Tuesday, August 28, 2012

August 29, 1862 (Saturday): Talk of Bagging Jackson was "Bosh".

General Fitz-John Porter

WASHINGTON, D. C., August 29, 1862 - 12.50 a. m.
General McCLELLAN, Alexandria:
    It is reported to headquarters that Lee is advancing on Washington to-night, probably by the Chain Bridge. I doubt whether these works can be held with the raw troops. Can you not send a regiment there?
There is no artillery in Battery Martin Scott, nor any artillery at hand to sweep the bridge. I shall increase the force as much as the new troops at hand will permit. I would like your advice as to whether to hold the works or destroy the bridge. Can you not send a field battery?

    J. G. BARNARD.

Centreville, August 29, 1862.
    Push forward with your corps and King's division, which you will take with you, upon Gainesville. I am following the enemy down the Warrenton turnpike. Be expeditious or we will lose much.

   Major-General, Commanding.

Washington, August 29, 1862.
Major-General BURNSIDE, Falmouth, Va.:
    I have heard nothing from Pope for four days, except through you. He seems to have permitted a part of the enemy's force to march around him. Unless he opens his communications to-day I fear he will be forced south of the Occoquan. I am only waiting to hear from him in order to move you.


FALMOUTH, VA., August 29, 1862 - 8.40 a. m.
Major-General HALLECK, General-in-Chief:
The following dispatch has just been received:

ADVANCE, 29th.
    There has been very heavy cannonading in the direction of Warrenton Junction all morning. It seemed to be getting more distinct, but had now ceased.

   FALMOUTH, VA., August 29, 1862 - 8.50 a. m.

Major General H. W. HALLECK, General-in-Chief:
    Our advance telegraph operator reports that firing has again commenced in the direction of Manassas. Are you in communication with General Pope? In case telegraph communication is cut off between this place and Washington, shall I use my discretion or await orders from you by the river?


FALMOUTH, VA., August 29, 1862 - 8.50 a. m.
Major General H. W. HALLECK, General-in-Chief:
    The following statement is from a Union man just in from Richmond. He seems to be reliable.
B. B. Pritchard left Richmond on the evening of the 27th. Few troops there, and they are at Dreqry's Bluff. No troops at Hanover Court-House. A brigade stationed near Mount Carmel Church. Troops and provisions still going to Gordonsville. Provisions very scarce. Three gunboats, small river boats, with guns mounted, at Richmond. At work on ram; supposed to progress slowly. At work on machinery at Talbot's Government Foundery. Tredegar and Rahne's works making munitions of war. General Lee at Drewry's Bluff; Lovell, Magruder, and Huger relieved from command; Johnston still off duty, and Beauregard supposed to be crazy.


FALMOUTH, VA., August 29, 1862 - 1 p. m.
H. W. HALLECK, Major-General:
The following message just received:
ADVANCE, 29th - 12.45 p. m.
    Messenger that left Pope's army this morning about 6 o'clock reports our forces within 2 miles of Manassas Junction. He says when about 1 1/2 miles from our forces heavy cannonading - commenced by the rebels he thinks. He left railroad at Catlett's Station, coming direct here by short road. He was informed by a contraband that there were some 1,000 or 1,500 rebel cavalry between Warrenton and the Junction.

    Telegraph Operator.

FALMOUTH, VA., August 29, 1862 - 1 p. m.
Major General H. W. HALLECK, General-in-Chief, and
Major General GEORGE B. McCLELLAN, Alexandria:
The following just received from Porter, 4 miles form Manassas, the 28th, 2 p.m.:
    All that talk of bagging Jackson, &c., was bosh. That enormous Gap (Manassas) was left open and the enemy jumped through, and the store of McDowell having cut off Longstreet had no good foundation. The enemy have destroyed all our bridges, burned trains, &c., and made this army rush back to look after its line of communication and find our base of subsistence. We are far from Alexandria, considering this moving of transportation. Your supply train of 40 wagons is here, but I can't find them. There is a report that Jackson is at Centreville, which you can believe or not. The enemy destroyed an immense amount of property at Manassas - cars and supplies. I expect the next thing will be a raid no our rear by way of Warrenton by Longstreet, who was cut off.

    F. J. PORTER,

August 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 toward Thoroughfare Gap. This by no means reliable.
I am clear that one of two courses should be adopted: First, to concentrate all our available forces to open communications with Pope; Second, 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.


And copy to General Halleck.
WASHINGTON, August 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 General Halleck, aided by your counsels.


