The court decided that the question was a proper one.
The witness continued:
That joint order refers to a previous order given to me, of which this is a copy.
The witness produced a copy of an order from Major-General Pope, dated Headquarters Army of Virginia, Centreville, August 29, 1862, which was read by the recorder, and is appended to the proceedings of this day and marked A.
The witness continued:
Under that order King's division constituted part of my command. I was moving toward Gainesville when I received the join order, and was joined by General McDowell, who had also received a copy of the joint order. I had at that time received notice of the enemy being in front, and had captured 2 prisoners. My command was then forming in line preparatory to moving and advancing toward Gainesville. General McDowell, on arriving, showed me the joint order, a copy of which I acknowledge having in my possession. An expression of opinion then given by him to the effect that was no place to fight a battle, and that I was too far out, which taken in connection with the conversation, I considered an order, and stopped further progress toward Gainesville for a short time. General McDowell and I went to the right, which was rather to the north, with the view of seeing the character of the country, and with the troops on my right. But very few words passed between us, and I suggested, from the character of the country, that he should take King's division with him and form connection on the right of the timber, which was then on the left of Reynolds, or presumed to be Reynolds. He left me suddenly, not replying to a call from me, to the effect, "What should I do," and with no understanding on my part how I should be governed. I immediately returned to my command. On the way back seeing the enemy gathering in my front, I sent an officer (Lieutenant-Colonel Locke, my chief of staff) to King's division, directing it to remain where it was for the present, and commenced moving my command toward Gainesville and one division to the right or north of the road. I received an answer from General McDowell to remain where I was; he was going to the right, and would take King with him. He did, go, taking King's division, as I presumed, to take position on the left of Reynolds. I remained where I was. When General McDowell left me I did not know where he had gone. No troops were in sight, and I knew of the position of Reynolds and Sigel, who were on our right, merely by the sound of Sigel's cannon and from information that day that Reynolds was in the vicinity of Groveton. The head of my corps was on the first stream after leaving Manassas Junction, on the road to Gainesville; one division in line of battle, or the most of it.
Question by the COURT. Did you consider the expression of General McDowell, as stated by you, that you were too far to the front and that this was no place to fight a battle in the light of an order not to advance, but to resume your original position?
Answer. I did, when King's division was taken from me, and as countermanding the first order of General Pope under the authority given him by that joint order.
Question by the COURT. Was such an order a proper one under the circumstances? If not,state why.
Answer. I did not think so, and for that reason, when General McDowell left me, I continued my movement as if I had not seen the joint order. My previous order required me to go to Gainesville, and from information received by the bearer of the first order (General Gibbon) I knew it was to prevent the junction of the advancing enemy and Jackson's force, then near Groveton, and that the object was to strike the turnpike to Gainesville before the advancing column should arrive. The sooner we arrived there the more effective would be our action. That order directed me to move quickly or we would lose much. That order had been seen by General McDowell, and when he altered it, as I conceived he had the authority, I presumed he knew more fully than I did the plans of General Pope. I will add that the joint order contemplated forming a line connecting with the troops on the right, and,as I presumed as General McDowell acted, taking King's division with him, that he intended to form such a line. I thought at the time that the attack should have been made at once upon the troops as they were coming to us, and as soon as possible.