Having received his official report but lately, and not having yet read it, I am still unacquainted with the details of the movements of the forces under his command during the morning of the 28th. I know of no occasion that would have brought his troops to the point specified in the question.
At the instance of a member the recorder read the two orders marked A and B, and appended to proceedings of the fortieth day, from Major-General Pope to Major-General McDowell, dated respectively Headquarters Army of Virginia, Manassas Junction, August 28, 1862-1.20 p.m., and Headquarters, Manassas Junction, August 28, 1862.
Question by the COURT. What orders or occasion had General McDowell, after your orders to him just read and after putting his divisions in march toward Centreville, to leave them and go in person to Manassas, if he did so?
Answer. I know of no orders to that effect or any occasion.
Question by the COURT. Were you aware that King's division had a fight with the enemy near evening of that day and after the fight fell back to Manassas?
Answer. It was reported to me about 8 or 9 o'clock at night on the 28th that King's division of McDowell's corps has met the enemy retreating from Centreville, and after a severe fifth had remained masters of the field, still interposing between Jackson's forces and the main body of the enemy. This report was brought to me by a staff officer, I think, of General King's. Upon receiving this information I stated to several of my staff officers who were present that the game was in our hands, and that I did not see how it was possible for Jackson to escape without very heavy loss, if at all. Immediately upon receipt of this intelligence I also directed General Kearny, whose division occupied Centreville, to push forward cautiously at 1 o'clock that night in the direction of Gainesville, to drive in the pickets of the enemy, and to keep himself in close contact during the night; to rest his left on the Warrenton turnpike, and to throw his right to the north, toward the Little River, and well to the front. I directed him at the first blush of daylight to attack the enemy with his right advanced, and informed him that Hooker and Reno would be with him immediately after daylight. To my surprise and dissatisfaction I learned toward daylight on the morning of the 29th that King's division had withdrawn in the direction of Manassas Junction, leaving open the road to Thoroughfare Gap. This withdrawal of that division made necessary a great change in the movement and the position of the troops and was a most serious and unlooked-for mistake. I was so impressed with the necessity that division should hold its ground during the night of the 28th that I sent several orders to General King (one by his own staff officer) during that night to hold his ground at all hazards and to prevent the retreat of the enemy, and informed him that our whole force from the direction of Centreville and Manassas Junction would all upon the enemy at daylight.
Question by the COURT. Do you know any occasion or explanation for the absence of General McDowell from that battle-field and his presence at Manassas, if such was the fact?
Answer. I only know from General McDowell's own explanation to me why he came to Manassas Junction. This explanation was given me some time subsequently; when I cannot state.
Question by the COURT. State, as near as you can, the time when this explanation was made. Was it during the campaign?
Answer. Yes, I thin it was, sir. My recollection is not clear, but it occurs to me it was some time after dark on the 29th. Of this, however, I am not certain.
Question by the COURT. State the explanation.
Answer. General McDowell told me that he supposed me to be at Manassas Junction; that he came there to communicate more fully with me that he could to by letter. I had asked him in a note sent him on the afternoon of 28th August-that same day--to give me his views fully, as he knew the country in that vicinity much better than I did. He fully expected to find me at Manassas Junction, and after communicating with me to return immediately to his command. I was, however, not at Manassas Junction but with the advance near Centreville.