You are substantially correct as to what occurred after five o'clock of the 21st. In obedience to your orders, as delivered by Colonel Lay, with my own brigade and Longstreet's, I moved directly on Centreville, as the best and most practicable route for intercepting the enemy's retreat. Guided by the dust, the enemy fired a shot in the direction of our advance. I sent forward Colonel Lay with an escort of cavalry to reconnoitre. I am not sure whether Major Whiting of your staff, then with me, accompanied Colonel Lay-he probably did. The enemy opened fire with artillery on this party; they reported, on their return, that the enemy were in force in line of battle on the heights of Centreville. In the course of the conference which followed, and upon the state of facts then presented, Major Whiting said, in substance, that as a member of your staff he would suggest-possibly that he would direct — the further pursuit stopped. The views of Major Whiting thus expressed had, justly, great weight with, and possibly ought to have controlled, me; but all the circumstances led me to the same conclusion. I did stop, and deployed the two brigades on the right and left of the road; and Major Whiting went to the junction to report, and sent me from there further instructions for the night. I made a report after the battle, but did not write the details of Major Whiting's connection with the matter. General McGowan, of Abbeville, and Judge Aldrich, of Barnwell, then on my staff, remember this matter substantially as stated; and probably others of my staff.
Yours very truly, M. L. Bonham. General J. E. Johnston.
General McDowell's orders for the 21st of July were as follows:
Headquarters Department Army of Eastern Virginia, Centreville, July 20, 1861.The enemy has planted a battery on the Warrenton turnpike to defend the passage of Bull Run; has seized