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