George Meade was no John Pope. After intelligence indicated that Lee was attempting to outflank the Federal army of Central Virginia, Meade decided to fall back to the extensive fortifications around Centreville. After second guessing his decision for a day, Meade ordered his Army to Centreville as fast as possible. The Bristoe Campaign would now turn into a race to Northern Virginia.
The main retreat route to Centreville was along the Orange and Alexandria Railroad. In order to facilitate the retreat, Meade ordered two Corps (the III followed by the II) to retreat via some roads that lead away from the railroad to Auburn before leading back at Bristoe Station.
Unbeknownst to the Federals, Confederate General JEB Stuart and his famed cavalry where in the midst of returning from a reconnaissance when they ran into the Federal III and II Corps. Two battles at Auburn were about to begin.
For more information about the battles of Auburn and other fights in Fauquier County, please visit: http://www.fauquiercivilwar.com/