Friday, August 31, 2012
After defeating Pope in the Battle of 2nd Manassas, Lee mounted a pursuit, hoping to destroy Pope's entire army and achieve a victory like Kirby Smith's in Kentucky. Pope and his subordinates believed that it was time to retreat to the Washington defenses, but Henry Halleck in Washington sent him a message ordering him to advance on Lee. Lincoln and Halleck didn't want Pope to fall back because he had simply lost his nerve. Pope, however, was still in great danger from Lee. Jackson had been sent out again on another great flanking march, moving around Pope's position at Centerville, VA, while Longstreet remained in position at Manassas. As Pope's men slept on August 31st, Jackson's men were nearby, just three miles to the northeast, on the verge of getting around Pope's flank.