toward Centreville, under the orders, i understood, to General Reynolds from a superior officer, we turned off the road from Gainesville to Manassas Junction at the Bethlehem Church, and proceeded a short distance in the direction toward the Stone Bridge, when we heard heavy firing on our left and front over in the direction of Groveton. Upon hearing this firing-I was at the head of the column-I received a message from General Reynolds, who was in front, to quicken my movements and to bear off to the left in the direction of that firing. I did so, keeping on the road marked as leading to Sudley Springs. I continued on this road till I reached the vicinity of the Conrad house. It was then quite dark; the firing had entirely ceased, and, so far as I could judge, had receded, leading me to think that our people had fallen back. Hearing nothing from General Reynolds I deemed it prudent to halt the command, and assumed the responsibility of doing so. it seems that General Reynolds reached the scene of action-where the action was-and in returning lost his way, and did not get back till the next morning.
Question by the COURT. Were you at the head of General Reynolds column on the morning of the 28th, when it reached Gainesville, on the march from Buckland Mills?
Answer. Yes, sir; I was.
Question by the COURT. Have you knowledge of any indications of the presence of the enemy in that neighborhood at that time; and, if so, where was the enemy and what was done to ascertain his strength?
Answer. After passing Gainesville and just before reaching Groveton a battery, or section of a battery, was opened by the enemy from the heights immediately adjacent to Groveton, from which they threw some half a dozen (I suppose) of shot and shell at long range at the head of my column, one shell only taking effect, I think, killing 3 and wounding some 4 persons. My brigade was halted and deployed on the open ground on the left of the pike, and a rifled battery. After a few shots from our battery they withdrew or ceased firing. I saw no exhibition of their force except one or two mounted men in the neighborhood of their guns while they were firing. As to measures taken to ascertain their force, all I know is I made a detail from my brigade of one or two companies of rifle-men-probably more-who were directed by General Reynolds, conjointly with a company of cavalry which I understood he obtained from General McDowell's escort, to proceed up a road marked on the map as leading to Sudley Springs and try to ascertain the enemy's force. The result of this expedition I did not hear. A short time afterward my brigade was moved across the country in the direction of Manassas Junction by way of Bethlehem Church.
Question by the COURT. Was the enemy discovered in any other than the direction of Groveton during your march that day to your knowledge?
Answer. Numbers Not to my knowledge.
Question by the COURT. Had you an impression that any of General McDowell's forces were on the pike from Gainesville toward Groveton at the time you heard the firing in the afternoon toward which you inclined your march?
Answer. I knew that two divisions of General McDowell's corps were in our rear on the same road during that march, viz, Ricketts' and King's, and I presume that it was one of these divisions that was engaged.
Question by the COURT. From your knowledge of what occurred at the first engagement in the morning, and assuming also that Jackson was in the neighborhood of Manassas on the night of the 27th, and that the movement of General McDowell was intended to strike Jackson from the direction of Gainesville, while the other forces of General Pope pressed him from the direction of Manassas, in your judgment was General McDowell's conduct proper in withdrawing all his forces from the Warrenton pike and concentrating them in your rear toward Manassas, if he did do so?