War of the Rebellion: Serial 017 Page 1095 Chapter XXIV. CAMPAIGN IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA.

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the right of the enemy's forces which it directed and intended me to attack, namely, those under Jackson, is too clear to admit of dispute or doubt. What, then, remained for me to do in compliance with the general spirit and meaning of that order as a military movement of co-operation with the army of General Pope? Why, it was, beyond peradventure, my duty to do just what I did o, as directed by General McDowell when he left me; that is, hold on to the strong position in hich my front was posted, with my center and rear within close supporting distance, and thus hold in check me the massing forces of the enemy, which but for my presence there, would have closed up at once upon Jackson's right, crushed our forces in front of it, outflanked General Pope on his left, striking General McDowell on the Sudley Springs road, fall on the left of his column as it moved northward toward the battle-field, and this force surely doomed General Pope's whole army which was engaged that day to an inevitable and signal defeat, even thought its efforts had been, if possible, more heroic and its courage more stubborn than they were. It was the presence and menacing aspect of my corps in its strong position before this separate enemy which alone prevented him from the overwhelming and decisive movement upon General Pope's hard-pressed left and upon General McDowell's column as he approached the battle-field. Thus I say, then, that I complied with the meaning and spirit of General Pope's order; and, when I received it, General Pope was in a position of peril which he did not suspect or imagine, but from which I could shield him so long as I could hold my position.

It was in this view that I sent Colonel Locke, my chief of staff, with a message to detain General King. I felt that I might, I knew not how soon, need his force. And in the event of my not needing it against the enemy in my front, I trusted to it, up to the hour when it was taken from me, to effect, if possible, by a circuitous route, my desired connection with General Reynolds on my right. Why, then, in this situation, did I, just before I received the order of 4.30 p.m. direct General Morell to prepare for an attack upon the enemy? I answer, because at that hour I had just received a message from General Hatch by my aide-de-camp, Lieutenant Weld, as he testifies without contradiction, which led me to suppose that General Pope's left, if not his center, were then forcing back the enemy with whom they were engaged.

In that state of facts, I ordered General Morell to make prompt dispositions enabling him to push on vigorously in pursuit, because it was to have been expected that in such a case of retreat of the enemy opposed to General Pope, the force in front of General Morell would either have left their position to join in that retreat, or else have moved from that position to protect the retreat. And in either event the true military policy of the movement was for my column to be all ready to push on to the assault. General Morell at once dispatched a messenger to inform me that my information of the retreat of the enemy was a mistake, and at the same time, in obedience to my order, he proceeded to make his dispositions for attack. Before his messenger reached me with these tidings, the order of 4.30 p.m., now in question, was placed in my hands. At once I dispatched Colonel Locke, my chief of staff, to the front, to order the commencement of the attack. When I learned the truth of the case, that the enemy was not retreating, I rode rapidly toward the front, examining for myself the situation, and, seeing that it was on all accounts, and especially by reason of the commencing nightfall, impossible that day to do anything effectual, I issued the order to remain as we were and continue to hold our position. When I