Question. Did, or did not, General Porter engage the enemy on the 29th of August; and, if not, was it or not in violation of your orders?
The latter part of the question was objected to by a member of the court.
The court was then cleared. After some time the court was reopened: whereupon the judge-advocate announced that the court had decided to put the question in this form:
Question. Did, or did not, General Porter engage the enemy on the 29th of August?
Answer. I do not know, of my own knowledge, that he did so. I think, if he had done so, I should have known it. Upon reflection, since I gave testimony here a day or two ago, I recollect a circumstance which then did not occur to me, and which I will state here: I heard two or three pieces of artillery-perhaps as many as three shots-I think, however, only two, fired toward the right of Jackson's line; I think, about 2 p. m. of the 29th of August. Whether the firing was done by the enemy or by some of our own people I did not then know, and I do not now know. If any considerable engagement had occurred in that direction, I think I could not have failed to have known it, as I was along the front of the line several times during the day, and certainly could have heard anything like a severe action occurring anywhere on the road from Manassas Junction to Gainesville.
Question. At what hour did General Porter put his forces in motion, on the morning of the 28th of August, in the direction of Bristoe Station?
Answer. I do not know, except from reports of others.
Question. At what time, on the morning of the 29th, was the joint order to Generals McDowell and Porter given?
Answer. I have endeavored, in my previous testimony, to state it as nearly as I can recollect. My remembrance then was that it was between 8 and 9 o'clock. It may, perhaps, have been somewhat later, though not much.
Question. You mentioned that in going from Warrenton Junction, toward Bristoe Station, on the morning of the 27th of August, you saw many stragglers of Hooker's command on the railroad; where they or not in sufficient numbers to have impeded the march of infantry along the track?
Answer. Shortly after I started east from Warrenton Junction, we came upon the railroad again just east of Cedar Run, and from that time until we reached Bristoe Station the road was lined with stragglers from Hooker's division. Those stragglers commenced singly; then two or three together; then half a dozen, until we had got 3 or 4 or 5 miles from Warrenton Junction, toward the east, when they began to be in bodies of 40 and 50 and 100 together, marching along the railroad track. I should think I saw not less than 1,500 men on the railroad, gong eastward between Warrenton Junction and Bristoe Station. I think the most of them had gotten up to their command at Bristoe Station during the night, though I continued to see small bodies of them coming along the railroad track on the morning of the 28th of August. They occupied the whole track during the day of the 27th, as we were going eastward; but all of them, or the larger portion of them, got to Bristoe Station during the night of the 27th of August.
Question. Were there, to your knowledge, any openings in the track, such as to have made it dangerous for infantry to march along said track at night?
Answer. Along the road, between Warrenton Junction to Kettle Run, which is, perhaps, 3 miles west from Bristoe Station, the track had been torn up in places; but during the day of the 27th of August I directed Captain Merrill, of the engineers, with a considerable force, to repair the track up to the bridge over Kettle Run, which had been burned. he reported to me, ont he night of the 27th, that he had done so; so that from Warrenton Junction to the bridge over Kettle Run there was no obstruction on the railroad of any description. The bridge at Kettle Run had been burned; but a hundred yards above the bridge the road crossed the creek by a ford, and from there toward Bristoe the most of the country-in fact, nearly the whole of it-was open country; that is, as I remember the country, riding along in the afternoon of the 27th of August.