Report of Col. J. H. Williams, Third South Carolina Infantry
O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp 257-258
VIENNA, VA., Camp Gregg, August 3, 1861
I have the honor to report that on the morning of the 21st I was reminded of the presence of the enemy by his iron messengers, which fell in rapid succession just in the rear of my lines. After the action of the 18th I had caused strong earthworks to be thrown up and the undergrowth in front to be cut away, which preparations, together with the fine natural advantages of the ground I occupied, made my position formidable to an attack.
Learning that the enemy were deploying in front, I kept my men constantly under arms in the trenches, fully assured that the center would be the point of attack. Heavy artillery soon afterwards heard to my left indicated that another direction had been chosen, but their fire, still kept up at intervals on my lines, encouraged the first supposition. This irregular fire continued throughout the day, each repetition renewing the assurance that an attack would follow. But in this we were doomed to suspense. Their fiery missiles wasted their fury in the air above or buried themselves in the forest in front of us, a few of them falling against the embankments.
At 5 o’clock p.m. I was ordered to move forward and attack the enemy in front. The order was promptly obeyed, and my regiment put immediately in motion. I crossed the stream at Mitchell’s Ford and moved up the ravine to the left of the road. On approaching the woods from which the enemy had been saluting us I deployed Captain Nance’s company as skirmishers, Who moved in double-quick in advance of the regiment. I moved my command in quick time up to the enemy’s camp, of which they had taken a hasty leave, and deployed to the left of the road, the skirmishers still covering my front, in discharge of which duty four prisoners were taken; two others were taken by Captain Kennedy, all of whom were sent under guard to Manassas. Early in the night I returned under orders to my position at the run.
On the morning of the 22d I was ordered to proceed in the direction of Centreville, scour the woods, collect abandoned munitions and stores, and send them back to Manassas. A considerable quantity of quartermaster’s and commissary stores were obtained, and one wagon of officers’ private baggage, all of which were sent to headquarters. Late in the evening of the 22d I returned under orders to my original position.
In all the maneuvers of my regiment it affords me pleasure to acknowledge the active co-operation of Lieut. Col. B. B. Foster, Maj. L. M. Baxter, Adjt. W. D. Rutherford, and the officers and men under my command.
Your obedient servant,
J. H. WILLIAMS,
Colonel Third Regiment S.C. Volunteers
Brig. Gen. M. L. BONHAM,
Commanding First Brigade, Army of the Potomac