and it was about 11 or 12 o'clock when I saw the appearance of which I speak-the sign of a heavy action, from the smoke rising. It was very plainly in view from Centreville; you looked right down upon it, and you could hear the sound of the guns. i did not ride up to the town at first, but finding that General Pope had not ridden on, as I had supposed, I rode back to Centreville, and then it was I saw the appearance I speak of, about 11 or 12 o'clock. I should mention, too in order that it many be clearly understood in regard to the action, that at the time I was sent off from the road, while General Pope was riding on the field, there was a cessation of cannon firing for a considerable time, I should say for certainly a half an hour.
Question. Was or was not the battle raging at 5 p. m. on that day?
Answer. Yes, sir; severely.
Question. Are you sufficiently acquainted with the disposition of the forces under General Pope, and of those of the enemy at that hour, to express an opinion as to what would have been the effect of an attack by General Porter's corps upon the right flank of the enemy at between 5 and 6 o'clock p. m. of that day?
This question was objected to by the accused.
The curt was thereupon cleared.
After some time the court was reopened, and the judge-advocate announced the decision of the court to be that the witness shall answer the question.
The question was then repeated as above.
Answer. I do not know as I am sufficiently acquainted with the numbers and disposition of the enemy to give a conclusive answer in regard to that. I can give my view of it, and give the reasons why I think a flank attack would have been successful. The enemy were fighting a defensive battle.
At this point the accused suggested to the court whether, in view of what the witness had said in regard to his knowledge of the numbers and disposition of the enemy, it was proper for him to proceed with his answer.
At the request of a member of the court, the court was cleared.
After some time the court was reopened; whereupon the judge-advocate announced the decision of the court to be that the witness proceed with his answer.
The witness continued as follows:
Answer. The enemy were fighting a defensive battle. Their right lay near the turnpike road between Warrenton and Centreville. The main force, from which they were detached for the time being, were off toward Thoroughfare Gap, or beyond it. Their position was a strong one for defense in front, and in the direction in which the three corps of Sigel, Heintzelman, and Reno were fighting them. Far and back from the front they had a line of retreat toward Thoroughfare Gap, toward their main force. The direction of a flank attack moving on the road from Manassas to Gainesville, and then moving in upon their flank, was such as to cut off their line of retreat. We drove them off the ground as it was. I believe that if the attack had been made on their flank at that time, exhausted as they were by the fighting through the day, it would have made the defeat a rout, by striking them on their line of retreat toward their main forces, and rolling them up on Bull run and the east of the Gum Spring road, and os on in that direction. In saying that I did not know their disposition sufficiently to give a conclusive answer, I meant, of course, that I did not now the amount of force on their right. But from the fact that all our attack had been directed with our left resting on that road, and their right apparently resting there, I supposed that if they had had a heavy force beyond that road they would have attempted a flank attack upon us. The appearance of the field was such as to lead one to suppose that he entire force of the enemy, except, perhaps, something thrown out to guard that flank, was right in front of us on those ridges. That was where all their artillery fire was, and there was where the fight continued during the day. They were fighting in that position, with their backs toward their main force. Of course, though we might drive them off the field, we could accomplish not any great success, with their great force in the rear and off beyond Thoroughfare Gap. This flank attack was the main attack to decide the battle, by striking them quartering on the flank and cutting off their line of retreat, so that they could not unite with their main force in that direction.