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Chapter 30:

On the evening of Aug. 23 I sailed with my staff for Acquia creek, where I arrived at daylight on the following morning, reporting to Gen. Halleck as follows:

Acquia creek, Aug. 24, 1862.
I have reached here, and respectfully report for orders.

I also telegraphed as follows to Gen. Halleck:

Morell's scouts report Rappahannock Station burned and abandoned by Pope without any notice to Morell or Sykes. This was telegraphed you some hours ago. Reynolds, Reno, and Stevens are supposed to be with Pope, as nothing can be heard of them to-day. Morell and Sykes are near Morrisville Post-office, watching the lower fords of Rappahannock, with no troops between there and Rappahannock Station, which is reported abandoned by Pope.

Please inform me immediately exactly where Pope is and what doing; until I know that, I cannot regulate Porter's movements. He is much exposed now, and decided measures should be taken at once. Until I know what my command and position are to be, and whether you still intend to place me in the command indicated in your first letter to me, and orally through Gen. Burnside at the Chickahominy, I cannot decide where I can be of most use. If your determination is unchanged I ought to go to Alexandria at once. Please define my position and duties.

To which I received the following reply from Gen. Halleck:

Aug. 24.
You ask me for information which I cannot give. I do not know either where Gen. Pope is or where the enemy in force is. These are matters which I have all day been most anxious to ascertain.

On the 26th I received the following from Gen. Halleck: [509]

There is reason to believe that the enemy is moving a large force into the Shenandoah Valley. Reconnoissances will soon determine. Gen. Heintzelman's corps was ordered to report to Gen. Pope, and Kearny's will probably be sent to-day against the enemy's flank. Don't draw any troops down the Rappahannock at present; we shall probably want them all in the direction of the Shenandoah. Perhaps you had better leave Gen. Burnside in charge at Acquia creek and come to Alexandria, as very great irregularities are reported there. Gen. Franklin's corps will march as soon as it receives transportation.

On receipt of this I immediately sailed for Alexandria, and reported as follows to Gen. Halleck:

Aug. 27, 8 A. M.
I arrived here last night, and have taken measures to ascertain the state of affairs here, and that proper remedies may be applied. Just received a rumor that railway bridge over Bull Bun was burned last night.

Aug. 27, 9.40 A. M.
The town is quiet, although quite full of soldiers, who are said to be chiefly convalescents.

The affairs of the quartermaster's department are reported as going on well.

It is said that the Bull Run bridge will be repaired by to-morrow. The disembarkation of Sumner's corps commenced at Acquia yesterday afternoon. I found that he could reach Rappahannock Station earlier that way than from here.

On the same day I received the following from Gen. Halleck:

Aug. 27
Telegrams from Gen. Porter to Gen. Burnside, just received, say that Banks is at Fayetteville; McDowell, Sigel, and Ricketts near Warrenton; Reno on his right. Porter is marching on Warrenton Junction to reinforce Pope. Nothing said of Heintzelman. Porter reports a general battle imminent. Franklin's corps should move out by forced marches, carrying three or four days provisions, and to be supplied, as far as possible, by railroad. Perhaps you may prefer some other road than to Centreville. Col. Haupt has just telegraphed about sending out troops. Please see him and give him your directions. There has been some serious neglect to guard the railroad, which should be immediately remedied.

I replied as follows:

Aug. 27, 10 A. M.
Telegram this moment received. I have [510] sent orders to Franklin to prepare to march with his corps at once, and to repair here in person to inform me as to his means of transportation.

Kearny was yesterday at Rappahannock Station; Porter at Bealeton, Kellip, Barnell's, etc. Sumner will commence reaching Falmouth to-day. Williams's Mass. Cavalry will be mostly at Falmouth to-day.

I loaned Burnside my personal escort (one squadron 4th regulars), to scout down Rappahannock.

I have sent for Couch's division to come at once. As fast as I gain any information I will forward it, although you may already have it.

I also received the following telegrams from Gen. Halleck :

Aug. 27.
Direct Gen. Casey to furnish you about 5,000 of the new troops under his command.

Take entire direction of the sending-out of the troops from Alexandria.

Determine questions of priority in transportation and the places they shall occupy. Pope's headquarters are near Warrenton Junction, but I cannot ascertain the present position of his troops.

