A “New” Lincoln Blog

20 03 2008

lincoln.jpgSince Brian Dirck has discontinued his popular A. Lincoln Blog, I’ve added Geoff Elliott’s The Abraham Lincoln Blog to the blogroll at right.  I do a fair amount of Lincoln reading, and will be doing a lot more in the future, so I think it altogether fitting and proper to have our 16th president represented on the roll.





#26 – Capt. James Kelly

19 03 2008

 

Report of Capt. James Kelly, Sixty-ninth New York Militia

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp 371-372

HDQRS. SIXTY-NINTH REGIMENT, N. Y. S. M.,

Fort Corcoran, Arlington Heights, Va., July 24, 1861

SIR: I have the honor, in the absence of Colonel Corcoran, missing, and Acting Lieutenant-Colonel Haggerty, killed in action, to report to you that on Sunday morning, July 21, at 3.30 o’clock a.m., under orders of Major General McDowell, and the immediate command of Brigadier-General Tyler, the Sixty-ninth Regiment New York State Militia moved forward from their camp at Centreville, and proceeded by steady march to within a mile and a half of the enemy’s battery, situated on the south bank of the creek or ravine known as Bull Run. At this point we halted, Colonel Corcoran commanding, Lieutenant-Colonel Haggerty being second in command, Capt. Thomas Francis Meagher acting as major, and Capt. John Nugent as adjutant. The regiment numbered one thousand muskets, and was attended by one ambulance only, the other having broken down. The Sixty-ninth had good reason to complain that whilst regiments of other divisions were permitted to have baggage and provision wagons immediately in the rear, the regiment I have the honor to command was peremptorily denied any facilities of the sort. The consequence was that the Sixty-ninth arrived in the field of action greatly fatigued and harassed, and but for their high sense of duty and military spirit would not have been adequate to the terrible duties of the day.

Under your orders, the Sixty-ninth deployed into line of battle on the left, and, occupying the woods in that direction, there awaited the attack of the skirmishers of the enemy, who were reported in advance upon our right. No change was effected in our position on the left of the road leading to the battery of the enemy, which position, in conformity with your orders, we determined to maintain at every cost, and whatever the consequences might be, until orders were given for our regiment to advance by close column by division, and take the enemy in rear and flank. This they did with the utmost alacrity and precision, advancing through every obstacle until the regiment reached Bull Run. Here they crossed the stream and ravine in single file, and, ascending to the meadow where the enemy lay close and thick, poured in by successive companies an effective fire upon the rebels. The regiment, having formed in the meadow, marched in two-rank formation until the command “Front” was given, when they halted in line of battle, and steadily awaited the order to charge upon the batteries in front.

In the mean while Acting Lieutenants-Colonel Haggerty was killed by a Louisiana zouave, whom he pursued as the latter was on his retreat with his regiment into the woods, and several of our men were severely wounded.

After sustaining and repelling a continuous fire of musketry and artillery, directed on us from the masked positions of the enemy, our regiment formed into line directly in front of the enemy’s battery, charged upon it twice, were finally driven off, owing principally to the panic of the regiment which preceded us, and then, under a desperate fire, retired to the line from which we had advanced on the battery, and then endeavored to reform. The panic was too general, and the Sixty-ninth had to retreat with the great mass of the Federals.

In this action I have to record, with deep regret, the loss of Colonel Corcoran (supposed to be wounded and a prisoner), Acting Lieutenant-Colonel Haggerty, and others, of whom a corrected list will be speedily forwarded.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,

JAMES KELLY,

Captain, Acting Colonel, Sixty-ninth Regiment

Col. W. T. SHERMAN,

Commanding Brigade





“New” Bull Run Eyewitness Account

19 03 2008

 

I really don’t like to post the entire text of articles someone else has written for the web and usually just put up a link (hey, they wrote it, they deserve the hits!), but this is a news article and they have a tendency to disappear after awhile.  The letter in question was part of that lot of SC letters that was fought over in the courts for so long.  Here’s the link, but just in case I’m putting up the text, too.  I hope this letter is made available on the web.  This is from The State.com, South Carolina’s Home Page for 3/18/2008:

Vivid Civil War letter makes its way to library

By JAMES T. HAMMOND

A vivid piece of South Carolina’s Civil War history will enter the public domain this week when more than 30 descendants of Sgt. Maj. William Sidney Mullins donate to USC’s South Caroliniana Library a richly detailed letter he wrote about the Battle of First Manassas.

