I do not know of anything to hinder troops marching along the railroad there. There was a road running each side of the railroad. I should think it would have been easy for troops to move along there, although I may be mistaken in that.
General Reynolds, called by the accused, and who entertained a very strong estimate of the embarrassments in the way of the march of troops on the night of the 27th over the road to Bristoe Station, admitted, on cross-examination, that dark as was the night, troops could have marched, provided they had had a road and a guide to conduct them - both of which the command of General Porter had. General Heintzelman testifies that it was not impossible for troops to have marched over that road on the night of the 27th, but that there would have been a great many stragglers, of which, he said, there are more or less on all night marches. He describes the road as narrow, but "in tolerable good condition."
General Pope was asked this question:
Question. If there were any obstacles in the way of such a march as your order contemplated either growing out of the night or the character of the road, will you please state them?
There was no difficulty in marching, so far as the night was concerned. I have several times made marches with a larger force than General Porter had, during the night. There was some obstruction on the road, in a wagon train that was stretched along the road, marching toward the Manassas Junction, in rear of Hocker's division, not sufficient, in my judgment, to have delayed for any considerable length of time the passage of artillery. But even had the roads been entirely blocked up, the railroad track was clear, and along that track had passed the larger portion of General Hooker's division. There was no obstruction to the advance of artillery.
There were a very few breaks in the road, but its general condition is shown to have been good. General Pope made the following statement on this point:
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 on the night of the 27th 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 to Kettle Run had been burned, but a hundred yards above the bridge the creek by a ford; and from there toward Bristoe Station, the most of the country, in fact, nearly the whole of it, was open country; that is, as I remember the country, riding along on the afternoon of the 27th of August.
General Roberts, who passed from Warrenton Junction to Bristoe Station on the 27th, says: "The condition of the road was good generally;" and in another part of his testimony General Pope used this language:
The road was in good condition everywhere. At most places it was a double road on each side of the railroad track. I am not sure it was a double road all the way; a part of the way I know it was.
Captain DeKay states that "the road was good;" and Lieutenant Brooks, who was well acquainted with it, that it was "very good." Lieutenant-Colonel Myers was asked:
Question. What was the condition of the road between Warrenton Junction and Bristoe Station at that time (27th), so far as regards the passage of wagons, artillery, &c.?
Answer. It was in excellent condition at that time.