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[536] Bunker Hill, on the direct road to and nine miles from Winchester, which he occupied without resistance.

On the 17th, he turned abruptly to the left, moving away from the enemy in his front, and marching to Charlestown, twelve miles eastward, near the Potomac, leaving Johnston at full liberty to lead his entire force to Manassas. The consequences of this extraordinary movement by Patterson were so important and so disastrous as to demand for it the fullest elucidation.

Maj.-Gen. Charles W. Sanford, of New York, who was second in command to Gen. Patterson during this campaign, testifies1 positively that he was dispatched from Washington by Gen. Scott and the Cabinet, on the 6th of July, to report to Patterson and serve under him, because of the latter's tardiness and manifest indisposition to fight — that he reported to Patterson at Williamsport, with two fresh regiments, on the 10th; was there placed in command of a division composed of 8,000 New York troops, and delivered orders from Gen. Scott, urging “a forward movement as rapidly as possible” --that Patterson then had 22,000 men and two batteries; that delay ensued at Martinsburg; but that the army advanced from that place — on the 15th--to Bunker Hill, nine miles from Johnston's fortified camp at Winchester-Sanford's division moving on the left or east of the other two; that Patterson visited him (Sanford)--whose pickets were three miles further ahead — that afternoon, after the army had halted, and complimented him on his comfortable location; to which he (S.) responded--“Very comfortable, General; but when shall we move on?” to which Patterson replied-but this is so important that we must give the precise language of Gen. Sanford's sworn testimony:

He hesitated a moment or two, and then said: “I don't know yet when we shall move. And, if I did, I would not tell my own father.” I thought that was rather a queer sort of speech to make to me, under the circumstances. But I smiled and said: “General, I am only anxious that we shall get forward, that the enemy shall not escape us.” He replied: “There is no danger of that. I will have a reconnoissance to-morrow, and we will arrange about moving at a very early period.” He then took his leave.

The next day, there was a reconnoissance on the Winchester turnpike, about four or five miles below the General's camp. He sent forward a section of artillery and some cavalry, and they found a post and log fence across the Winchester turnpike, and some of the enemy's cavalry on the other side of it. They gave them a round of grape. The cavalry scattered off, and the reconnaissance returned. That was the only reconnoissance I heard of while we were there. My own pickets went further than that. But it was understood, the next afternoon, that we were to march forward at daylight. I sent down Col. Morell, with 40 men, to open a road down to Opequan creek, within five miles of the camp at Winchester, on the side-roads I was upon, which would enable me, in the course of three hours, to get between Johnston and the Shenandoah river, and effectually bar his way to Manassas. I had my ammunition all distributed, and ordered my men to have 24 hours rations in their haversacks, independent of their breakfast. We were to march at 4 o'clock the next morning. I had this road to the Opequan completed that night. I had then with me. in addition to my eight regiments, amounting to about 8,000 men and a few cavalry, Doubleday's heavy United States battery of 20 and 30-pounders, and a very good Rhode Island battery. And I was willing to take the risk, whether Gen. Patterson followed me up or not, of placing myself between Johnston and the Shenandoah river, rather than let Johnston escape. And, at 4 o'clock, I should have moved over that road for that purpose, if I had had no further orders. But, a little after 12 o'clock at night [July 16th-17th], I received a long order of three pages from Gen. Patterson, instructing me to move on to Charlestoun, which is nearly at right angles to the road I was going to move on, and

1 Before the Joint Committee of Congress on the Conduct of the War.

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