War of the Rebellion: Serial 016 Page 0358 OPERATIONS IN N.VA., W.VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

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must pardon me for having delayed my answer to your letter of the 8th so long. I wanted to be positively assured of the correctness of certain impressions before writing. You are certainly right in demanding that the explanation of my report I gave you in private should be published. To this I have not the slightest objection, and I think I have already assured you of my willingness to dos o; but I must confess I should never have thought that the passage in my report to which you have directed my attention could have been misinterpreted had not your first letter convinced me of the fact, nor have I to this very moment received any intimation to that effect from any other quarter. It would therefore seem entirely proper that my explanation should be published in connection with your letter calling for it and the correspondence to which it gave rise. If this meets your views, you will oblige me by sending me copies of the two letters I addressed to you, so that I amy forward the whole to the New York Tribune, or you will perhaps have the kindness to send them there directly, if this should seem convenient to you.

Before closing our correspondence, however, you will permit me to make a few remarks about a passage occurring in your letter of the 8th instant. You speak of circumstances attending my meeting you; our conversation about the battery you had posted near my troops the instructions you gave it; the direction you took when you left me (which was not in retreat); your remaining near that part of the ground till dark; your posting Gibbon's brigade on that ground after my troops had retired from it to Bull Run (which brigade remained there two hours after dark, and then passed us while we were in bivouac near the stream), most of which could not but have been known to me. I am obliged to say that some of these things were unknown to me, and are somewhat in conflict with my impression. In my note of the 7th instant I stated already that I had seen you near the spot where I had met you for about half an hour, and then you went toward the farm-house on the left. From that moment I did not see you again, but it was reported to me by two of my aides, whom I had sent across Young's Branch to bring up two of my regiments, that about dusk they had seen you crossing the bridge at the head of your staff some of your officers crying out to the retreating soldiers, who obstructed the road, "Make room for the general!" The colonel who commands my Second Brigade reported to me the same thing.

As to Gibbon's brigade, I saw that myself, about night-fall, occupying the ground where my First and part of my Second Brigade had been. But from that place my troops had not "retired to Bull Run", as you suppose, but marched to the left and front, where the battle was still going on. There they remained a considerable time. It was long after dark, and the firing had ceased for a long while, when I withdrew them by order of General Sigel. My First Brigade formed the rear guard of General Sigel's corps, and there were no troops near us when we marched across Young's Branch and took position between it and Bull Run. So it would seem that Gibbon had either left the ground or at least changed position before my First Brigade passed the creek. Colonel Schimmelfenning, commander of the brigade, rode in the rear of the column, and reported to me that before passing Young's Branch he had seen General Sykes, who had informed him that he (General Sykes) was to form the rear guard of the army; that all the troops had left that part of the field, and that our column had to pass Young's Branch before him. Then, as you know, we bivouacked between Young's Branch and Bull Run for over tow hours, and General Sykes