The letter is intriguing because it lacks the hope-and-glory style of many letter writers of the period. Mullins offers a cold, uncompromising view of the first large-scale battle of the Civil War.

Mullins’ enthusiasm over the Confederate victory was tempered when he observed in a heavy rain the cries of the wounded, some of whom implored “the passersby to kill them to relieve their agony.” Mullins declared, “If it please God, to stop this war, I will unfeignedly thank them.”

He describes a scene in which soldiers debated whether to go ahead and bury a dying soldier rather than wait for him to expire.

The letter — which will be presented to USC President Andrew Sorensen on Thursday by Mullins’ descendants — was part of a private collection of more than 450 letters and documents that South Carolina tried — and failed — to claim as state property.

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ended a legal battle over the collection, allowing to stand a U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that the government in 1865 did not make a timely effort to recover the papers and that the statute of limitations had expired.

Wade Mullins, a Columbia attorney and descendant of William Sidney Mullins, read a newspaper story about the collection and decided to try to obtain the letter. Lawsuits interrupted that process.

On the day last year when the letter finally came on the auction block, the initial bid was $10,000 from a competing collector.

The family had agreed they would bid as high as $10,000 if necessary to secure the letter written by their ancestor.

“I decided we just couldn’t let this piece of history slip through the family’s hands; not only out of the family’s hands, but outside the state and up North,” Mullins said.

Mullins won the bidding at $11,500.

“The South Caroliniana Library is a place I’ve always felt a close connection with, and I think the rest of the family feel it will receive the attention and care that it deserves,” Mullins said.

Allen Stokes, director of the library, said a lot of Civil War materials are available at auctions. And more and more families are donating their inherited collections to the library.

“We get a lot of collections every year because so many South Carolinians had ancestors who served in the war,” he said.

“People are recognizing that these materials are historically valuable and should be placed in a collection where they can be studied by scholars,” Stokes said.

“There are many descriptions of that battle, but it is certainly one of the most significant I have ever seen. This may be one of the most important letters in that collection.”

Most of the collection comprised correspondence of the governor’s office during the Civil War, including draft copies of letters written by S.C. Govs. Francis Wilkinson Pickens and Milledge Luke Bonham, as well as letters they received.

Patrick McCawley of the South Carolina Department of Archives and History believes Mullins’ letter ended up among those documents because Gen. William W. Harllee gave the letter to Pickens to make him aware of the conditions in the Confederate Army.

“We didn’t want the letter to go out of state and be lost forever,” said Louisa Tobias Campbell, great-great-granddaughter of Mullins and a Columbia resident.

“We wanted it preserved, and we knew the library would take care of it so that it always would be available to family members, historians, scholars and others,” Campbell said. “W.S. Mullins wrote the letter to General William W. Harllee, whom he respected and felt comfortable with to be so honest and open. That’s why the letter has such integrity.”

“We have thousands of letters of officers and enlisted personnel. This is as important as any other single letter that we have,” Stokes said. “The letter was to the lieutenant governor (Gen. William W. Harllee), and he endorsed it, so I think it is pretty obvious that he passed it along to Governor Pickens.”

State officials believe the papers were taken by Confederate Maj. Gen. Evander McIver Law as Union Gen. William T. Sherman’s Army approached the state capital in 1865. Law had been the provost marshal in Columbia but was relieved of his command, said Rodger Stroup, director of the state Department of Archives and History.

Stroup said there is no documentary evidence that points directly to Law taking the documents from the besieged capital. But he said the collection was passed down through generations of Law’s descendants.

Last year, after winning the court battle, Thomas Willcox of Seabrook Island sold the documents at auction. Willcox is the great-great-grandnephew of Evander McIver Law.

Stroup, the chief custodian of the state’s documents, joined with the state Attorney General’s office to try to reclaim the documents, which they maintained were part of the wartime governors’ papers. They contained reports from Col. Robert E. Lee, who, early in the war, was in charge of Charleston’s defenses.

