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 altogether from the railroad, and the ‘presage of victory’ was turned to naught.1 Turning now to the left, where Porter was to have assailed the Confederate left, it appears that the order which Pope sent at half-past 4, did not reach Porter till about dusk. He then made dispositions for attack, but it was too late. It is, however, more than doubtful that even had the order been received in time, any thing but repulse would have resulted from its execution. Porter was reduced to the necessity of making a direct attack in front; for there was no opportunity of making a turning movement, seeing that, contrary to Pope's opinion, he had then, and had had since noon, Longstreet's entire corps before him.2—So as firing now died away in the
1 The Confederate re-enforcements, of which Kearney speaks, consisted of the brigades of Early and Lawton. (See Report of General A. P. Hill: Reports of the Army of Northern Virginia, vol. II., p. 125.) General Early says, in his report: ‘My brigade and the Eighth Louisiana advanced upon the enemy through a field, and drove him from the woods and out of the railroad—cut, crossing the latter and following in pursuit several hundred yards beyond.’— Ibid., p. 184.
2 As the view above taken of the action of that part of the ‘Second Bull Run,’ fought on the 29th of August, differs in some important particulars from previous accounts, and especially from the official report of General Pope, I shall here substantiate by Confederate official records the truth of such points of difference as are of moment. The question foremost in interest has relation to the time at which Longstreet's corps joined Jackson. General Pope repeatedly states that this did not take place till ‘about sunset’ (see Pope's Official Report, p. 21); and it is on this ground that he and the court-martial that tried General Porter based their condemnation of that officer for not turning Jackson's right. Says Pope: ‘I believe—in fact, I am positive—that at five o'clock in the afternoon of the 29th, General Porter had in his front no considerable body of the enemy. I believed then, as I am very sure now, that it was easily practicable for him to have turned the right flank of Jackson, and to have fallen upon his rear; that if he had done so, we should have gained a decisive victory over the army under Jackson before he could have been joined by any of the forces of Longstreet’ (Pope's Report, p. 22.) Now this assertion is traversed by the positive evidence of the official reports of several of the generals under Longstreet's command, who show conclusively that Longstreet joined Jackson as early as noon. Says Longstreet himself: ‘Early on the 29th the columns were united, and the advance, to join General Jackson, was resumed. The noise of battle was heard before we reached Gainesville. The march was quickened to the extent of our capacity. The excitement of battle seemed to give new life and strength to our jaded men, and the head of my column soon reached a position in rear of the enemy's left flank.’ (Reports of the Army of Northern Virginia, vol. II., p. 8.) See also Hood. (Ibid., p. 209.) But General D. R. Jones, who commanded the rear division of Longstreet's corps is still more explicit. ‘Early on the morning of the 29th, I took up the march in the direction of the old battle-ground of Manasses, whence heavy firing was heard. Arriving on the ground about noon, my command was stationed on the extreme right of our line,’ etc. (Ibid., p. 217.) This would appear to settle the time of arrival of Longstreet; and I shall now show that before Porter came up from Manassas, Longstreet had taken up such a position as to bar his advance towards Gainesville. On this head Longstreet's own testimony will suffice, and it is as complete as could be desired. After giving his dispositions for his connection with Jackson's right, he states that ‘Hood's division was deployed on the right and left of the Warrenton turnpike, at right angles with it. General D. R. Jones' division was placed upon the Manassas Gap Railroad, to the right, and in echelon with regard to the three last brigades.’ (Ibid., pp. 81, 82.) Now it is quite obvious that this disposition covered Porter's whole front, and that it barred his approach to Gainesville. Any attack by Porter would therefore necessarily be made in front. When he received Pope's order to attack the enemy's right and turn his rear, Morell's division was already deployed in front of Longstreet, and it was near dark when the order came to hand. Probably there is no military man who will now say that the operation indicated by Pope was at that time possible. General Porter many months subsequent to these events, and after having in the meanwhile had command of the forces for the defence of the capital, and been at the head of his corps at the battle of Antietam, was arraigned before a court. martial at Washington, and dismissed the service of the United States, for alleged disobedience to the above orders of Pope. I do not constitute myself the champion of General Porter, nor of any other officer; but having become possessed of the Confederate official reports, and having been struck with the new light thrown on these events by the unconscious testimony given above by the Confederate generals, I should have violated my instinct of historic veracity to have suppressed these facts.
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