Aug. 27.
I can get no satisfactory information from the front, either of the enemy or of our troops. There seems to have been great neglect and carelessness about Manassas. Franklin's, corps should march in that direction as soon as possible. A competent officer should be sent out to take direction of affairs in that vicinity.

Upon the receipt of these I immediately sent the following telegram to Gens. Heintzelman and Porter:

Alexandria, Aug. 27, 1862, 10.30 A. M.
Where are you, and what is state of affairs? What troops in your front, right, and left? Sumner is now landing at Acquia. Where is Pope's left, and what of enemy? Enemy burned Bull Run bridge last night with cavalry force.

Maj.-Gen. Heintzelman, Warrenton.

Maj.-Gen. Porter, Bealeton.

P. S. If these general officers are not at the places named, nearest operator will please have message forwarded.

I also telegraphed to the general-in-chief the following despatches: [511]

Aug. 27, 10.50 A. M.
I have sent all the information I possess to Burnside, instructing him to look out well for his right flank, between the Rappahannock and Potomac, and to send no trains to Porter without an escort. I fear the cavalry who dashed at Bull Run last night may trouble Burnside a little. I have sent to communicate with Porter and Heintzelman via Falmouth, and hope to give you some definite information in a few hours. I shall land the next cavalry I get hold of here, and send it out to keep open the communication between Pope and Porter, also to watch vicinity of Manassas. Please send me a number of copies of the best maps of present field of operations. I can use fifty to advantage.

Aug. 27, 11.20 A. M.
In view of Burnside's despatch, just received, would it not be advisable to throw the mass of Sumner's corps here, to move out with Franklin to Centreville or vicinity? If a decisive battle is fought at Warrenton, a disaster would leave any troops on lower Rappahannock in a dangerous position.

They would do better service in front of Washington.

Alexandria, Aug. 27, 12 M.
I have just learned through Gen. Woodbury that it was stated in your office last night that it was very strange that, with (20,000) twenty thousand men here, I did not prevent the raid upon Manassas. This induces me to ask whether your remark in your telegram to-day, that there had been great neglect about Manassas, was intended to apply to me. I cannot suppose it was, knowing, as you do, that I arrived here without information and with no instructions beyond pushing the landing of my troops. The bridge was burned before my arrival; I knew nothing of it until this morning. I ask as a matter of justice that you will prevent your staff from making statements which do me such gross injustice at a time when the most cordial co-operation is required.

Aug. 27, 12.5 P. M.
My aide has just returned from Gen. Franklin's camp; reports that Gens. Franklin, Smith, and Slocum are all in Washington. He gave the order to the next in rank to place the corps in readiness to move at once. I learn that heavy firing has been heard this morning at Centreville, and have sent to ascertain the truth. I can find no cavalry to send out on the roads. Are the works garrisoned and ready for defence?

Aug. 27, 12.20 P. M.
What bridges exist over Bull Run? Have steps been taken to construct bridges for the advance of troops to reinforce Pope, or to enable him to retreat if in trouble? [512]

There should be two gunboats at Acquia creek at once. Shall I push the rest of Sumner's corps here, or is Pope so strong as to be reasonably certain of success? I have sent to inspect the works near here and their garrisons.

As soon as I can find Gen. Casey, or some other commanding officer, I will see to the railway, etc. It would be well to have them report to me, as I do not know where they are. I am trying to find them, and will lose no time in carrying out your orders. Would like to see Burnside.

Aug. 27, 1.15 P. M.
Franklin's artillery have no horses, except for (4) four guns without caissons. I can pick up no cavalry. In view of these facts, will it not be well to push Sumner's corps here by water as rapidly as possible, to make immediate arrangements for placing the works in front of Washington in an efficient condition of defence? I have no means of knowing the enemy's force between Pope and ourselves.

Can Franklin, without his artillery or cavalry, effect any useful purpose in front?

Should not Burnside take steps at once to evacuate Falmouth and Acquia, at the same time covering the retreat of any of Pope's troops who may fall back in that direction?

I do not see that we have force enough in hand to form a connection with Pope, whose exact position we do not know. Are we safe in the direction of the valley?