 





Central Ohio Civil War Round Table – Columbus

18 03 2008

This past Wednesday (March 12), I made the 3 hour drive to Columbus to deliver my Threads presentation to the Central Ohio Civil War Round Table.  Mike Peters, the round table’s group historian (programs director) and an old e-quaintance with whom I’ve stomped Civil War battlefields in North Carolina, met me at the Holiday Inn in Pickerington.  From there we went over to what’s left of Camp Chase, which served as a training camp, parole camp, and prison camp during the war.  It’s most famous as a facility in which both prisoners of war and civilian detainees were held, and over 2,200 of them rest in the cemetery that represents all that is left of the once vast camp (I reviewed in brief a new book on Camp Chase in the May 2008 issue of America’s Civil War ).  One of those buried there is an ancestor of Mike’s – that’s them in the last photo below (click on the thumbnail for a larger image):

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We spent a short while in the cemetery, and then drove to the offices of Blue & Gray Magazine.  There I was introduced to Jason Roth, who works with his father Dave, the founder of the magazine.  I was about 19 issues short of a full run of Blue & Gray, and had packed a list of all the issues I needed, which of course I left back at the hotel.  I remembered one of the issues off the top of my head (a rare occurrence) which Jason had in stock.  I also purchased a copy of Tom McGrath’s new book on the Battle of Shepherdstown, and told Jason I would try to stop by the next day before heading for home (I did return, and bought another three back issues – now just 15 to go!).  Here is the home of the magazine:

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 Next we drove to the Motts Military Museum in Groveport.  This place is a real jewel, with a wonderful collection of paraphernalia spanning American military history.  The museum is now the home of the Pickett’s Charge diorama formerly displayed in the Gettysburg Cyclorama; numerous edged weapons and firearms; uniforms; tanks; helicopters; a rare WWII Higgins boat; an exact replica of Columbus native Eddie Rickenbacker’s  boyhood home; and much more.  After wandering the grounds, Mike introduced me to the director, Warren Motts.  Many of you have met Wayne Motts, Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide and the Director of the Adams County Historical Society.  Warren is Wayne’s father, and all I can say is the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.  Talk about energy and enthusiasm!  Warren showed us the new (unopened) wing of the museum, which has lots of stuff from NASA (including a live feed!), an extensive collection of women’s uniforms, and the lens used by Matthew Brady to photograph Lee on his porch in Richmond after Appomattox.  The last photo below is of Mike (l) and Warren (r):

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 It was getting pretty late, and the meeting was to begin at 7:30, so Mike dropped me at the hotel where I changed.  About 10 minutes later I was back in Mike’s car and we met another member of the round table, author and fellow blogger Eric Wittenberg, at Max & Erma’s for dinner.  I’ve known Eric for about seven years, and realized that I hadn’t seen him in nearly three, so it was nice to have some time to catch up.  Check out his very kind comments regarding my presentation.  Thanks for the plug, Eric.

The meeting was held in Westerville, which is a pretty cool Victorian town.  I had a little time to schmooze with some of the members I had met a few years ago in North Carolina, and round table President Tim Maurice had some business to conduct, so I began my program around 7:45.  About 35 folks showed up, and  I started off by taking this picture (sorry, it’s out of focus):   

 

cocwrt1.jpg 
I think things went pretty well.  Mike had told me that the speaker usually goes 30-45 minutes.  I went to about 9:15, and only one person had to leave during the program.  I didn’t have any time for a formal Q&A (I think on a Wednesday night most folks had already had a long day), but there were quite a few questions during the presentation and three or four hung around afterward to chat.  Thanks to the fella (Jamie Ryan) who provided the probable identity of Colonel — whose death Romeyn B. Ayres felt would enable his family to be proud (see here) as Norval Welch of the 16th MI.  Welch’s actions at Little Round Top on July 2, 1863 had cast a shadow over his reputation.  He was killed at the head of his regiment at Peebles Farm on Sept. 30, 1864.  Here’s a photo of Welch that I found on this site:  

 

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All in all, a good trip.  The reworking of the program really paid off, and the whole thing flowed a lot better.  Thanks to Tim Maurice, Mike Peters, Eric Wittenberg and everyone at the Central Ohio Civil War Round Table for a great time, and for their pledge of a donation to the Save Historic Antietam Foundation.

