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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 12, Part 2 (Second Manassas)
Page 16 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

must see us behind Bull Run if we wished to save men and animals from starvation.

On Friday night I sent a peremptory order (marked C) to General Porter to bring his command on the field and report to me in person within three hours after he received the order. A portion he brought up, but, as I before stated, one of his brigades remained the whole day at Centreville and was not in the engagement.

The enemy's heavy re-enforcements having reached him on Friday afternoon and night, he began to mass on his right for the purpose of crushing our left and occupying the road to Centreville on our rear. His heaviest assault was made about 5 o'clock in the afternoon, when, after overwhelming Fitz John Porter and driving his forces back on the center and left, mass after mass of his forces were pushed against our left. A terrific contest with great slaughter was carried on for several hours, our men behaving with firmness and gallantry under the immediate command of General McDowell. When night closed our left had been forced back about half a mile, but still remained firm and unbroken, while our right held its ground. General Franklin, with his corps, arrived after dark at Centreville, 6 miles in our rear, while Sumner was 4 miles behind Franklin. I could possibly have brought up these corps in the morning in time to have renewed the action, but starvation stared both men and horses in the face, and broken and exhausted as they were they were in no condition to bear hunger also. I accordingly retired to Centreville that night in perfect order.

Neither on Sunday nor on Monday did the enemy make any advance upon us. On Monday I sent to the army corps commanders for their effective strength, which, all told, including Sumner and Franklin, fell short of 60,000 men. Instead of bringing up 30,000 men Franklin and Sumner united fell short 20,000, and these added to the force I had, already wearied and much cut up, did not give me the means to do anything else for a day or two than stand on the defensive. The enemy during Monday again began to work slowly around to our right for the purpose of possessing Fairfax Court-House and thus turning our rear. Couch's division and one brigade of Sumner's had been left there, and I sent over Hooker on Monday afternoon to take command and to post himself at or in front of Germantown, at the same time directing McDowell to take position along the turnpike from Centreville to Fairfax Court-House, about 2 miles west of the latter place. Heintzelman was directed to post himself in rear and support of Reno, who was pushed north of the road, at a point about 2 1/2 miles east of Centreville, to cover the turnpike, it being my purpose in the course of the night to mass my command on the right, in the direction of Germantown, where I felt convinced the next attack of the enemy would be made.

Late in the afternoon of Monday the enemy made his demonstration upon Germantown, but was met by Hooker at that place, and by Reno, re-enforced by Kearny, farther west. The battle was very severe, though short, the enemy being driven back a mile with heavy loss, leaving his dead and wounded.

In this short action we lost two of our most valuable and distinguished officers - Generals Kearny and Stevens.

By morning the whole of my command was massed behind Difficult Creek, between Flint Hill and the Warrenton turnpike, with the advance under Hooker in front of Germantown.

With the exception of Sumner, the commanders of the army corps of the Army of the Potomac had continued persistently to inform me that their commands were and had been demoralized ever since they left Har


Page 16 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 12, Part 2 (Second Manassas)
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