August 29, 1862-4.30 p.m.
Major-General PORTER:
    Your line of march brings you in on the enemy's right flank. I desire you to push forward into action at once on the enemy's flank, and, if possible, on his rear, keeping your right tin communication with General Reynolds. The enemy is massed in the woods in front of us, but can be shelled out as soon as you engage their flank. Keep heavy reserves, and use your batteries, keeping well closed to your right all the time. In case you are obliged to fall back, do so to your right and rear, so as to keep you in close communication with the right wing.

    Major-General, Commanding

August 29, 1862 - 10 p. m. (Received 10.50 p. m.)
Major General H. W. HALLECK, General-in-Chief:
The following has just been received by an orderly:
ANNANDALE, August 29, 1862 - 7.15 p.m .
    GENERAL: The news here, picket up form all sources passing along the road, is as follows: Jackson left Centreville yesterday afternoon to march through ThrougfareGap. He was confronted by Sigel, whom he attacked immediately. Sigel was re-enforced by Heintzelman and Porter to-day. McDowell by noon was 4 miles from the field, and was merely waiting for his ammunition to come up to join him. The field of battle is near Gainesville. Sigel fought al day yesterday, slept on the enemy's ground, and this morning at 5 o'clock was attacked, and the cannonading was very heavy when a certain sutler, one of the parties who gives the information, left there. From all the evidence the inference is that we have met with no disaster and that Stonewall is in a tight place, unless he leaves to-night by Aldie. Jackson had with him yesterday three divisions - his own, Ewell's, and Hill's - amounting to 40,000 men. Birney held Centreville this morning and pursued Jackson, picking up many stragglers. The enemy left Centreville last evening. Many of the rebel dead are lying near Centreville. Birney ceased the pursuit on learning the force of the enemy. All of the best witnesses and all of the citizens who have passed consider Jackson in a dangerous position. Pope's train is parked this side of Centreville.

    Truly, yours,
     Major-General, Commanding Sixth Corps.

     P. S. - Pope is said to be very short of provisions, and the country will not support him.

FALMOUTH, VA., August 29, 1862 - 8 p. m.
General H. W. HALLECK:
No attack has been made in front and none is anticipated in that direction. We have nothing to fear, unless from the right, should General Pope be overpowered, which I hope is not the case. The troops are well posted and all the have stores and baggage sent away, and in any event the place will be held as long as possible.
    Since writing the above your dispatch, inclosing the one from General Pope, is received. Am glad to hear affairs are progressing so well.


In the Field, near Bull Run, August 29, 1862-8.50 p.m.
Major General F. J. PORTER:
    GENERAL: Immediately upon receipt of this order, the precise hour of receiving which you will acknowledge, you will march your command to the field of battle of to-day, and report to me in person for orders. You are to understand that you are expected to comply strictly with this order, and to be present on the field within three hours after its reception, or after daybreak to-morrow morning.

    Major-General, Commanding
WASHINGTON, D. C., August 29, 1862.
Major-General POPE:
    Trains will be started immediately to reconstruct bridges and carry out supplies. Yours of yesterday, 10 p. m., is the first I have received from your for four days. Live on the country as much as possible till we can supply you. Push the enemy as much as possible, but be sure to keep up your connection with Alexandria.

    H. W. HALLECK,

ALEXANDRIA, August 29, 1862 - 9.40 p. m.
(Received 11 p. m.)
President LINCOLN and General HALLECK:
    General Pope was at Centreville this morning at 6 o'clock. Seemed to be in good spirits. Hooker is driving the enemy before him; McDowell and sigel cutting off his retreat. Army out of forage and subsistence. Force of enemy 60,000. This is the substance of information communicated by two ambulance drives, who came in from Centreville, and who also gave many particulars confirming previous statements. I have ordered a train of forage and another of subsistence to be got ready to start before daylight, and will notify General Pope to-night by courier that he can have wagons to receive it at Sangster's Station by daylight to-morrow morning.


Official Records, Series I., Vol. 12, Part 2, Various Pages.

Pope began the day with a 3-1 advantage and a chance to defeat Jackson before Longstreet could come onto the field.  But he made piecemeal attacks which failed to drive Jackson away from his position behind an unfinished railroad.  Longstreet arrived in the afternoon, but delayed making an immediate attack.  It is significant that Halleck is sending messages to Pope saying he had not been contacted by him in four days.  Meanwhile McClellan, in command but ordered by Halleck to send orders to Pope through him, is proposing options to Lincoln and Halleck.  The President expresses an opinion on McClellan's proposals, but says he has no wish to control his decisions.  Meanwhile, Burnside provides the following status report on the whereabouts of various Confederate generals, "General Lee at Drewry's Bluff; Lovell, Magruder, and Huger relieved from command; Johnston still off duty, and Beauregard supposed to be crazy."  And Porter predicts Longstreet's imminent attack while offering a critique of Pope's boast of bagging Jackson.

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