War of the Rebellion: Serial 017 Page 0903 Chapter XXIV. CAMPAIGN IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA.

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from General Pope, addressed jointly to General Porter and myself; it was on the road leading from Manassas Junction to Gainesville. I have that order here, and will read it. It is as follows:


Centreville, August 29, 1862

Generals McDOWELL and PORTER:

You will please move forward with your joint commands, toward Gainessville. I sent General Porter written orders to that effect an hour and a half ago. Heintzelman Sigel, and Reno are moving on the Warrenton turnpike, and must now be not far from Gainesville. I desire that as soon as communication is established between this force and your own, the whole command shall halt. It may be necessary to fall back behind Bull Run at Centreville to-night. I presume it will be so on account of our supplies.

I have sent no orders of any description to Ricketts, and none to interfere in any way with the movements of McDowell's troops except what I sent by his aide-de-camp last night which were to hold his position on the Warrenton pike until the troops from here should fall on the enemy's flank and rear. I do not even know Rickett's position, as I have not been aide to find out where General McDowell was until a late hour this morning. General McDowell will take immediate steps to communicate with General Ricketts, and instruct him to join the other division of his corps as soon as practicable.

If any considerable advantages are to be gained by departing from this order, it will not be strictly carried out. One thing must be held in view- that the troops must occupy a position from which they can reach Bull Run to-night or by morning.

The indications are that the whole force of the enemy is moving in this direction at a pace that will bring them here by to-morrow night or the next day.

My own headquarters will for the present be with Heintzelman's corps, or at this place.


Major-General, Commanding.

That was the only order I received from General Pope that day.

Question. How did you regard that order-as placing General Porter in subordination to you, or as indicating that you were both to act independently of each other, and each of you in subordinate to General Pope?

Answer. I cannot say that at that time the order occupied my mind in connection with the question of subordinate or otherwise. In starting out on this road, as I mentioned before, General Porter had started out ahead of me, under the order he had himself received from General Pope to move with his corps and one of my divisions on a certain road, and I think, for a certain purpose, though I am not certain as to that. At that time I conceived General Porter to be under me. When the joint order reached us, we were doing what that joint order directed us to do. That joint order found the troops in the position in which it directed them to be. That joint order gave a discretion too the effect that, if any considerable advantages were to be gained by departing from that order, it was not to be strictly construed. I decided that considerable advantages were to be gained by departing from that order, and I did not strictly construe it, or strictly carry it out. That order contemplated a line being formed which was to be joined on to a line that was to come up from the east to the west, and have the troops on the Gainesville road to attack the flank and rear of the enemy, as I understand it in moving along on the Gainesville road. This long line of troops-those who were ahead of me, General Porter's corps-coming to a halt, I moved along, and rode by his corps to the head of the column. On the way up to the head of the column, I received a note from General Buford, addressed to General Ricketts and to be forwarded to me. This note was addressed primarily to General Ricketts and then to myself for I do not think General Buford knew of General Porter's being there at the time he wrote it. I will read the note:



Seventeen regiments, one battery, 500 cavalry passed through Gainesville three-quarters of an hour ago, on the Centreville road. I think this division should join our forces new engaged at once.



Please forward this.

This was addressed to General Ricketts, who command a division. I do not know whether it went to General Ricketts direct or came to me direct, or came to me from General Ricketts. I infer it had reference to that division. General Buford belonged to General Bank's corps, but had been temporarily under my orders the day before, and had gone up to Thoroughfare Gap with Ricketts' division at the time I expected a force of the enemy to come through that gap; and he had fallen back with Ricketts,and at that time, as I understood, occupied a position to our left and front.

Question. Did you, or not, communicate to General Porter the contents of the note from General Buford which you have read?

Answer. Yes, sir; I did communicate it to him.