the intention of going from thence tot he station. I arrived at the Court-House about 4.45 p. m., and finding no person there from whom I could obtain any information, parked temporarily my train, sent Mr. Burns forward to look for you for orders, and proceeded myself direct to Fairfax Station to see Colonel Heintzelman. I found he had left a place two miles from there, on the advance, a few hours previous. As the cattle were completely exhausted by the extreme heat and the horses much tired, I camped for the night, and at 4 o'clock a. m. on the 19th started for Centreville, joining you about 8 o'clock a. m. After assisting you in the distribution of my stores, I returned the same night with the above one hundred empty wagons to Alexandria, arriving there about 6 o'clock on the morning of the 20th.
Mr. Leech accompanied me as chief wagon-master. We commenced loading as soon as practicable. I directed Mr. Leech to forward to Cloud's Mill all the wagons as soon as loaded, and wait there until the entire train was completed. By 4 o'clock on the afternoon of the 21st ultimo all were on the road. i loaded, in sections of complete assorted rations of 7,000 and 14,000, 70,000 rations, and thirty wagons with the substantial parts of the ration-bread, meat, sugar, coffee, &c. About twenty-five wagons, with forage, &c., accompanied the train, with a few empty wagons for contingencies, as about sixty were idle in Alexandria when we left.
Lieutenant-Colonel Moore, with about three hundred New Jersey Volunteers, again joined me at Cloud's Mill, which we left in complete order, expecting to join the command before daylight on the morning of the 22nd. I was at the head of the train, and turned off about eight miles from alexandria on a road I had previously traveled to avoid the hills. After proceeding from three to five miles farther I met a gentleman, who informed me the Army was routed and in full retreat. I proceeded about half a mile farther, and met Lieutenant Stockton, of Colonel hunter's staff, with Colonel Hunter, wounded. He, in substance, told me the same. Believing that the presence of so large a train might embarrass the troops under any circumstances, and a delay of a few hours not materially affect them, I sent an express to General Runyon, requesting him to telegraph to Washington for instructions, and commenced parking my train in different fields along the road in small sections in such a manner it could advance or retire with rapidity, all the section moving simultaneously.
I found, by approaching the rear, that Mr. Leech had failed to follow me, and taken about forty-five or fifty-five wagons on the road I left. I immediately sent a messenger to stop his train where it was, and also any cattle that might be on the road advancing, and to await further orders from me. (He was about one and a quarter miles from me.) After closing up his train he came up. I then directed him to park his train in a grass field, so he could move rapidly in either direction. I directed an expressman to proceed at once to General McDowell's staff, and obtain such orders from your, or any reliable officers of the staff, as would control me. Lieutenant McIntosh, of the New Jersey Volunteers, kindly volunteered, as also did Lieutenant-Colonel Moore. I also requested Lieutenant McIntosh to examine carefully everything he could with reference to the movements, and return without delay. The expressman from General Runyon returned with the following order:
"General Scott directs you to halt, and govern your future movements by what you hear from the advance."
About 3.30 a. m. on the 22nd ultimo Lieutenant McIntosh returned, and