Last time Union forces finally gained a foothold in the valley after wrestling Stanhope Tavern and the vital supply route into the valley from the Confederate forces. These had put up a magnificent resistance and then executed a swift withdrawal in the face of the much bloodied Union Army of the Northumberland under Major General 'Bloody John' O'Reidy. The Confederate commander directed the battle from his litter as he was still recovering from a wound received a week earlier. His successor Lt. General Thomson van Paulus, had been 'otherwise engaged' at the time of the battle but appeared to take over command as the Confederates slipped away towards the important railhead of Auckland Junction.
I threw a few dice to see if the Confederates would all retreat in the same direction and unfortunately only the Texans and one of the veteran brigades withdrew on Auckland Junction. The cavalry and the freshly raised brigades were nearby but the other brigade has taken a more easterly route and was too far away to offer any support. No further reinforcements were available at this time.
The Union forces had pursued the retreating Confederate army, splitting into two corps in order to try and catch the enemy between them. Major General O'Reidy took the northern force that ended up pursuing but single brigade of Confederates, while the previously disgraced Major General Ashton Collins was, as next senior, reluctantly given command of the southern corps. Collins' forces moved slowly and arrived at Auckland Junction piecemeal. The cavalry and a brigade of rather dubious quality 'green' troops were first on the scene, the former approaching the town down the railway line while the infantry appeared to the west. There was no sign of the remainder of the Union force. The Confederates decided to stay put and await the Union attack. The cavalry dismounted and began to skirmish with the troops holding the town, while the infantry brigade moved (swept it wasn't as that implies some speed, which was sadly lacking!) around the Confederate left flank.