Aug. 27, 1.35 P. M.
I learn that Taylor's brigade, sent this morning to Bull Run bridge, is either cut to pieces or captured; that the force against them had many guns and about (5,000) five thousand infantry, receiving reinforcements every minute; also, that Gainesville is in possession of the enemy. Please send some cavalry, out towards Dranesville via Chain bridge, to watch Lewinsvllle and Dranesville, and go as far as they can. If you will give me even one squadron of good cavalry here I will ascertain the state of the case. I think our policy now is to make these works perfectly safe, and mobilize a couple of corps as soon as possible, but not to advance them until they can have their artillery and cavalry. I have sent for Col. Tyler to place his artillerymen in the works.

Is Fort Marcy securely held?

Aug. 27, 2.30 P. M.
Sumner has been ordered to send here all of his corps that are within reach. Orders have been sent to Couch to come here from Yorktown with the least possible delay. But one squadron of my cavalry has arrived; that will be disembarked at once and sent to the front.

If there is any cavalry in Washington it should be ordered to report to me at once. [513]

I still think that we should first provide for the immediate defence of Washington on both sides of the Potomac.

I am not responsible for the past, and cannot be for the future unless I receive authority to dispose of the available troops according to my judgment. Please inform me at once what my position is. I do not wish to act in the dark.

Aug. 27, 6 P. M.
I have just received the copy of a despatch from Gen. Pope to you, dated ten A. M. this morning, in which he says : “All forces now sent forward should be sent to my right at Gainesville.”

I now have at my disposal here about (10,000) ten thousand men of Franklin's corps, about (2,800) twenty-eight hundred of Gen. Tyler's brigade, and Col. Tyler's 1st Conn. Artillery, which I recommend should be held in hand for the defence of Washington.

If you wish me to order any part of this force to the front, it is in readiness to march at a moment's notice to any point you may indicate.

In view of the existing state of things in our front, I have deemed it best to order Gen. Casey to hold his men for Yorktown in readiness to move, but not to send them off till further orders.

On the 28th I telegraphed as follows to Gen. Halleck:

Aug. 28, 4.10 P. M
Gen. Franklin is with me here. I will know in a few minutes the condition of artillery and cavalry.

We are not yet in condition to move; may be by to-morrow morning.

Pope must cut through to-day or adopt the plan I suggested. I have ordered troops to garrison the works at Upton's Hill. They must be held at any cost. As soon as I can see the may to spare them I will send a corps of good troops there. It is the key to Washington, which cannot be seriously menaced as long as it is held.

I received the following from the general-in-chief:

Aug. 28, 1862.
I think you had better place Sumner's corps, as it arrives, near the guns, and particularly at the Chain bridge.

The principal thing to be feared now is a cavalry raid into this city, especially in the night-time.

Use Cox's and Tyler's brigades and the new troops for the same object, if you need them.

Porter writes to Burnside from Bristoe, 9.30 A. M. yesterday, [514] that Pope's forces were then moving on Manassas, and that Burnside would soon hear of them by way of Alexandria.

Gen. Cullum has gone to Harper's Ferry, and I have only a single regular officer for duty in the office.

Please send some of your officers to-day to see that every precaution is taken at the forts against a raid, also at the bridge. Please answer.

On the 29th the following despatch was telegraphed to Gen. Halleck:

Aug. 29, 10.30 A. M.
Franklin's corps is in motion; started about (6) six A. M. I can give him but two squadrons of cavalry. I propose moving Gen. Cox to Upton's Hill, to hold that important point with its works, and to push cavalry scouts to Vienna via Freedom Hill and Hunter's Lane. Cox has (2) two squadrons of cavalry. Please answer at once whether this meets your approval. I have directed Woodbury, with the engineer brigade, to hold Fort Lyon. Sumner detached last night two regiments to vicinity of Forts Ethan Allen and Marcy. Meagher's brigade is still at Acquia. If he moves in support of Franklin it leaves us without any reliable troops in and near Washington. Yet Franklin is too weak alone. What shall be done? No more cavalry arrived; have but (3) three squadrons. Franklin has but (40) forty rounds of ammunition, and no wagons to move more. I do not think Franklin is in condition to accomplish much if he meets with serious resistance. I should not have moved him but for your pressing order of last night. What have you from Vienna and Dranesville?

