The Bristoe Campaign is now underway. After attempts by Federal cavalry to stop their Confederate counterparts along the Rapidan Fords, Stevensburg and Fleetwood Hill the day before, the Army of the Potomac is in retreat, crossing the Rappahannock River into Fauquier County.
The Army of Northern Virginia is attempting to turn the right flank of the Union forces and are trying to slip around them in Western Fauquier. But first, before they can get into Fauquier, they must pass over the Hazel.
A sampling of units crossing the rivers, one side trying to get away, the other trying to get around.
4th Michigan: went down to the River and formed line in the Rifle Pits. Stayed about 3 hours and Started and Crossed the River on Bridge went up to the front and formed line on the Hill.
91st Pennsylvania: Then marched to Rappahannock Station, crossed the river, and moved up to Beverly Ford.
2nd Pennsylvania Reserves: Early in the morning we crossed the river at Beverly’s Ford, and formed in line of battle and lay there until near sundown.
40th Virginia: sloshed’ through several abandoned Yankee camps near Culpeper. The camp that night was near the Hazel River.
50th Virginia: we crossed the Hazel River which was a little pill but we had to swallow. It was so deep that we had to strip off our cloths to wade it and [it was] almost freezing cold as I though
Chew's Battery: By dusk the affair had ended when the Federals withdrew toward the Rappahannock. Leaving that position, the battery retired toward the Hazel River and went into camp late at Rixeyville.
From: the diary of Henry Seage, 4th Michigan http://home.midsouth.rr.com/devinney/diary2.html;