The Battle of
The last week July 1862 found Williams on the march again. On the 27th, his division, comprising the Brigades of Crawford and Gordon, passed through the Chester Gap of the Blue Ridge and took up position at Washington Court House on the 29th. They were now one of the two Divisions comprising Bank's command, now called the 5th Corps of Popes Army of Virginia.
To their south, Sigel's (Formerly Fremont's) Corps was entering the Piedmont through Thornton's Gap and gathering at Sperryville. On their left at the Waterloo Bridge over the Rappahannock the detached division commanded by Ricketts was arriving.
The objectives were the rail junction towns of Gordonsville and Charlottesville with the intention of drawing off strength from Richmond allowing McClellan, then bottled up at Harrisons Landing, to resume offensive operations against Richmond.
The road to their objectives led through the town of Culpeper. Banks Corps took the advance with Williams' Division in the front, Auger's Division following and Rickett's trailing . With Sigel, whose forces were still trickling through the Blue Ridge into Sperryville, the Army of Virginia was strung out for some 20 miles by August 8th.
Williams arrived in Culpeper on the 6th of August. Crawford's Brigade was deployed some eight miles south of the town on the road to Gordonsville in view of an large hill know both as Slaughter's Mountain and, by its now famous name, Cedar Mountain.
Jackson, reinforced with A.P. Hill's newly arrived command from Richmond, determined on the 7th to cross the Rapidan and strike Pope's scattered forces. However, he botched the order of march, lost a day, and it was not until the afternoon of the 9th that he came into contact with Crawford's vanguard at Cedar Mountain.