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[351] post in the works at Manassas Junction, and requested Gen. Halleck to push Franklin with all speed to Gainesville; that he could march quite as rapidly as he could be transported by rail with the limited means of railroad transportation in our possession, and that his baggage and supplies could be sent forward to Gainesville by rail. I also sent orders to the Colonel commanding at Manassas Junction for the first division that reached there from Alexandria to halt and take post in the works at that place, and directed him to push forward all of his cavalry in the direction of Thoroughfare Gap, to watch any movements the enemy might make from that direction. I had instructed General Sturgis, commanding at Alexandria, on the twenty-second of August, to post strong guards along the railroad from Manassas Junction to Catlett's station, and requested him to superintend this in person. I also directed General Kearny, who reached Warrenton Junction on the twenty-third, to see that sufficient guards were placed all along the railroad in his rear. After these precautions and assurances, I had thought and confidently expected that by the afternoon of the twenty-sixth, Franklin would have been at or near Gainesville; one division would have been occupying the works at Manassas Junction, and that the forces under Sturgis and Cox would have been at Warrenton Junction, whence they could have been at once pushed north in the direction of Warrenton turnpike. The orders for the disposition of the forces then under my command were sent, and the movements made, so far as practicable, during the day of the twenty-sixth. About eight o'clock at night on the twenty-sixth, the advance of Jackson's force having passed through Thoroughfare Gap, cut the railroad in the neighborhood of Kettle Run, about six miles east of Warrenton Junction. The cavalry force which I had sent forward to Thoroughfare Gap on the morning of the twenty-sixth made no report to me. The moment our communications were interrupted at Kettle Run, I was satisfied that the troops which had been promised me from the direction of Washington, had made no considerable progress. Had Franklin been even at Centreville on the twenty-sixth, or had Cox and Sturgis been as far west as Bull Run on that day, the movement of Jackson through Thoroughfare Gap upon the railroad at Manassas would have been utterly impracticable. So confidently did I expect, from the assurances which I had time and again received, that these troops would be in position, or at all events, far advanced toward me, that Jackson's movement toward White Plains, and in the direction of Thoroughfare Gap, had caused but little uneasiness; but on the night of the twenty-sixth it was very apparent to me that all these expected reenforcements had utterly failed me; and that upon the small force under my own immediate command, I must depend alone for any present operations against the enemy. It was easy for me to retire in the direction of the lower fords of the Rappahannock to Fredericksburgh, so as to bring me in immediate contact with the forces there or arriving there; but by so doing I should have left open the whole front of Washington; and after my own disappointment of the reenforcements which I had expected, I was not sure that there was any sufficient force, in the absence of the army under my command, to cover the capital. I determined, therefore, at once to abandon the line of the Rappahannock, and throw my whole force in the direction of Gainesville and Manassas Junction, to crush the enemy, who had passed through Thoroughfare Gap, and to interpose between the army of General Lee and Bull Run. During the night of the twenty-sixth the main body of the enemy still occupied their positions from Sulphur Springs to Waterloo Bridge and above; but toward morning, on the twenty-seventh, I think their advance moved off in the direction of White Plains, pursuing the route previously taken by Jackson, and, no doubt, with a view of uniting with him eastward of the Bull Run range.

From the eighteenth of August, until the morning of the twenty-seventh, the troops under my command had been continuously marching and fighting night and day, and during the whole of that time there was scarcely an interval of an hour without the roar of artillery. The men had had little sleep, were greatly worn down with fatigue, had had little time to get proper food or to eat it, had been engaged in constant battles and skirmishes, and had performed services, laborious, dangerous and excessive, beyond any previous experience in this country. As was to be expected under such circumstances, the numbers of the army under my command had been greatly reduced by death, by wounds, by sickness, and by fatigue, so that on the morning of the twenty-seventh of August, I estimated my whole effective force (and I think the estimate was large) as follows: Sigel's corps, nine thousand men; Banks's corps, five thousand men; McDowell's corps, including Reynolds's division, fifteen thousand five hundred men; Reno's corps, seven thousand; the corps of Heintzelman and Porter, (the freshest, by far, in that army,) about eighteen thousand men, making in all fifty-four thousand five hundred men. Our cavalry numbered on paper about four thousand men; but their horses were completely broken down, and there were not five hundred men, all told, capable of doing such service as should be expected from cavalry. The corps of Heintzelman had reached Warrenton Junction, but was without wagons, without artillery, with only four rounds of ammunition to the man, and without even horses for the General and field-officers. The corps of Porter had also reached Warrenton Junction, with a very small supply of provisions, and but forty rounds of ammunition for each man. On the morning of the twenty-seventh, in accordance with the purpose previously set forth, I directed McDowell to move forward rapidly on Gainesville, by the Warrenton turnpike, with his own corps and Sigel's, and the division of Reynolds, so as to reach that point during the night. I directed General Reno, with his corps, followed by Kearny's division of

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