He has been justly blamed for not ordering a strong reconnoissance to develop the true state of affairs.
His proper move at the time, as, indeed, it had been for some days, was to fall back with his whole army to Manassas
He would, perhaps, have done this but that Halleck
had ordered him to hold especially the lower Rappahannock
, covering Falmouth
, and to ‘fight like the devil.’
On the 26th, Jackson
marched at dawn, and now the head of his column was turned to the east, and his men knew where they were going.
In front of them was Thoroughfare Gap, through the Bull Run Mountains
, which debouched upon the heart of the enemy's territory, held by six times their numbers.
A march of about 20 miles brought Jackson
, on the Warrenton and Alexandria pike
, by mid-afternoon.
Here he was overtaken by Stuart
with the cavalry.
These had skirmished at Waterloo Bridge all day of the 25th, and marched at 2 A. M. on the 26th to follow Jackson
, finding the roads blocked by Jackson's artillery and trains, they had left the roads, and with skilful guides had found passes through the Bull Run Mountains
, without going through Thoroughfare Gap.
, instead of marching directly upon Manassas Junction
, where Pope
's depot of supplies was located, took the road to Bristoe Station, seven miles south of Manassas
There the railroad was crossed by Broad Run
designed to destroy the bridge and place a force in position to delay the enemy's approach, while he burned the supplies at Manassas
The head of Ewell
's column reached Bristoe
about sunset, having marched about 25 miles.
So far, during this whole day, no report of Jackson
's march had reached the Federals
Now, a train of empty cars, running the gantlet of a hot fire and knocking some cross-ties off the track, escaped going to Manassas
, and gave the alarm.
's division took position to hold off the enemy, Gen. Trimble
volunteered, with two regiments, the 21st Ga. and 21st N. C., to march back and capture Manassas
, before it could be Reenforced from Alexandria
Proceeding cautiously in line of battle, it was nearly midnight when these troops were fired upon with artillery from the