To which the following is a reply from Gen. Halleck:

Aug. 29, 12 M.
Upton's Hill arrangement all right. We must send wagons and ammunition to Franklin as fast as they arrive.

Meagher's brigade ordered up yesterday. Fitz-Hugh Lee was, it is said on good authority, in Alexandria on Sunday last for three hours. I have nothing from Dranesville.

On the same day the following was received from his Excellency the President:

Washington, Aug. 29, 1862, 2.30 P. M.--What news from direction of Manassas Junction? What generally?

[515] To which I replied as follows:

Aug. 29, 1862, 2.45 P. M.--The last news I received from the direction of Manassas was from stragglers, to the effect that the enemy were evacuating Centreville and retiring towards Thoroughfare Gap. This by no means reliable.

I am clear that one of two courses should be adopted: 1st, to concentrate all our available forces to open communications with Pope; 2d, to leave Pope to get out of his scrape, and at once use all our means to make the capital perfectly safe.

No middle ground will now answer. Tell me what you wish me to do, and I will do all in my power to accomplish it. I wish to know what my orders and authority are. I ask for nothing, but will obey whatever orders you give. I only ask a prompt decision, that I may at once give the necessary orders. It will not do to delay longer.

Geo. B. McClellan, Maj.-Gen. A. Lincoln, President. And copy to Gen. Halleck.

To which the following is a reply:

Washington, Aug. 29, 1862, 4.10 P. M.--Yours of to-day just received. I think your first alternative, to wit, “to concentrate all our available forces to open communication with Pope,” is the right one, but I wish not to control. That I now leave to Gen. Halleck, aided by your counsels.

It had been officially reported to me from Washington that the enemy, in strong force, was moving through Vienna in the direction of the Chain bridge, and had a large force in Vienna. This report, in connection with the despatch of the general-in-chief on the 28th, before noted, induced me to direct Franklin to halt his command near Annandale until it could be determined, by Reconnoissances to Vienna and towards Manassas, whether these reports were true. Gen. Cox was ordered to send his small cavalry force from Upton's Hill towards Vienna and Dranesville in one direction, and towards Fairfax Court-House in the other, and Franklin to push his two squadrons as far towards Manassas as possible, in order to ascertain the true position of the enemy.

With the enemy in force at Vienna and towards Lewinsville, it would have been very injudicious to have pushed Franklin's [516] small force beyond Annandale. It must be remembered that at that time we were cut off from direct communication with Gen. Pope; that the enemy was, by the last accounts, at Manassas in strong force, and that Franklin had only from 10,000 to 11,000 men, with an entirely insufficient force of cavalry and artillery.

In order to represent this condition of affairs in its proper light to the general-in-chief, and to obtain definite instructions, from him, I telegraphed to him as follows:

Aug. 29, 12 M.
Have ordered most of the (12th) Twelfth Penn. Cavalry to report to Gen. Barnard for scouting duty towards Rockville, Poolesville, etc.

If you apprehend a raid of cavalry on your side of river, I had better send a brigade or two of Sumner's to near Tennallytown, where, with two or three old regiments in Forts Allen and Marcy, they can watch both Chain bridge and Tennallytown.

Would it meet your views to post the rest of Sumner's corps. between Arlington and Fort Corcoran, whence they can either support Cox, Franklin, or Chain bridge, and even Tennallytown?

Franklin has only between (10,000) ten thousand and (11,000) eleven thousand for duty.

How far do you wish this force to advance?

Also the following:

Aug. 29, 1 P. M.
I anxiously await reply to my last despatch. in regard to Sumner. Wish to give the order at once.

Please authorize me to attach new regiments permanently to my old brigades. I can do much good to old and new troops in that way. I shall endeavor to hold a line in advance of Forts Allen and Marcy, at least with strong advanced guards. I wish to hold the line through Prospect Hill, Mackall's, Minor's, and Hall's Hills. This will give us timely warning. Shall I do as seems best to me with all the troops in this vicinity, including Franklin, who I really think ought not, under present circum — stances, to advance beyond Annandale?

