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[283] forces, at last united, could then strike a decisive blow. It was necessary to keep within reach of the Federal army and hold it in check, without, however, bringing on a general battle. Jackson therefore decided not to fall back on the Aldie passes, as he was authorized to do; for it would have been to relinquish the hope of joining Longstreet on the eastern slope of the mountains. He determined to take position near the old battle-field of Bull Run, on the ground where McDowell had made his flank movement in 1861. He rested his left upon Bull Run near Sudeley Springs, as if he intended to menace Centreville, and extended his right to Groveton in the direction of Thoroughfare Gap; he was thus facing the junction where he had left nothing but charred debris, and could command the Warrenton turnpike, which lay perpendicular to his line of battle; still presenting his front to Pope, he retained him at Manassas, and in case of necessity he could fall back upon the mountains. He had also found, as a cover to his line, an old railroad embankment, unfinished and abandoned, which formed a sort of breastwork, behind which his men could make a protracted resistance against a superior force. In order, however, to deceive his foe, he caused a portion of his troops to make a detour. While Ewell and Taliaferro's division went directly to place themselves in these positions, Hill, with a view of drawing the Federals in pursuit, marched northward, crossed Bull Run at Blackburn's Ford and arrived at Centreville. But once there, he brought his heads of column back to the left, almost retracing his steps, took Warrenton turnpike, and, crossing Bull Run at the stone bridge, came, on the afternoon of the 28th, to take position to the left of the rest of Jackson's corps. This stratagem was completely successful.

The several Federal corps were all on the march on the morning of the 28th; but being worn out and debilitated, their movements were somewhat haphazard. Pope, still thinking that his last order had been executed as promptly as he had conceived it, was looking for his troops where they had not yet arrived, and sending them orders which they could not receive in time to be of use. Kearny and Reno had joined Hooker at Bristow toward eight o'clock in the morning of the 28th. Taking these troops along with him, Pope had proceeded in the direction of Manassas,

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