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 McClellan, after his arrival at Alexandria on the 27th, had set himself immediately to work to reorganize the few troops left under his orders, and to put them in a condition to take the field again. He had sent for Sumner, whom Halleck had so unadvisedly ordered to land at Aquia Creek, and who, coming up on his transports, joined him on the morning of the 28th. Almost at the same time, Franklin was approaching the wharves of Alexandria. These two army corps, being entirely without means of transportation, could not effect a junction with Pope, of whom there were no tidings, who was believed to be cut off from Washington by the whole of the enemy's army. But if he had taken position at Centreville, and if Sumner and Franklin had been able to push their heads of column forward without taking the precautions necessary in passing through an enemy's country, they would have promptly taken a reinforcement of twenty or twenty-five thousand men to the army of Virginia. In point of fact, notwithstanding the time consumed in the preparations required by the circumstances, Franklin had begun his march on the morning of the 29th. The necessity of concentrating all his forces in the vicinity of Centreville was the more imperative for Pope, because his provisions were beginning to fail; the fatal effects of the burning of the depots at Manassas were already being felt, and he could not but know that, whether victorious or vanquished, hunger would oblige him to take his army back to the left bank of Bull Run the next day. But still believing he should find Jackson isolated, and that the latter would try to escape him by a speedy retreat through Thoroughfare Gap, he determined, the morning of the 29th, to bar his passage by again occupying the position of Gainesville, so imprudently abandoned the day before. Being convinced that he should not meet the enemy before reaching Gainesville, he thought to gain time by not uniting his several army corps to march upon that village, but simply designated the latter as a point of concentration for his columns, which came by different roads, some from Manassas and others from Centreville. He was thus dividing his forces, and turning his back upon Franklin, at the very moment when the latter was endeavoring to join him. Heintzelman and Reno were ordered to leave Centreville by the Warrenton turnpike, and cross
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