On the same day I received a despatch from the general-in-chief, in which he asks me why I halted Franklin in Annandale, to which I replied as follows:

Aug. 29, 10.30 A. M.
By referring to my telegrams of 10.30. A. M., 12 M., and 1 P. M., together with your reply of 2.48 P. M., you will see why Franklin's corps halted at Annandale. His small cavalry force — all I had to give him — was ordered to push on as far as possible towards Manassas. [517]

It was not safe for Franklin to move beyond Annandale, under the circumstances, until we knew what was at Vienna.

Gen. Franklin remained here until about one P. M., endeavoring to arrange for supplies for his command. I am responsible for both these circumstances, and do not see that either was in disobedience to your orders.

Please give distinct orders in reference to Franklin's movements of to-morrow. I have sent to Col. Haupt to push out construction and supply trains as soon as possible.

Gen. Tyler to furnish the necessary guards.

I have directed Gen. Banks's supply-trains to start out to-night at least as far as Annandale, with an escort from Gen. Tyler.

In regard to to-morrow's movements I desire definite instructions, as it is not agreeable to me to be accused of disobeying orders when I have simply exercised the discretion you committed to me.

On the same evening I sent the following despatches to Gen. Halleck:

Aug. 29, 10 P. M.
Not hearing from you, I have sent orders. to Gen. Franklin to place himself in communication with Gen. Pope as soon as possible, and at the same time cover the transit of Pope's supplies.

Orders have been given for railway and wagon trains to move to Pope with least possible delay.

I am having inspections made of all the forts around the city by members of my staff, with instructions to give all requisite-orders.

I inspected Worth and Ward myself this evening; found them in good order.

Reports, so far as heard from, are favorable as to condition of works.

Aug. 29, 10 P. M.--Your despatch received. Franklin's corps. has been ordered to march at six o'clock to-morrow morning. Sumner has about 14,000 infantry, without cavalry or artillery, here. Cox's brigade of four regiments is here, with two batteries of artillery. Men of two regiments, much fatigued, came in to-day. Tyler's brigade of three new regiments, but little drilled, is also here; all these troops will be ordered to hold themselves ready to march to-morrow morning, and all except Franklin's to await further orders.

If you wish any of them to move towards Manassas, please inform me.

Col. Wagner, 2d N. Y. Artillery, has just come in from the [518] front. He reports strong infantry and cavalry force of rebels near Fairfax Court-House; reports rumors from various sources that Lee and Stuart, with large forces, are at Manassas; that the enemy, with 120,000 men, intend advancing on the forts near Arlington and Chain bridge, with a view of attacking Washington and Baltimore.

Gen. Barnard telegraphs me to-night that the length of the line of fortifications on this side of the Potomac requires 2,000 additional artillerymen, and additional troops to defend intervals, according to circumstances; at all events, he says an old regiment should be added to the force at Chain bridge, and a few regiments distributed along the lines to give confidence to our new troops. I agree with him fully, and think our fortifications along the upper part of our line on this side the river very unsafe with their present garrisons, and the movements of the enemy seem to indicate an attack upon those works.

Aug. 30, 11.30 A. M.--Your telegram of 9 A. M. received. Ever since Gen. Franklin received notice that he was to march from Alexandria he has been endeavoring to get transportation from the quartermaster at Alexandria, but he has uniformly been told that there was none disposable, and his command marched without wagons. After the departure of his corps he procured twenty wagons, to carry some extra ammunition, by unloading Banks's supply-train.

Gen. Sumner endeavored, by application upon the quartermaster's department, to get wagons to carry his reserve ammunition, but without success, and was obliged to march with what he could carry in his cartridge-boxes.

I have this morning directed that all my headquarters wagons that are landed be at once loaded with ammunition for Sumner and Franklin; but they will not go far towards supplying the deficiency.

Eighty-five wagons were got together by the quartermasters last night, loaded with subsistence, and sent forward at one A. M. with an escort via Annandale. Every effort has been made to carry out your orders promptly. The great difficulty seems to consist in the fact that the greater part of the transportation on hand at Alexandria and Washington has been needed for current supplies of the garrisons. Such is the state of the case as represented to me by the quartermasters, and it appears to be true.

I take it for granted that this has not been properly explained to you.

