corps and divisions were placed as follows: Rickett's division of McDowell's corps was in front and on the east side of Thoroughfare Gap, holding in check the advance of Longstreet's forces. Sigel's corps had been turned toward the Warrenton pike and Centreville by the way of New Market. Reynolds' division was on the road leading to Manassas near Bethlehem Church. King's division of McDowell's corps was between the Manassas Railroad and the Warrenton pike, and about 2 miles southwestwardly from Groveton. A small portion of Jackson's forces were near Groveton, probably less than a brigade; but the main portion was at Centreville and marching toward Sudley Springs, and bearing from that point toward Groveton, on the Warrenton pike, near to which point and on the pike was collected at least fifty transportation wagons of the rebels' train, headed toward Gainesville. General Pope was following the mass of Jackson's forces toward Centreville from Manassas.
At the hour of 1.20 p.m. General Pope transmitted the following order to General McDowell, which was received at about the hour of 4 o'clock p.m.:
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF VIRGINIA,
Manassas Junction, August 28, 1862-1.20 p.m.
I sent you a dispatch a few minutes ago directing you to move on Gum Springs to intercept Jackson; since then I have received your note of this morning. I will this evening push forward Reno to Gainesville and follow with Heintzelman, unless there is a large force of the enemy at Centreville, which I do not believe. Ascertain if you can about this. I do not wish you to carry out the order to proceed to Gum Springs if you consider it too hazardous, but I will support you in any way you suggest, by pushing forward from Manassas Junction across the turnpike.
Jackson has a large train, which should certainly be captured. Give me your views fully. You know the country much better than I do. Come no farther in this direction with your command, but call back what has advanced thus far.
Shortly after this order had been dispatched another order, as follows, was sent by General Pope to General McDowell, which was received at 4.15 p.m.:
HEADQUARTERS MANASSAS JUNCTION, August 28, 1862.
The enemy is reported in force on the other side of Bull Run, on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, as also near Centreville. I have ordered Sigel to march upon Centreville immediately, as also Kearny and ReNumbers I will advance Hooker as reserve. Please march immediately with your command directly upon Centreville from where you are.
General McDowell immediately turned back King's division onto the Warrenton pike en route for Centreville. He then rejoined Reynolds' division, and, passing Bethlehem Church, turned that division northwardly toward the Warrenton pike by the Sudley Springs road. He then proceeded himself with a part of his staff to Manassas Station, being distant about 3 miles eastwardly from the point where he had parted from Reynolds' division. He thus separated himself more than 10 miles from Ricketts' division and certainly not less than 6 miles from King's division, being the two divisions composing his corps, and in a special manner under his command.
Just at dark, while General McDowell was at Manassas Station, King's division, then marching eastwardly along the pike, came in collision