 

 





Cenantua

16 03 2008

It’s one of the three Native American names (along with Senedo and Sherando) believed by many to be the source of the word Shenandoah.  It’s also the nom de blog of historian and author Robert H. Moore II.  Cenantua’s Blog seems to focus on Civil War memory.  He stays pretty much on that popular topic, and so I’ve added him to the blogroll to the right.





#99 – Col. M. Jenkins

14 03 2008

 

Report of Col. M. Jenkins Fifth South Carolina Infantry

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp 541-543

HDQRS. FIFTH REG’T SOUTH CAROLINA VOLS

McLean’s Ford, July 22, 1861

SIR: I beg leave to make the following brief report of the occurrences of yesterday as they relate to my regiment:

When I had thrown my regiment in the position indicated by your orders, and found that the enemy had discovered our approach, I formed front under the brow of a hill. The enemy opening upon us a heavy fire of grape and shell, I advanced quickly over very difficult ground. While gallantly charging in fine order our friends in the rear poured in upon me heavy fires of musketry, cutting us up sadly. This compelled a halt, which I made upon gaining the brow of the hill upon which the enemy was stationed. Here, under a terrific fire of shell, I reformed and dressed my lines, and reloaded such guns as had been fired. Expecting the reserve to form to the rear to my support, I made every preparation to renew my charge upon the batteries, when I discovered that I was isolated in the presence of the enemy’s guns, cavalry, and three or four regiments of infantry.

Doubtful whether to advance unsupported against such great odds of position and men, I sent to you three times for orders, and retained my position amid the bursting of shell and threats of attack for three-quarters of an hour. Throwing to the front Captain Seabrook’s company as sharpshooters, and finding a large force threatening to charge, I withdrew them and placed Company A (Captain Goss) and Company B (Captain Jackson) in advance, in a skirt of woods upon my right, with orders to open upon the enemy, which was promptly executed and with effect, the artillerists leaving their guns and the troops retiring to the wood immediately in their rear.

Not hearing from the brigade, and the enemy being impregnable to a small body like mine, I decided unwillingly to withdraw and leaving Companies A and B to prevent a sudden attack, retired in order a short distance, when I threw into position Company C (Captain Seay) and Company H (Captain Bower), and called in the two Companies A and B, and, forming column, slowly and in order left the ground.

My observation, limited to a portion of the regiment, at times prevented my noticing all who behaved well. I notice with pleasure, as coming under immediate observation, the coolness and good conduct of Lieut. Col. G. W. H. Legg, in addition to the captains mentioned as performing special orders. I was greatly pleased with the coolness and conduct of others. Captains Giles, Carpenter, and, in fine, all under my observation, obeyed with promptness and kept good order in their ranks. Many lieutenants pleased me by self-possession and coolness, and would no doubt have given signal proof of gallantry and conduct had opportunity offered. My adjutant, Lieut. E. B. Clinton, also greatly pleased me by his conduct. I could notice a general desire to do their duty, and specially marked as encouraging the men were Privates Fernandez and Long, of Captain Glenn’s company. I also hear Private Scaife, of Captain Goss’ company, highly spoken of as aiding his company in its hour of trial.

I can only refer to the providence of a merciful God our success, as the enemy left the field under so small an attacking force; to His protection, our safety and comparatively small loss under so heavy a fire.

The enemy fired seventy-four shots at us, and my killed amounted only to three and my wounded to twenty-three.

Most respectfully,

M. JENKINS,

Colonel

General D. R. JONES,

Brigadier-General, Commanding Third Brigade

P. S. — I should have stated that Company K., Captain Walker, was deployed on my right flank as skirmishers, and the road being unknown and the thicket dense was separated from the regiment.  Some few of the members, having become separated from the company, with Sergeant Blassingame, joined us.