On the morning of the 30th heavy artillery-firing was heard in the direction of Fairfax Court-House, which I reported to the general-in-chief: [519]

Aug. 30, 9.15 A. M.
Heavy artillery firing is now in progress in direction of Fairfax Court-House; there has been a good deal of it for two or three hours. I hear it so distinctly that I should judge it to be this side of Fairfax. Have not yet been able to ascertain the cause. It seems that the garrisons in the works on north side of Potomac are altogether too small.

At eight A. M. the following was sent to Gen. J. G. Barnard in Washington:

Aug. 30, 8 A. M.
I yesterday sent nearly a regiment of cavalry to report to you for scouting on north bank of Potomac. Three brigades of Sumner's are on both sides of Chain bridge, and thence to Tennallytown. The rest of this corps near Arlington and Corcoran. I have nothing in hand here at all — not a man. You had better ask for some more raw troops on north side.

At 8.20 A. M. the following was sent to Gen. Burnside at Falmouth:

Aug. 30, 8.20 A. M.
Telegram of midnight received. Use your discretion about the cavalry. I have only three squadrons, two of which with Franklin. I expect some, to-day. Do not strip yourself of anything. Your information about Pope substantially confirmed from this side. His troops are at Centreville. Supplies have gone to him by rail and by wagon. Secesh has missed his first coup. We will soon see what his second is to be.

At eleven A. M. the following telegram was sent to Gen. Halleck:

Aug. 30, 11 A. M.
Have ordered Sumner to leave (1) one brigade in vicinity of Chain bridge, and to move the rest via Columbia pike on Annandale and Fairfax Court-House.

Is this the route you wish them to take? He and Franklin are both instructed to join Pope as promptly as possible.

Shall Couch move out also when he arrives?

On the same day I received the following from Gen. Halleck:

Aug. 30, 1.45 P. M.
Ammunition, and particularly for artillery, must be immediately sent forward to Centreville for Gen. Pope. It must be done with all possible despatch.

[520] To which this reply was made:

Aug. 30, 2.10 P. M.
I know nothing of the calibres of Pope's artillery. All I can do is to direct my ordnance officer to load up all the wagons sent to him. I have already sent all my headquarters wagons. You will have to see that wagons are sent from Washington. I can do nothing more than give the order that every available wagon in Alexandria shall be loaded at once.

The order to the brigade of Sumner that I directed to remain near Chain bridge and Tennallytown should go from your headquarters to save time. I understand you to intend it also to move. I have no sharpshooters except the guard around my camp. I have sent off every man but those, and will now send them with the train, as you direct. I will also send my only remaining squadron of cavalry with Gen. Sumner. I can do no more. You now have every man of the Army of the Potomac who is within my reach.

The War Department now issued the following order:

War Department, Aug. 30, 1862.
The following are the commanders of the armies operating in Virginia:

Gen. Burnside commands his own corps, except those that have been temporarily detached and assigned to Gen. Pope.

Gen. McClellan commands that portion of the Army of the Potomac that has not been sent forward to Gen. Pope's command.

Gen. Pope commands the Army of Virginia and all the forces temporarily attached to it.

All the forces are under the command of Maj.-Gen. Halleck, general-in-chief.

E. D. Townsend, Assist. Adj.-Gen.

I was informed by Col. Townsend that the above order was published by order of the Secretary of War. The following despatch was sent to Gen. Barnard at Washington the same day:

Aug. 30, 3.20 P. M.
Your telegram to Gen. Williams received. Of course everything is under your charge as usual. Upon arriving here and finding the state of things uncertain in my front, I took all the means in my power to place affairs in a safe condition. At the request of Gen. Halleck I sent some of my staff officers to inspect the works. I have placed Tyler's regiment in garrison near here, and ordered the (14th) Fourteenth Mass. to [521] duty again as heavy artillery. I have merely used my authority as the senior general officer for duty to assist you, having failed to find you. The whole of Sumner's corps has been ordered to the front by Gen. Halleck. Couch's division will take the same direction as soon as it arrives. I am now sending off my camp-guard and escort — the last I can do. Tyler will, of course, be under your orders so long as he remains in the works.

I have no more troops to give you, and, as I have no command nor any position, I shall not regard it as my duty to take any further steps in regard to the works, except that I shall always be glad to confer with you in regard to any point about which you may be in doubt. I shall try to see Gen. Cox at Upton's Hill to-day or to-morrow. I think he ranks you, but his command was, the only one available for the purpose.

