Gen. Sturgis, to arrest all stragglers arriving at Alexandria; to confine them in military prisons, and to bring them to speedy trial. The active and incessant movements of the army prevented me, during the whole of this campaign, from giving that attention to the subject, except in orders, which ought to be and must be given to it, to preserve efficiency and discipline among any troops. Our cavalry at Centreville was completely broken down, no horses whatever having reached us to remount it. Generals Buford and Bayard, commanding the whole of the cavalry force of the army, reported to me that there were not five horses to the company that could be forced into a trot. It was impossible, therefore, to cover our front with cavalry, or to make cavalry reconnoissances, as is usual and necessary in front of an army.. I directed Gen. Sumner, on the morning of the first of September, to push forward a reconnoissance of two brigades toward the Little River turnpike, to ascertain if the enemy were making any movements in the direction of Germantown or Fairfax Court-House. The enemy was found moving again slowly toward our right, heavy columns of his force being in march toward Fairfax along Little River pike. The main body of our forces was so much broken down, and so completely exhausted, that they were in no condition, even on the first of September, for any active operations against the enemy; but I determined to attack at daylight on the second of September, in front of Chantilly. The movement of the enemy had become so developed by the afternoon of the first, and was so evidently directed to Fairfax Court-House, with a view of turning my right, that I made the necessary disposition of troops to fight a battle between the Little River pike and the road from Centreville to Fairfax Court-House. I sent General Hooker early in the afternoon to Fairfax Court-House, and directed him to assemble all the troops that were in the vicinity, and to push forward to Germantown with his advance. I directed McDowell to move back along the road to Fairfax Court-House, as far as Difficult Creek, and to connect by his right with Hooker. Reno was to push forward to the north of the road from Centreville to Fairfax, in the direction of Chantilly. Heintzelman's corps was directed to take post on the road between Centreville and Fairfax, immediately in the rear of Reno. Franklin took post on McDowell's left and rear; Sumner was posted on the left of Heintzelman, while the corps of Sigel and Porter were directed to unite with the right of Sumner; Banks was instructed with the wagon trains of the army, to pursue the old Braddock road and come into the Alexandria turnpike in rear of Fairfax Court-House. Just before sunset on the first, the enemy attacked us on our right, but was met by Hooker, McDowell, Reno, and Kearny's division, of Heintzelman's corps. A very severe action occurred in the midst of a terrific thunder-storm, and was terminated shortly after dark. The enemy was driven back entirely from our front, but during that engagement we lost two of the best, and one of our most distinguished officers--Major-Gen. Kearny and Brig.-Gen. Stevens--who were both killed while gallantly leading their commands, and in front of their line of battle. It is unnecessary for me to say one word of commendation of two officers who were so well and widely known to the country. Words cannot express my sense of the zeal, the gallantry, and the sympathy of that most earnest and accomplished soldier, Major-Gen. Kearny. In him the country has suffered a loss which it will be difficult, if not impossible, to repair. He died as he would have wished to die, and as became his heroic character. On the morning of the second of September, the enemy still continuing his movements toward our right, my whole force was posted behind Difficult Creek, from Flint Hill to the Alexandria turnpike. Although we were quite able to maintain our position at that place until the stragglers could be collected, and the army, after its labors and perils, put into condition for effective service, I considered it advisable, for reasons which developed themselves at Centreville, and were apparent to the General-in-Chief, and are set forth herewith in the appendix, that the troops should be drawn back to the intrenchments in front of Washington, and that some reorganization should be made of them, in order that earlier effective service should be secured than was possible in their condition at that time. I received orders about twelve o'clock on the second of September to draw back the forces within the intrenchments, which was done in good order, and without any interruption by the enemy. The reasons which induced me, before I took the field in Virginia, to express to the Government my desire to be relieved from the command of the army of Virginia, and to return to the West, existed in equal if not in greater force at this time than when I first stated them. I accordingly renewed urgently my application to be relieved. The Government assented to it with some reluctance, and I was transferred to the Department of the North-West, for which department I left Washington on the seventh of September. It seems proper for me, since so much misrepresentation has been put into circulation as to the support I received from the army of the Potomac, to state precisely what forces of that army came under my command, and were at any time engaged in the active operations of the campaign. Reynolds's division of Pennsylvania reserves, about two thousand five hundred strong, joined me on the twenty-third of August, at Rappahannock station. The corps of Heintzelman and Porter, about eighteen thousand strong, joined me on the twenty-sixth and twenty-seventh of August at Warrenton Junction. The Pennsylvania reserves, under Reynolds, and Heintzelman's corps, consisting of Hooker and Kearny, rendered most gallant and efficient service in all the operations which occurred after they had reported to me. Porter's corps, from unnecessary and unusual delays, and frequent and flagrant disregard of my orders, took no part whatever, except
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