the whole of the night of the 28th. My forces were so disposed that McDowell, Sigel, and Reynolds, whose joint forces amounted to about 25,000 men, were immediately west of Jackson and between him and Thoroughfare Gap, whilst Kearny, Hooker, Reno, and Porter, about 25,000 strong, were to fall on him from the east at daylight in the morning or very shortly after. With this disposition of troops we were so far in advance of Longstreet that, by using our whole force vigorously, we should be able to crush Jackson before Longstreet could by any possibility reach the scene of action. To my great disappointment, however, I learned toward daylight on the morning of the 29th that King's division had fallen back in the direction of Manassas Junction, thus leaving open the road to Thoroughfare Gap, and making new movements and dispositions of troops immediately necessary.
I submit herewith the reports of Generals King, Gibbon, and Doubleday of the action of the evening of the 28th, as also a detailed report of General McDowell. The orders directing all these movements are also appended, and they bring the operations of the army up to the 29th of August. The losses in King's division in the action of the evening of the 28th were principally in Gibbon's brigade of that division, and numbered
. Gibbon's brigade consisted of some of the best troops in the service, and the conduct of both men and officers was gallant and distinguished. The report of General King,* herewith appended, exhibits his high opinion of the conduct of this brigade, and of the officers who distinguished themselves in that action.
The disposition of troops on the west of Jackson having failed through Rickett's movement toward Thoroughfare Gap and the consequent withdrawal of King, an immediate change in the disposition and proposed movements of the troops for the succeeding day became necessary, and about daylight on the morning of the 29th, shortly after I received information of the withdrawal of King's division, I sent orders to General Sigel, who was in the neighborhood of Groveton, supported by Reynolds' division, to attack the enemy vigorously as soon as it was light enough to see, and bring him to a stand if it were possible to do so. I instructed General Heintzelman to push forward from Centreville toward Gainesville at the earliest dawn with the divisions of Hooker and Kearny, and directed General Reno to follow closely in his rear; to use all speed, and as soon as he came up with the enemy to establish communication with Sigel, and attack with the utmost promptness and vigor. I also sent orders to Major General Fitz John Porter, at Manassas Junction, to move forward with the utmost rapidity with his own corps and King's division, of McDowell's corps, which was supposed to be at that point, upon Gainesville, by the direct road from Manassas Junction to that place. I urged him to make all speed, that he might come up with the enemy, and be able to turn his flank near where the Warrenton turnpike is intersected by the road from Manassas Junction to Gainesville. Shortly after sending this order I received a note from General McDowell, whom I had not been able to find during the night of the 28th, dated at Manassas Junction, requesting that King's division might not be taken from his command. I immediately sent a joint order to Generals McDowell and Porter, directing them, with their two corps, to march with all speed toward Gainesville on the direct road from Manassas Junction. This order, which is appended, sets forth in detail the movements they were directed to make.
* King's report not found. See his letter of September 28 to Schriver in "Correspondence, etc.," Part III, p. 816.