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“I have conversed with the 1st 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 wagong 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 fifteen thousand. 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.

“G. B. MOČLELLAN,

Major General. “General HALLECK, Washington." To which this reply was received:

" WASHINGTON, September 1, 1862–1.30 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 4 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 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.

“H. W. HALLECK,

General-in-Chief. “ Major General MCCLELLAN."

FOURTH PERIOD.

On the 1st of September I went into Washington, where I had an interview with the general-in-chief, who instructed me, verbally, to take command of its defences, expressly limiting my jurisdiction to the works and their garrisons, and prohibiting me from exercising any control over the troops actively engaged in front under General Pope. During this interview I suggested to the generalin-chief the necessity of his going in person, or sending one of his personal staff, to the army under General Pope, for the purpose of ascertaining the exact condition of affairs; he sent Colonel Kelton, his assistant adjutant general.

During the afternoon of the same day I received a message from the generalin-chief, to the effect that he desired me to go at once to his house to see the President.

The President informed me that he had reason to believe that the army of the Potomac was not cheerfully co-operating with and supporting General Pope; that he had “always been a friend of mine;" and now asked me, as a special favor, to use my influence in correcting this state of things. I replied, substantially, that I was confident that he was misinformed; that I was sure, whatever estimate the army of the Potomac might entertain of General Pope, that they would obey his orders, support him to the fullest extent, and do their whole duty. The President, who was much moved, asked me to telegraph to “Fitz-John Porter, or some other of my friends,” and try to do away with any feeling that might exist; adding, that I could rectify the evil, and that no one else could.

I thereupon told him that I would cheerfully telegraph to General Porter, or do anything else in my power to gratify his wishes and relieve his anxiety; upon which he thanked me very warmly, assured me that he could never forget my action in the matter, &c., and left.

I then wrote the following telegram to General Porter, which was sent to him by the general-in-chief:

“WASHINGTON, September 1, 1862. “I ask of you, for my sake, that of the country, and the old army of the Potomac, that you and all my friends will lend the fullest and most cordial co-operation to General Pope, in all the operations now going on. The destinies of our country, the honor of our arms, are at stake, and all depends now upon the cheerful co-operation of all in the field. This week is the crisis of our fate. Say the same thing to my friends in the army of the Potomac, and that the last request I have to make of them is, that, for their country's sake, they will extend to General Pope the same support they ever have to me.

“I am in charge of the defences of Washington, and am doing all I can to render your retreat safe, should that become necessary.

“GEO. B. MCCLELLAN. “Major General Porter.”

To which he sent the following reply:

“Fairfax COURT HOUSE, 10 a. m.,

September 2, 1862. “You may rest assured that all your friends, as well as every lover of his country, will ever give, as they have given, to General Pope their cordial cooperation and constant support in the execution of all orders and plans. Our killed, wounded, and enfeebled troops attest our devoted duty.

F. J. PORTER. General George B. MCCLELLAN,

Major General Commanding, Washington.

Neither at the time I wrote the telegram, nor at any other time, did I think for one moment that General Porter had been, or would be, in any manner de relict in the performance of his duty to the nation and its cause. Such an impression never entered my mind. The despatch in question was written purely at the request of the President.

On the morning of the 2d the President and General Halleck came to

my house, when the President informed me that Colonel Kelton had returned from the front; that our affairs were in a bad condition; that the army was in full retreat upon the defences of Washington; the roads filled with stragglers, &c. He instructed me to take steps at once to stop and collect the stragglers; to place the works in a proper state of defence, and to go out to meet and take command of the army, when it approached the vicinity of the works, then to place the troops in the best position—committing everything to my hands.

I immediately took steps to carry out these orders, and sent an aid to General Pope with the following letter:

“HEADQUARTERS, WASHINGTON,

September 2, 1862. “GENERAL: General Halleck instructed me to report to you the order he sent this morning to withdraw your army to Washington, without unnecessary delay. He feared that his messenger might miss you, and desired to take this double precaution.

“In order to bring troops upon ground with which they are already familiar, it would be best to move Porter's corps upon Upton's hill, that it may occupy Hall's hill, &c.; McDowell's to Upton's hill; Franklin's to the works in front of Alexandria; Heintzelman's to the same vicinity ; Couch to Fort Corcoran, or, if practicable, to the Chain bridge; Sumner either to Fort Albany or to Alexandria, as may be most convenient. “ In haste, general, very truly yours,

“GEO. B. MCCLELLAN,

Major General United States Army. “Major General John Pope,

" Commanding Army of Virginia.

In the afternoon I crossed the Potomac and rode to the front, and at Upton's hill met the advance of McDowell's corps, and with it Generals Pope and McDowell. After getting what information I could from them, I sent the few aids at my disposal to the left to give instructions to the troops approaching in the direction of Alexandria ; and hearing artillery firing in the direction of the Vienna and Langley road, by which the corps of Sumner, Porter, and Sigel were returning, and learning from General Pope that Sumner was probably engaged, I went, with a single aid and three orderlies, by the shortest line to meet that column. I reached the column after dark, and proceeded as far as Lewinsville, where I became satisfied that the rear corps (Sumner's) would be able to reach its intended position without any serious molestation.

