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[46] blundered on that day. I moved forward as soon as notified by General Jones that I was ordered and he had been.

If there was an order sent me to advance before the one I received through General Jones, it is more than likely it would have been given to the same express.

Respectfully,


Manassas, Va., July 26, 1861.
General,—Your letter of the 25th inst. is received. I do not attach the slightest blame to you for the failure of the movement on Centreville, but to the guide who did not deliver the order to move forward, sent at about eight A. M. to General Holmes and then to you—corresponding in every respect to the one sent to Generals Jones, Bonham and Longstreet—only their movements were subordinate to yours. Unfortunately no copy, in the hurry of the moment, was kept of said orders, and so many guides, about a dozen or more, were sent off in different directions, that it is next to impossible to find out who was the bearer of the orders referred to. Our guides and couriers were the worst set I ever employed, whether from ignorance or over-anxiety to do well and quickly, I cannot say; but many regiments lost their way repeatedly on their way toward the field of battle, and of course I can attach no more blame to their commanding officers than I could to you for not executing an order which I am convinced you did not get.

I am fully aware that you did all that could have been expected of you or your command. I merely expressed my regret that my original plan could not be carried into effect, as it would have been a most complete victory with only half the trouble and fighting.

The true cause of countermanding your forward movement after you had crossed was that it was then too late, as the enemy was about to annihilate our left flank, and had to be met and checked there, for otherwise he would have taken us in flank and rear, and all would have been lost.

Yours truly,

P. S.—Please read the above to Major James.


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