#98 – Col. E. R. Burt

14 03 2008

 

Report of Col. E. R. Burt, Eighteenth Mississippi Infantry

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, p 541

McLEAN’s FORD, July 22, 1861

DEAR SIR: I have the honor to report that my command, Eighteenth Regiment Mississippi Volunteers, with Colonel Jenkins’ South Carolina regiment, Colonel Featherston’s Seventeenth Regiment Mississippi Volunteers, under command of Brig. Gen. D. R. Jones, proceeded at about 2.30 o’clock on the evening of the 21st to take the battery of the enemy posted near Grigsby’s barn, on the north side of Bull Run.

When within about three hundred yards of the guns of the enemy I endeavored to form my command near the edge of a ravine on the left of the command of Colonel Jenkins. Before, however, the regiment could be formed, which from the nature of the ground was difficult to do, the enemy delivered a murderous fire on it. At this period the command came from the right to charge the enemy. By whom it was given I know not. The charge was made, however, without any knowledge of the ground over which the regiment was to pass, and continued in the face of a terrific fire of canister, shell, and shot from the battery of the enemy and the fire of a portion of my own command through those in advance of them until an impassable ravine was reached (where the line was originally attempted to be formed, but not effected), when the confusion under the galling fire of the enemy’s guns became very great, so much so that to form the line was utterly impracticable, and it was not done until the field of Mrs. Speak’s was reached. The fire of the enemy was returned, and kept up by the regiment for some moments without seeing where the battery of the enemy was placed. The infantry of the enemy fled after the first fire from our arms.

Although but a short time engaged, our loss was severe. Among the killed was Capt. Adam McWillie, of the Camden Rifles, a gallant soldier of the Mexican war, having fought bravely at Monterey and Buena Vista; he was killed by a canister shot while endeavoring to rally his command. First Lieutenant Scary, of Captain Brown’s command, was killed on the field whilst making the charge. Second Lieutenant York, of Captain Wellborn’s command, was badly wounded near the same time. Third Lieutenant McLaurin, of Captain Fontaine’s command, was seriously wounded by the explosion of a shell. Number of killed and wounded, thirty-eight.

Very respectfully,

E. R. BURT,

Colonel Eighteenth Regiment Mississippi Volunteers

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General LATHAM





#97 – Col. W. S. Featherston

14 03 2008

 

Report of Col. W. S. Featherston, Seventeenth Mississippi Infantry

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp 539-540

HEADQUARTERS CAMP PETTUS, July 24, 1861

SIR: In obedience to the order of General D. R. Jones, I beg leave to submit the following report of the action taken by the Seventeenth Regiment of Mississippi Volunteers in the attack made on the enemy’s camp near McLean’s Ford on the evening of the 21st instant:

General Jones’ brigade, composed of the Fifth South Carolina and the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Regiments of Mississippi Volunteers, marched to the field in the order of their position in line. Colonel Jenkins’ regiment, holding the right, was placed in the front; Colonel Burt’s in the center; and the Seventeenth, holding the left, was in the rear.

On entering the field where the enemy were encamped we found their batteries planted and pointing in the direction of our entrance upon the field. We marched up a ravine some two or three hundred yards until we reached the foot of the first hill occupied by the enemy, where we entered the field. Here we were halted, and the South Carolina regiment formed into line of battle on the right, and the Eighteenth Mississippi immediately on the left of the South Carolina regiment. These regiments were thrown into line near the foot of the hill as perfectly as the ground would permit, where they were somewhat protected against the enemy’s batteries by the hill in front. These regiments covered the whole line of battle, and the Seventeenth Regiment could not be formed in line of battle in rear of the other two, owing to obstacles presented by the ground.

