On Saturday, November 7, 1863 the Union Army of the Potomac under General George Meade pushed across the Rappahannock at Kelly’s Ford and Rappahannock Station, despite spirited engagements at both sites. Robert E. Lee immediately began withdrawing toward the Rapidan River.
These actions by both armies did not constitute major, strategic movements but did essentially restore both forces to the same positions they had occupied one month earlier. In a series of firefights both armies sparred at Warrenton, Jeffersonton, Muddy Creek near Culpepper Court House, and at Brandy Station.
While both sides seemed to be maneuvering for an advantage, in truth Lee could not effectively confront Meade’s forces, given the absence of James Longstreet’s corps. There was no doubt the commander of the Army of Northern Virginia sorely missed Longstreet’s men.