I therefore indicated to Generals Porter and Sigel the positions they were to occupy, sent instructions to General Sumner, and at a late hour of the night returned to Washington.

Next day I rode to the front of Alexandria, and was engaged in rectifying the positions of the troops, and giving orders necessary to secure the issuing of the necessary supplies, &c.

I felt sure on this day that we could repulse any attack made by the enemy on the south side of the Potomac.

On the 3d the enemy had disappeared from the front of Washington, and the information which I received induced me to believe that he intended to cross the upper Potomac into Maryland. This materially changed the aspect of affairs, and enlarged the sphere of operations; for, in case of a crossing in force, an active campaign would be necessary to cover Baltimore, prevent the invasion of Pennsylvania, and clear Maryland.

I therefore, on the third, ordered the 2d and 12th corps to Tenallytown, and the 9th corps to a point on the Seventh street road near Washington, and sent such cavalry as was available to the fords near Poolsville, to watch and impede the enemy in any attempt to cross in that vicinity.

On September 5, the 2d and 12th corps were moved to Rockville, and Couch's division (the only one of the 4th corps that had been brought from the Peninsula) to Offut’s cross-roads.

On the bih the 1st and 9th corps were ordered to Leesburg; the 6th corps, and Sykes's division of the 5th corps, to Tenally town.

On the 7th the 6th corps was advanced to Rockville, to which place my headquarters were moved on the same day.

All the necessary arrangements for the defence of the city, under the new condition of things, had been made, and General Banks was left in command, having received his instructions from me.

It will be seen from what has preceded that I lost no time that could be avoided 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 embarcation 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 re-enforcements to General 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 guards at headquarters, retaining less than one hundred men, many of whom were orderlies, invalids, members of bands, &c. 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 General Burnside, as he was deficient in cavalry.

I left Washington on the 7th of September. At this time it was known that the mass of the rebel army had passed up the south side of the Potomac in the direction of Leesburg, and that a portion of that army had crossed into Maryland; but whether it was their intention to cross their whole force with a view to turn Washington by a flank movement down the north bank of the Potomac, to move on Baltimore, or to invade Pennsylvania, were questions which, at that time, we had no means of determining. This uncertainty as to the intentions of the enemy obliged me, up to the 13th of September, to march cautiously and to advance the army in such order as continually to keep Wasbington and Baltimore covered, and at the same time to hold the troops well in hand so as to be able to concentrate and follow rapidly if the enemy took the direction of Pennsylvania ; or to return to the defence of Washington, if, as was greatly feared by the authorities, the enemy should be merely making a feint with a small force to draw off our army, while with their main forces they stood ready to seize the first favorable opportunity to attack the capital.

In the mean time the process of re-organization, rendered necessary after the demoralizing effects of the disastrous campaign upon the other side of the Potomac, was rapidly progressing; the troops were regaining confidence, and their former soldierly appearance and discipline were fast returning. My cavalry was pushed out continually in all directions, and all possible steps were taken to learn the positions and movements of the enemy.

The following table shows the movements of the army, from day to day, up to the 14th of September:

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6th corps, Franklin .... Alex. Seminary ... Tenally town ...... Darnostown ....... Coach's division......../ Tenally town .... Offut's Cross Roads Mouth of Seneca...

Barnsville.....
Poolsville .....

[blocks in formation]

The right wing, consisting of the 1st and 9th corps, under the command of Major General Burnside, moved on Frederick; the 1st corps via Brooksville, Cooksville and Ridgeville, and the 9th corps via Damascus and New Market.

The 2d and 12th corps, forming the centre, under the command of General Sumner, moved on Frederick; the former via Clarksburg and Urbana, the 12th corps on a lateral road between Urbana and New Market, thus maintaining the communication with the right wing, and covering the direct road from Frede rick to Washington. The 6th corps, under the command of General Franklin, moved to Buckeystown ria Darnestown, Dawsonville and Barnesville, covering the road from the mouth of the Monocacy to Rockville, and being in a position to connect with and support the centre, should it have been necessary (as was supposed) to force the line of the Monocacy.

Couch's division moved by the “river road,” covering that approach, watching the fords of the Potomac, and ultimately following and supporting the 6th corps.

The following extracts from telegrams, received by me after my departure from Washington, will show how little was known there about the enemy's movements, and the fears which were entertained for the safety of the capital. On the 9th of September, General Halleck telegraphed me as follows:

“Until we can get better advices about the numbers of the enemy at Drainsville, I think we must be very cautious about stripping, too much, the forts on the Virginia side. It may be the enemy's object to draw off the mass of our forces and then attempt to attack from the Virginia side of the Potomac. Think of this.”

Again, on the 11th of September, General Halleck telegraphed me as follows:

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