When our troops were on their march to Manassas I was of opinion that a battle would be fought near the point where the troops of General McDowell were at that time. I ordered all the troops back and formed them in line of battle, advancing about a mile toward Groveton.
In reference to having then again received the order from General McDowell to march to Manassas General Sigel continues:
I said nothing and marched to Manassas, but I thought that it was a great mistake. By saying that it was a mistake, I meant to say that the troops lost time in marching and counter-marching to come to the same point nearly on the evening which they left at noon in compliance with orders of General McDowell.
When General McDowell's troops and my own were on the march to Manassas Jackson changed his position and was on his march between Manassas and Gainessville. He therefore was not in order of battle, and presented us his left flank. If my corps and a division of General McDowell's would have attacked him he would not have been able to come so early to the point which he intended to reach-a point between Groveton, Centreville, and New Market; and, secondly, if my corps had not been ordered to march to Manassas we would have been able to assist General King or those troops which were attacked on the evening of the 28th. By sending away my corps either of these opportunities was lost.
I do not think it probable that they would have defeated the enemy, but we would have retarded his movements, brought him to a stand, where he perhaps would not have liked to fight, and given an opportunity to the commander in-chief of see clearly where was the enemy's position and to what points he should direct his troops.
On the night of the 27th of August the corps of General Sigel was between Gainesville and Buckland Mills; his advance at the former and his reserve at the latter place. General Sigel knew on the 27th that his corps would have to march early the next day. In this note to me from Buckland Mills on the afternoon of the 27th, whilst I was still at Warrenton, he says:
We should all be here to-night and press forward to-morrow at daybreak.
And in another note from the same place he says:
I think they (the enemy) should be attacked at once at Manassas Junction.
General Pope's order of march to Gainesville; my conversation with General Sigel at Buckland Mills; my preliminary order of 11.30 of the 27th; our situation at the time with respect to the enemy, all must have shown him that an early movement was a matter of course.
By the orders of General Pope the whole force was to march rapidly at the earliest dawn of day upon Manassas Junction; the right resting on the Manassas Railroad, the left well thrown to the east.
These orders were sought to be carried out by me in General Orders, No. 10, heretofore referred to in the chapter on Thoroughfare Gap.
In the first place it is to be remarked that General Sigel himself admits that this order does provide for a co-operation between the two corps.
It cannot be said the order was fully carried out. In the first place, though the troops were started early enough in the morning, the march, in spite of every effort on my part, was not a rapid one. It was, on the contrary, a slow one. There is much evidence to show that by noon General Sigel's column was about 2 miles only from Gainesville, where his advance had been the night before. (See General Sigel's, Lieutenant-Colonel Tillson's, Captain Dahlgren's, Major Kappner's evidence.) Under the preliminary order of 11.30 of the 27th he should have had his troops in motion before the others, who started at 2 o'clock.
General Reynolds, who was immediately behind General Sigel's corps, could not get forward, and sent word back that General Sigel