Very soon after we were halted the firing commenced, and the order to charge or advance was given immediately on the right. The two regiments in front marched very promptly and gallantly up the hill, in the direction of the enemy. I immediately ordered the Seventeenth to advance, and standing at the head of the column ascended the hill, directing the right wing to the right and ordered the left to incline to the left, so as to form a line of battle in the rear of the Eighteenth Regiment. This order was promptly obeyed by every company in my command. The Eighteenth Regiment, in our front, advanced until they reached the ravine which separates the two hills occupied by the enemy. Here they were halted by the ravine in front, which at that place could not be crossed without great difficulty, if at all. Standing thus exposed to a heavy fire from the enemy’s artillery and musketry, and being unable to advance, they fell back. The Seventeenth Regiment advanced to the edge of the ravine, and the right wing was ordered by me to fire after it was unmasked by the Eighteenth. This order was promptly obeyed. The left wing did not fire at all, and was not ordered to do so. Standing thus, unable to advance, and exposed to a heavy fire from the enemy, the Seventeenth fell back with the Eighteenth Regiment. This advance was made by all three of the regiments under a very rapid fire from the enemy’s batteries, as well as from their sharpshooters, and was checked only by the obstacles in their pathway. After falling back beyond the reach of the enemy’s batteries the regiments were reformed and the order given to them to return to their camps.

The orders communicated to me by General Jones before entering upon the field were that my regiment was held rather in reserve, but required to sustain the other two, and I was to exercise my own discretion in doing so. I thought at the time, and still think, that in making the charge the other two regiments required the support of mine, and so ordered it.(*)

All of which is respectfully submitted.

W. S. FEATHERSTON,

Commanding Seventeenth Mississippi Volunteers

F. G. LATHAM,

Assistant Adjutant-General

*Nominal list of casualties shows 9 killed and 10 wounded.





Technorati

13 03 2008

 

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#96 – Brig. Gen. David R. Jones

13 03 2008

 

Report of Brig. Gen. David R. Jones, Commanding Third Brigade, First Corps

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp 537-539

HDQRS. THIRD BRIGADE, ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

Camp near McLean’s Ford, on Bull Run, July 23, 1861

SIR: In compliance with orders from headquarters, I have the honor to submit the following statement of the operations of my brigade on the day of the 21st instant:

At 7.10 a.m. the following order was received, viz:

JULY 21, 1861

Brig. Gen. D. R. JONES,

Commanding Third Brigade:

GENERAL: General Ewell has been ordered to take the offensive upon Centreville. You will follow the movement at once by attacking him in your front.

Respectfully,

G.T. BEAUREGARD,

Brigadier General, Commanding

I immediately placed my brigade in readiness to advance, and dispatched a messenger to communicate with General Ewell, whose movement I was to follow. Not receiving a prompt reply, I crossed McLean’s Ford and took position with my artillery in battery on the Union Mills road, near the farm of Mr. E. W. Kincheloe and abreast of Grigsby’s, which the enemy held with a strong force of artillery, infantry, and cavalry. I here awaited the advance of General Ewell for about two hours and a half, at the end of which time I received a somewhat discretionary order, through Captain Ferguson, aide-de-camp, and a few minutes after the following positive order, through Colonel Chisolm, aide-de-camp, to return to my former position,-viz:

10.30 A.M.

General JONES:

On account of the difficulties in our front it is thought preferable to countermand the advance of the right wing. Resume your former position.

G. T. BEAUREGARD,

Brigadier-General, Commanding

In the execution of these orders the two Mississippi regiments of my brigade, while advancing to recross McLean’s Ford, were exposed to a dangerous and demoralizing fire of rifle shot and shell from the enemy’s batteries, placed at or near Grigsby’s barn. Upon reaching my intrenchments General Ewell sent me an order he had received from General Beauregard, upon which was the following indorsement, viz:

The general says this is the only order he has received. It implies he is to receive another. Send this to General Beauregard if you think proper.

FITZ. LEE,

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General

Shortly after this I was requested by General Longstreet to make a demonstration in his favor on my front, followed by an order from General Beauregard, borne by Mr. Terry, 11.30 a.m., to advance upon the enemy Up Rocky Run, co-operating with General Ewell on my right and General Longstreet on my left.

