Banks with the enemy at Cedar Mountain, the court have found no incident to modify their approval.
The conduct of General McDowell on the 28th and 29th days of August, in the neighborhood of the locality best known as Manassas and Bull Run, has been the subject of specific arraignment in the evidence of General Sigel, and the court have felt bound to examine with critical attention all the testimony relating to the operations of those days. Previous to the 27th day of August the forces of the enemy under Jackson had moved east of Thoroughfare Gap, and came between the army under General Pope and the city of Washington.
This force of Jackson was about 25,000 strong, probably somewhat less. On the 27th General McDowell, with his own corps and that of General Sigel and Reynolds' division, had proceeded eastwardly from Warrenton toward Gainesville across Broad Run at Buckland Mills. He was thus moving along the Warrenton pike, so called, in the direction of Centreville and Alexandria. On the night of the 27th the head of his column, to wit, the command of General Milroy, in Sigel's corps, rested at Gainesville. The rear of his column was at Buckland Mills. At this point of time General Pope was at Bristoe and pressing with Heintzelman's corps and Reno's division on the troops of Jackson, which had been driven to Manassas Junction. The rebel general Longstreet, with the largest portion of the enemy's force, was west of the Bull Run Mountains, and was approaching the passage through Thoroughfare Gap to unite with Jackson.
By looking at the map it will thus be perceived that McDowell, with his whole command, including Sigel's corps and Reynolds' division, was interposed between Longstreet and Jackson, while the latter was being closely pressed by General Pope, within striking distance from the direction of Bristoe and Greenwich.
From Gainesville a highway and the Manassas Railroad lead directly to Thoroughfare Gap, which is 5 miles distant, passing through Hay Market, only 2 miles distant. Another highway leads to Manassas Junction, chiefly on the south side of the same railroad. The Warrenton pike passes from Gainesville through Groveton to Centreville.
On the night of the 27th General McDowell received orders from General Pope to march on Manassas, as follows:
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF VIRGINIA,
Bristoe Station, August 27, 1862-9 p.m.
At daylight to-morrow morning march rapidly on Manassas Junction with your whole force, resting your right on the Manassas Gap Railroad, throwing your left well to the east. Jackson, Ewell, and A. P. Hill are between Gainesville and Manassas Junction. We had a severe fight with them to-day, driving them back several miles along the railroad. If you will march promptly and rapidly, at the earliest dawn of day, upon Manassas Junction we shall bag the whole crowd. I have directed Reno to march from Greenwich at the same hour upon Manassas Junction, and Kearny, who is in his rear, to march on Bristoe at daybreak. Be expeditious, and the day is our own.
The order war received at about 2 o'clock on the morning of the 28th, and the movement was directed to be made immediately. Without following the succeeding movements in all their details, the court will direct their attention to the single point in the conduct of General McDowell which they cannot pass without disapproval.
In the afternoon of the 28th, at fifteen minutes past 4 o'clock, the several