War of the Rebellion: Serial 015 Page 0331 Chapter XXIV. GENERAL REPORTS.

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unless there is a large force of the enemy at Centreville, which I do not believe. As certain, if you can, about this.

Again, the following paragraph occurs in the same order:

Give me your views fully. You know the country much better than I do.

But immediately after that order the second one was received, which disclosed that the enemy was near Centreville; that Sigel, Kearny, and Reno had been ordered to march upon Centreville, and directing him, McDowell, to march directly upon Centreville with his command from where he then was.

Clearly this last order contained no implication which can justify the separation of General McDowell from his corps. The moment had arrived for prompt concentration of the whole army against the rebel troops under Jackson. He knew that King's line of march was in the direction of the small force of the enemy by which he had been assailed on the Warrenton pike in the morning. He knew also that Longstreet was approaching by Thoroughfare Gap.

However valuable he might have supposed the expression of his views to General Pope in person, they could be of no avail, while the misconduct of his own corps thwarted a plan the execution of which afforded an opportunity for speedy victory.

He heard the sound of battle while he was yet at Manassas, and made immediate and persistent efforts to rejoin his corps; but he lost his way in the darkness, and, after passing the night with a portion of Sigel's command, found early in the morning that his own corps had retired.

His subsequent efforts on the 29th to repair the consequences of that unfortunate movement of his corps and to press them forward into action were earnest and energetic, and disclose fully that the separation, of which the court has thus stated its disapproval, was inconsiderate and unauthorized, but was not induced by any unworthy motive.

The court also feel bound to report the fact that his commanding officer, General Pope, not only omitted to hold him culpable for this separation, but emphatically commended his whole conduct while under his command, without exception or qualification.

In the course of the investigation General McDowell manifested a just and proper sensibility to the dissemination against him of the charge of drunkenness as well as disloyalty.

The charge of disloyalty was made by an officer of the rank of colonel after being fatally wounded in battle. It was made in general terms, without defining any specific act. The accuser is dead, and the court does not feel at liberty to say more of it than that it is utterly destitute of any foundation in fact; that it is fully disproved by all the evidence bearing on the point, and that the dying officer who made it must have been the subject of deplorable misapprehension, like many others who have formed opinions from calumnious rumors and presumptions.

The court denounces the charge of drunkenness against General McDowell as ridiculous. The fact is that there is no man in the land more free than he from all taint of such vice. Among temperate men he is proved by the testimony to belong to the most temperate and even abstemious.

The court is entirely satisfied that no man ever saw him in the slightest degree under the influence of intoxicating drink.

In taking leave of the many groundless imputations against General McDowell the court call attention to the alacrity of a portion of the