I recrossed the ford, my men much fatigued by the morning’s march, many just convalescing from the measles, and retraced my route to the position I had occupied in the morning, and thence endeavored to communicate with General Ewell. Failing in this, I notified General Longstreet that I was advancing to the assault, and proceeded westwardly through the woods to the eastern elevation of Rocky Run Valley. My regiments were pushed forward by a flank movement through a ravine in the northeastern corner of Croson’s field, with instructions to form into line after crossing the hollow in the following order, viz: Colonel Jenkins, Fifth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, on the right, his right wing resting on the woods; Colonel Burr, Eighteenth Regiment Mississippi Volunteers, on the left, and Colonel Featherston, Seventeenth Regiment Mississippi Volunteers, supporting my artillery, protected by a company of infantry and Captain Flood’s small troop of cavalry, to be posted on the brow of a hill well to the left–the only point from which it could be used at all–in order to distract the enemy’s fire from my advancing lines of infantry. This arrangement of my two pieces of artillery, I regret to state, was impracticable by a vigorous converging fire from the enemy’s rifled guns and an advance of his infantry before my infantry company could be thrown forward to protect the pieces, and I was compelled to withdraw them.

Colonel Jenkins’ regiment advanced through a galling fire and over exceedingly difficult ground across the hollow. The Mississippi regiment followed, but owing to the great difficulties of the ground, which were not apparent in my reconnaissance, and to the murderous shower of the shot, shell, and canister which was poured upon the brigade from a masked battery, as well as from that in front, faltered, and, with the exception of Captain Fontaine’s company, fell back. I rallied them in the woods to the rear at a point to which I had previously withdrawn the artillery and cavalry. While the Eighteenth Mississippi Regiment was endeavoring to form into line its right became lapped behind the left of the Fifth, upon which its fire told with fatal effect. The latter regiment (the Fifth), notwithstanding the heavy fire of the enemy in front and the unfortunate fire of friends in the rear, advanced to the opposite slope, and then formed into line of battle, prepared to make the charge. Being isolated by the falling back of the supporting regiments it maintained its position for nearly three-quarters of an hour, its two right companies in the mean time thrown into the woods with well-directed volleys, driving the already retreating foe precipitately from the field. After I had dispatched three separate orders to withdraw, there being no favoring demonstration from Blackburn’s Ford, it retired well formed and in good order from the field.

Although the main object of our attack–the possession of the battery–was not attained, the effect of our operations, I am glad to believe, was none the less important in working out the grand issues of the day. The enemy left in panic the strong position from which he completely commanded several fords of Bull Run and the adjacent country for miles around.

My men behaved well in making the advance, considering the great difficulties of the ground and the terrible nature of the fire, as the following statement will show: Fifth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, 3 killed, 23 wounded; Seventeenth Regiment Mississippi Volunteers, 2 killed, 10 wounded, Eighteenth Regiment Mississippi Volunteers, 9 killed, 29 wounded. Total, 14 killed, 62 wounded.

It affords me much pleasure to express the confidence with which the conduct of Captain Miller and Lieutenant Norcom, of the artillery, and Capt. J. W. Flood, of the cavalry, attached to my command, inspired me. I only regret that the circumstances of my position prevented me from deriving the full benefit of the assistance they were so ready and eager to give. Too much cannot be said in praise of the gallantry displayed by Colonel Jenkins and his regiment of South Carolinians. The daring advance in line, the unwavering determination and coolness with which he held his command in position after it was completely isolated, and the ready tact with which he advanced his right flank and scattered the foe, will challenge comparison, I venture to say, with any of the many exhibitions of gallantry that graced the signal victory of the day. To Captain Fontaine, Company H, Eighteenth Regiment Mississippi Volunteers, much praise is also due for the manner in which he kept his company in hand. Not only did he resist the backward pressure of the other companies of his regiment, but he gallantly maintained his ground in rear of the Fifth Regiment, and with it retired from the field.

For more detailed reports I beg leave to refer you to the accompanying reports of colonels commanding regiments of this brigade.

To the following-named gentlemen: Lieut. F. G. Latham, acting assistant adjutant-general, Capts. A. Coward, J. W. Ford, E. Taylor, J. R. Curell, and Lieut. O. K. McLemore, members of my staff, I am indebted for valuable assistance, and I am under especial obligations to Mr. E. W. Kincheloe, whose services as messenger, scout, and guide were truly valuable to me personally, as well as the cause in which we are engaged. I take pleasure also in acknowledging the valuable assistance of Colonel White and Mr. Davis, both independent volunteers, accompanying the Mississippi Volunteers under my command.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

D. R. JONES,

Brigadier-General, Commanding

Lieut. Col. THOMAS JORDAN,

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General








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