The following were sent to Gen. Halleck the same afternoon:

Aug. 30, 5.15 P. M.
Despatch just received from Gen. Cox, at Upton's Hill, reports that his cavalry have been to Fairfax Court-House, Vienna, Freedom Hill, and Lewinsville, and found all quiet and no enemy heard of in immediate neighborhood. Has a party out to go to Dranesville, if practicable. States that at four P. M. Lieut.-Col. Fowler, of 14th Brooklyn, passed him in an ambulance? wounded, who states that the fighting was north of Little River pike, between it and Thoroughfare Gap. Longstreet had passed through the Gap, which was subsequently partially obstructed by our troops, so that it would hardly be practicable as a retreat for artillery. Reports general result of fighting in our favor, but cannot give particulars.

Gen. Cox states that firing at four P. M. was more rapid and continuous than before. I still hear it.

Aug. 30, 7.45 P. M.
I am glad to report the arrival of Col. Gregg with about (450) four hundred and fifty of his regiment, the (8th) Eighth Penn. Cavalry. Col. Gregg will disembark during the night and lose no time in getting his men ready to march. More of Gen. Couch's division have arrived. I have ordered them to disembark during the night. Have you any special orders for Gregg? Couch's infantry are almost [too] good to use as railway guards. It is an excellent division of veterans. Will you permit new troops to be used for the purpose?

At 10.30 P. M. the following telegram was sent to Gen. Halleck:

Aug. 30, 10.30 P. M.
I have sent to the front all my troops, [522]




[524] with the exception of Couch's division, and have given the orders necessary to insure its being disposed of as you directed. I hourly expect the return of one of my aides, who will give authentic news from the field of battle.

I cannot express to you the pain and mortification I have experienced to-day in listening to the distant sound of the firing of my men. As I can be of no further use here, I respectfully ask that, if there is a probability of the conflict being renewed to-morrow, I may be permitted to go to the scene of battle with my staff, merely to be with my own men, if nothing more; they will fight none the worse for my being with them. If it is not deemed best to entrust me with the command even of my own army, I simply ask to be permitted to share their fate on the field of battle.

Please reply to this to-night.

I have been engaged for the last few hours in doing what I can to make arrangements for the wounded. I have started out all the ambulances now landed.

As I have sent my escort to the front, I would be glad to take some of Gregg's cavalry with me, if allowed to go.

To which, on the following day, I received this answer:

Aug. 31, 9.18 A. M.
I have just seen your telegram of 11.5 last night. The substance was stated to me when received, but I did not know that you asked for a reply immediately. I cannot answer without seeing the President, as Gen. Pope is in command, by his orders, of the department.

I think Couch's division should go forward as rapidly as possible and find the battle-field.

On the same day the following was received from Gen. Halleck:

Aug. 31, 12.45 P. M.
The subsistence department are making Fairfax Station their principal depot. It should be well guarded. The officer in charge should be directed to secure the depot by abatis against cavalry. As many as possible of the new regiments should be prepared to take the field. Perhaps some more should be sent to the vicinity of Chain bridge.

At 2.30 P. M. the following despatch was telegraphed to Gen. Halleck:

Aug. 31, 2.30 P. M.
Maj. Haller is at Fairfax Station with my provost and headquarters guard and other troops. I have [525] requested (4) four more companies to be sent at once, and the precautions you direct to be taken.

Under the War Department order of yesterday I have no control over anything except my staff, some one hundred men in my camp here, and the few remaining near Fort Monroe. I have no control over the new regiments — do not know where they are, or anything about them, except those near here. Their commanding officers and those of the works are not under me.

Where I have seen evils existing under my eye I have corrected them. I think it is the business of Gen. Casey to prepare the new regiments for the field, and a matter between him and Gen. Barnard to order others to the vicinity of Chain bridge. Neither of them is under my command, and by the War Department order I have no right to give them orders.

To which the following was the answer from Gen. Halleck:

Aug. 31, 10.7 P. M.
Since receiving your despatch relating to command, I have not been able to answer any not of absolute necessity. I have not seen the order as published, but will write to you in the morning. You will retain the command of everything in this vicinity not temporarily belonging to Pope's army in the field.

