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[285] We have seen that at noon, when Pope found Manassas evacuated, he sent word to McDowell, who was proceeding toward this point from Gainesville, requesting him to bear toward the left, so as to strike the main road, and march upon Centreville. But the order of the commander-in-chief only reached that general when he had already advanced very far in the former direction, and the difficulty of finding practicable roads, in order to follow the new direction indicated, retarded its execution. Nevertheless, toward six o'clock in the evening, McDowell with King's division, followed at a long distance by Siegel and Reynolds, struck the Warrenton and Centreville road at a point where it begins to descend into the little valley of Young's Branch. He was coming from the south; Jackson had already taken position on the wooded heights which command that road to the northward. On his right, Stuart had deployed his cavalry, so as to protect his flank against any attack; he occupied the Warrenton road as far as the vicinity of Gainesville, his line extending as far as possible in the direction of Thoroughfare Gap, for he was impatient to join Longstreet, the booming of whose cannon already resounded through the gorges of the defile. An artillery battle had just commenced between King and Jackson, when the latter was informed by Stuart that his right flank was not menaced by the enemy from the Gainesville Road. Finding himself thus free in his movements, he ordered Ewell to bring his division and Taliaferro's to the attack, and to fall upon the flank of the Federals, who were seen marching in column from the other side of the road. Starke's brigade of Taliaferro's division, supported by the fire of three batteries, advanced first as skirmishers; but the Federal guns soon silenced those of the Confederates. The rest of the division, supported on the left by two of Ewell's brigades, came up to restore the fortunes of the fight. Gallantly led by their chiefs, these six brigades rushed furiously upon the two Federal brigades of Gibbon and Doubleday, posted in a large orchard. Both sides defended their positions with great stubbornness; the two Confederate division commanders were severely wounded; Ewell lost a leg while charging at the head of his soldiers. The latter, however, despite their efforts and numerical superiority, could not succeed in dislodging their adversaries. Night alone

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