kind, strength, and object of the small force that appeared in the road and fired a half-dozen shots at us from a distant hill. It has been asked if this circumstances was reported to General Pope, and if it should not have been. Of the general principle that the general commanding an army shall be informed of everything that may affect it which comes to the knowledge of his subordinates, there can be no question; yet, on the other hand, nothing is so embarrassing, as I have found it to be in the two armies I have commanded, as to receive crude information of what is called a stampede, which tends more to embarrass than to serve any good end. I did not think of sending information until I found out what the party was, and when I did, it did not impress me sufficiently to make me judge it necessary to send across the country for that purpose only.
It will be seen I had communicated freely with the general commanding throughout the campaign. I would not have made an exception in this case had it seemed to me of importance. The importance it has since received grows out of the error in believing it to have been part of the main army of Jackson, which General Sigel thought was near Groveton at that time.
I do not pretend to be able to stand the test of being judged by "wisdom after the fact." I know nothing short of an omniscient being that could.
It was between 3 and 4 in the afternoon that I got word the enemy were not at Manassas, and soon after I received in quick succession the two notes from General Pope; the first one directing me to ascertain about certain matters in Centreville, and asking me to give him my views fully, as I knew the country, he said, better than he did; the last informing me that the enemy were in force on the other side, of the Bull Run, on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, and at Centreville, and directing me to march my forces direct for the latter place.
General Sigel had in the mean time reported to General Pope direct, and received orders direct from him to march to Centreville.
King's division, being nearest the Warrenton pike, was, after the receipt of General Pope's orders, directed upon it to go to Centreville; and Reynolds', being farther to the front in the direction we had been marching and nearer the road from Bethlehem Church to New Market and Centreville, was sent by that road. Under the belief the enemy was moving to the south of us to go entirely around and fall on our enormous wagon train under Banks, and was now on the opposite side of Manassas from where I was, and seeing from General Pope's notes that he was making mistakes as to distances and places, I wished, in order to answer his request, to give him fully my views, as I had been doing throughout the campaign-to confer with him personally, and went to Manassas Junction for that purpose.
My knowledge of the country was referred to because the topographical map of Northeastern Virginia had been made at my headquarters and largely under my own directions, and I was therefore supposed to be well acquainted with the whole country. Much of the country was laid down from actual surveys, but much, and particularly that part around Manassas, which had been made when the country was in the hands of the enemy, was entirely conjectural. Still I knew what was correct from what was supposed to be.
I did not find General Pope at Manassas, and just as I reached there I heard the sound of cannonading in the direction of Groveton, and immediately set out for that place. Failing to get there on the straight