verbal instruction, the plan of operations and estimate of force required, the time I was to proceed to carry it into effect was fixed for the 8th of July (Monday).*
Every facility possible was given me by the General-in-Chief and heads of the administrative departments in making the necessary preparations. But the regiments, owing, I was told, to want of transportation, came over slowly. Many of them did not come across until eight or nine days after the time fixed upon, and went forward without my ever seeing them and without having been together before in a brigade.
The sending re-enforcements to General Patterson by drawing off the wagons was a further and unavoidable cause of delay.
Notwithstanding the herculean efforts of the Quartermaster-General, and his favoring me in every possible way, the wagons for ammunition, subsistence, &c., and the horses for the trains and for the artillery, did not all arrive for more than a week after the time appointed to move.
I was not even prepared as late as the 15th ultimo, and the desire I should move became great, and it was wished I should not, if possible, delay longer than Tuesday, the 16th ultimo. When I did set out on the 16th I was till deficient in wagons for subsistence, but I went forward, trusting to their being procured in time to follow me.
The trains thus hurriedly gotten together, with horses, wagons, drivers, and wagon-masters all new and unused to each other, moved with difficulty and disorder, and was the cause f a day's delay in getting the provision forward, making it necessary to make on Sunday the attack we should have made on Saturday.
I could not, with every exertion, get forward with the troops earlier than we did. I wished them to go to Centreville the second day, which would have taken us there on the 17th, and enabled us, so far as they were concerned, to go into action on the 19th instead of the 21st; but when I went forward from Fairfax Court-House beyond Germantown to urge them forward, I was told it was impossible for the men to march farther. They had only come from Vienna, about six miles, and it was not more than six and one-half miles farther to Centreville, in all a march of twelve and one-half miles; but the men were foot-weary, not so much, I was told, by the distance marched, as by the time they had been on foot, caused by the obstructions int he road and the slow pace we had to move to avoid ambuscades. The men were, moreover, unaccustomed to marching, their bodies not in condition for that kind of work, and not used to carrying even the load of "light marching order."
We crossed Bull Run with about 18,000 men of all arms, the Fifth Division (Miles') and Richardson's brigade on the left at Blackburn's Ford and Centreville, and Schenck's brigade of Tyler's division on the left of the road near the stone bridge, not participating in the main action. The numbers opposed to us have been variously estimated. I may safely say, and avoid even the appearance of exaggeration, that the enemy brought up all he could which were not kept engaged elsewhere. He had notice of our coming ont he 17th, and had from that time until the 21st to bring up whatever he had.
It is known that in estimating the force to go against Manassas I engaged not to have to do with enemy's forces under Johnston, then kept in check in the valley by Major General Patterson, or those kept engaged by Major-General Butler, and I knew every effort was made by the General-in-Chief that this should be done, and that even if Johnston joined Beauregard, it should be because he would be driven in and
*See McDowell to Townsend, June 24, 1861, "Correspondence, etc.," post.