staff officer who bore it, says that he proceeded direct from General Pope to the accused, and delivered it-
as early as 5 o'clock, or probably three or four minutes after 5.
Charles Duffee, the orderly who accompanied him, testifies that they left General Pope at about half-past 4, and went on to the headquarters of the accused at a pace-
about as fast as they thought their horses could travel.
He thinks about an hour was occupied on the road, and that the order reached the accused at about half-past 5. These statements are corroborated by the evidence of General McDowell as to the time and place at which he met them and read the order. General Pope says:
I know that an aide-de-camp, riding rapidly, could go from the field of battle to Manassas Junction, or to any point west of Manassas Junction, on the Gainesville road, if he found General Porter in advance of Manassas Junction, within an hour, by going at speed.
General Roberts, who was present when the order was issued, expressed the opinion that it should have been delivered-
in half an hour, or less, as orders are generally carried on such occasions.
Adopting the latest estimate - that of General Pope and the orderly- this would give the accused two hours of daylight within which to make the attack.
On the other hand, there are five witnesses introduced by the accused, three of them being his staff officers, viz: General Sykes, Lieutenant-Colonel Locke, Captain Monteith, Lieutenant Weld, and Lieutenant Ingham, who depose that the order was not received until about sundown. One of them, indeed, though he is not supported by the others, fixes the hour much later. If, in ascertaining the value of testimony, witnesses were counted, and not weighed, the question would be at once settled by the relative numbers as given. Such, however, is not the rule of law, and it may be that, after carefully considering all the circumstances, the court felt that the explicit and intelligent statements of Captain Pope and his orderly, fortified by the corroborative evidence of Generals Pope, McDowell, and Roberts, were not overcome by the opinions of the five officers named. There was, outside of the positive testimony, a consideration strongly supporting this view, and it is this: There is no question as to the time at which Captain Pope left with the order; it was at 4 1/2 o'clock; he rode as fast as his horse could carry him, and had but about 5 miles to travel; and yet, according to the theory of the defense - that he did not arrive until sunset, or half-past six-he was two hours on the way. Is it credible that a staff officer, bearing an important order, in the midst of a fiercely contested battle, would have traveled at this rate, and this, too, when he was conducted by an orderly acquainted with the road, and encountered no obstacle to his progress? Is it not much more probable that but a single hour was occupied, and that, in point of fact, he arrived at half-past 5?
Conceding, however, for the sake of the argument, the position taken by the defense, that the order was not received until sunset, this would have left the accused an hour of daylight with which to make the movement. The enemy had been so far encouraged in their advance by the inaction of the forces of the accused, and by thief falling back, that at this late moment the front of his column was not separated from the advance of the rebels by more than a mile or a mile and a half. But little time, therefore, was required to make the attack. It