woman, & child. The streets were thronged with all who could walk - and Secession flags were everywhere displayed? Genl Stuart tho' had no time to tarry? He had come to accomplish some work and altho' the rain was pouring in torrents he hurried his men on towards Catletts station to get behind Pope's Army, which charge proved very successful. He captured 200 prisoners, the Pay master with $25,000, and burnt many wagons?"
-from "My Heart Is So Rebellious" The Caldwell Letters 1861-1865.
Ed. J. Michael Welton, The Fauquier Bank
To Stuart's astonishment, his men had also captured Gen. Pope's personal baggage wagon here which included a dress uniform cloak and fine hat and his dispatch book. The cloak and hat repaid Stuart's embarrassment for the loss of his plumed hat a few days earlier from a reconnaissance by Pope's cavalry in Orange County; while the intelligence contained in the dispatch book enabled Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson to develop their strategy which culminated in the Confederate victory at Second Manassas one week later.