make them secure, and even then it is difficult to keep the enemy's cavalry off the roads. I shall attack again to-morrow if I can; the next day certainly. I think, it my duty to call your attention to the unsoldierly and dangerous conduct of many brigade and some division commanders of the forces sent here from the Peninsula. Every word and act and intention is discouraging, and calculated to break down the spirits of the men and produce disaster. One commander of a corps, who was ordered to march from Manassas Junction to join me near Groveton, although he was only 5 miles distant, failed to get up at all, and, worse still, fell back to Manassas without a fight, and in plain hearing, at less than 3 miles' distance, of a furious battle, which raged all day. It was only in consequence of peremptory orders that he joined me next day. One of his brigades, the brigadier-general of which professed to be looking for his division, absolutely remained all day at Centreville, in plain view of the battle, and made no attempt to join. What renders the whole matter worse, these are both officers of the Regular Army, who do not hold back from ignorance or fear. Their constant talk, indulged in publicly and in promiscuous company, is that the Army of the Potomac will not fight; that they are demoralized by withdrawal from the Peninsula, &c. When such example is set by officers of high rand the influence is very bad amongst those in subordinate stations.
You have hardly an idea of the demoralization among officers of high rank in the Potomac Army, arising in all instances from personal feeling in relation to changes of commander-in-chief and others. These men are mere tools or parasites, bunt their example is producing, and must necessarily produce, very disastrous results. You should know these things, as you alone can stop to. Its source is beyond my reach, though its effects are very perceptible and very dangerous. I am endeavoring to do all I can, and will most assuredly put them where they shall fight or run away. My advice to you-I give it with freedom, as I know you will not misunderstand it-is that, in view of any satisfactory results, you draw back this army to the entrenchments in front of Washington, and set to work in that secure place to reorganize and rearrange it. You may avoid great disaster by doing so. I do not consider the matter except in a purely military light, and it is bad enough and grave enough to make some action very necessary. When there is no heart in their leaders, and every disposition to hang back, much cannot be expected from the men.
Please hurry forward cavalry horses to me under strong escort. I need them badly-worse than I can tell you.
Numbers 96. HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF VIRGINIA, Near Centreville, September 1, 1862.
GENERAL: General Pope directs you to establish you grand guards on the pike from Centreville to Warrenton. An outpost of one regiment of infantry and two pieces of artillery of Reynolds' division has been ordered to take post on the same road.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. D. RUGGLES,
Colonel and Chief of Staff.