to you in the morning. You
will retain the command of everything in this vicinity not temporarily belonging to Poper's army in the field.
I beg of you to assist me in this crisis with you a ability and experience. I am utterly tired out.
H. W. HALLECK.
The order referred to in the preceding dispatch was as follows:
WAR DEPARTMENT, August 30, 1862.
The following are the commanders of the armies operating in Virginia:
General Burnside commands his own corps, except those that have been temporarily detached and assigned to General Pope.
General McClellan commands that portion of the Army of the Potomac that has not been sent forward to General Pope's command.
General Pope commands the Army of Virginia and all the forces temporarily attached to it.
All the forces are under the command of Major-General Halleck, General-in-Chief.
E. D. TOWNSEND,
I was informed by Colonel Townsend that the above was published by order of the Secretary of War.
At 11.30 p. m. I telegraphed the following:
CAMP NEAR ALEXANDRIA, August 31, 1862-11.30 p. m.
The squadron of Second Regular Cavalry that I sent with General Sumner was captured to-day about 2 p. m., some 3 miles from Fairfax Court-House, beyond it on the Little River pike, by Fitzhugh Lee, with 3,000 cavalry and three light batteries. I have conversed with the first sergeant, who says that when he last saw them they were within a mile of Fairfax. Pope had no troops on that road, this squadron getting there by mistake. There is nothing of ours on the right of Centerville but Sumner's corps. There was much artillery firing during the day. a rebel major told the sergeant that the rebels had driven in our entire left to-day. He says the road is filled with wagons and straggles coming toward Alexandria. It is clear from the sergeant's account that we were badly beaten yesterday, and that Poper's right is entirely exposed.
I recombed that no more of Couch's division be sent to the front, that Burnside be brought here as soon as practicable, and that everything available this side of Fairfax be drawn in at once, including the mass of the troops on the railroad. I apprehend that the enemy will or have by this time occupied Fairfax Court-House and cut off Pope entirely unless he falls back to-night via Sangster's and Fairfax Station.
I think these orders should be sent at once. I have no confidence the dispositions made as I them. To speak frankly-and the occasion requires it-there appears to be a total absence of brains, and I fear the total destruction of the army. I have some cavalry here that can carry out any orders you may have to send. The occasion is grave and demands grave measures. The question is the salvation of the country. I learn that our loss yesterday amounted to 15,000. We cannot afford such losses without an object.
It is my deliberate opinion that the interests of the nation demand that Pope should fall back to-night if possible, and not one moment is to be lost. I will use all the cavalry I have to watch our right.
Please answer at once. I feel confident that you can rely upon the information I give you. I shall be up all night, and ready to obey any orders you give me.
GEO. B. McLELLAN,
To which this reply was received:
Washington, September 1, 1862-1.30 a. m.
Burnside was ordered up very early yesterday morning. Retain remainder of Couch's forces, and make arrangements to stop all retreating troops in line of works or where you can best establish an outer line of defense. My news from Pope was up 4 p. m. He was then all right. I must wait for more definite information before I can order a retreat, as the falling back on the line of works must necessarily be directed in case of