I beg of you to assist me in this crisis with your ability and experience. I am entirely tired out.

The following reply was sent to Gen. Halleck that night:

Aug. 31, 10.25 P. M.
I am ready to afford you any assistance in my power, but you will readily perceive how difficult an undefined position such as I now hold must be.

At what hour in the morning can I see you alone, either at your own house or the office?

At 7.30 P. M. the following was sent to Gen. Halleck:

Aug. 31, 7.30 P. M.
Having been informed that there were some twenty thousand stragglers from Pope's army between this and Centreville, all of Gregg's cavalry have been sent to endeavor to drive them back to their regiments. Two hundred of 8th Ill. Cavalry will be ready in the morning, and two hundred and fifty more as soon as disembarked. The armament of Forts Buffalo and Ramsay is very incomplete.

At 11.30 P. M. I telegraphed the following to Gen. Halleck:

Aug. 31, 11.30 P. M.
The squadron of 2d Regular Cavalry [526] that I sent with Gen. Sumner was captured to-day about two P. M. some three miles from Fairfax Court-House, beyond it on the Little River pike, by Fitz-Hugh Lee with 3,000 cavalry and three light batteries.

I have conversed with the first sergeant, who says that when he last saw them they were within a mile of Fairfax. Pope had no troops on that road, this squadron getting there by mistake. There is nothing of ours on the right of Centreville but Sumner's corps. There was much artillery-firing during the day. A rebel major told the sergeant that the rebels had driven in our entire left to-day. He says the road is filled with wagons and stragglers coming towards Alexandria.

It is clear from the sergeant's account that we were badly beaten yesterday, and that Pope's right is entirely exposed.

I recommend that no more of Couch's division be sent to the front, that Burnside be brought here as soon as practicable, and that everything available this side of Fairfax be drawn in at once, including the mass of the troops on the railroad. I apprehend that the enemy will or have by this time occupied Fairfax Court-House and cut off Pope entirely, unless he falls back to-night via Sangster's and Fairfax Station.

I think these orders should be sent at once. I have no confidence in the dispositions made as I gather them. To speak frankly-and the occasion requires it — there appears to be a total absence of brains, and I fear the total destruction of the army. I have some cavalry here that can carry out any orders you may have to send. The occasion is grave, and demands grave measures. The question is the salvation of the country. I learn that our loss yesterday amounted to 15,000. We cannot afford such losses without an object,

It is my deliberate opinion that the interests of the nation demand that Pope should fall back to-night, if possible, and not one moment is to be lost.

I will use all the cavalry I have to watch our right. Please answer at once. I feel confident that you can rely upon the information I give you.

I shall be up all night, and ready to obey any orders you give me.

To which this reply was received from Gen. Halleck:

Sept. 1, 1.30 A. M.
Burnside was ordered up very early yesterday morning. Retain remainder of Couch's forces, and make arrangements to stop all retreating troops in line of works, or where you can best establish an entire line of defence. My news from Pope was up to four P. M.; he was then all right. I must wait for more definite information before I can order a retreat, as the falling back on the line of works must necessarily [527] be directed in case of a serious disaster. Give me all additional news that is reliable.

I shall be up all night, and ready to act as circumstances may require. I am fully aware of the gravity of the crisis, and have been for weeks.

It will be seen from what has preceded that I lost no time in moving the Army of the Potomac from the Peninsula to the support of the Army of Virginia; that I spared no effort to hasten the embarkation of the troops at Fort Monroe, Newport News, and Yorktown, remaining at Fort Monroe myself until the mass of the army had sailed ; and that after my arrival at Alexandria I left nothing in my power undone to forward supplies and reinforcements to Gen. Pope. I sent with the troops that moved all the cavalry I could get hold of-even my personal escort was sent out upon the line of the railway as a guard, with the provost and camp-guard at headquarters-retaining less than 100 men, many of whom were orderlies, invalids, members of bands, etc. All the headquarters teams that arrived were sent out with supplies and ammunition, none being retained even to move the headquarters camp. The squadron that habitually served as my personal escort was left at Falmouth with Gen. Burnside, as he was deficient in cavalry.

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