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[90] tested, was again detached from his command and sent to Fairfax Court-House, to provide all necessary means of transportation.

During the night which followed (16th-17th July), General Beauregard sent an urgent request to Richmond by telegram, asking that Generals Johnston and Holmes be now ordered to make a junction with him.

He also published General Orders No. 41, announcing to his command the expected advance of the enemy, and expressing his confidence in their ability to drive him beyond his intrenched lines. It contained the names of his general and personal staff,1 and enjoined obedience to all orders conveyed through them to the troops.

The news of the enemy's movement was true. On the morning of the 17th McDowell's advance was reported to be approaching; and before noon, General Bonham's pickets being driven in, he began his retreat, as had been previously agreed upon.

The enemy made a strong demonstration against him, and sought to strike his communication with Germantown, which was very nearly effected—General Bonham's rear having just passed through the junction of the two roads at the hamlet, as the head of the Federal column came within sight. He retired in fine order to Centreville, and though at night he was enveloped, he was quiet ly withdrawn between 12 o'clock and daylight, behind Mitchell's Ford, fully carrying out the detailed instructions of the general commanding. Rhodes, after a sharp brush with the enemy, fell back to Union Mills Ford, where Ewell was in command of the heaviest brigade of the army.

The enemy had no sooner attacked General Bonham's line, than General Beauregard forwarded the following telegram to the President:

Headquarters, Manassas, July 17th, 1861.
The enemy has assailed my outposts in heavy force. I have fallen back on the line of Bull Run and will make a stand at Mitchell's Ford. If his force is overwhelming I shall retire to the Rappahannock railroad bridge, saving my command for defence there and future operations. Please inform Johnston of this, via Stanton, and also Holmes. Send forward any reinforcements, at the earliest possible instant, and by every possible means.

Towhich the President answered:

1 See Appendix to this chapter.

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