Report of Lieut. Col. E. B. Fowler
Brooklyn Eagle, March 17, 1901, p. 6
July 23, 1861
In accordance with regulations I submit the following of the action of the regiment in the late battle before Manassas, July 21, 1861. We entered the field through the opening made for railroad and advanced on the field in line of battle to the road leading through the enemy’s lines, up which road we advanced by the right flank, and halted with our right resting near a brick house to the corner of a road leading to our left. The enemy then placed a battery at the top of the hill commanding the road and poured upon us a terrible fire of shot and shell. We then, by order of Colonel Porter, advanced up the road leading to our left.
When we arrived opposite the woods on the right of the road we received a severe and continued fore of musketry from a force in ambush in the woods, whom we could not see. Our men returned partially the fire and retired behind the fence and reformed. A mounted officer from Griffin’s battery then appealed to us to protect that battery, saying that if we did not give them our aid the battery would be lost. We then formed in rear of the battery and it was withdrawn. We then being under a heavy fire from the enemy and our men being exhausted, retired from the field for about ten minutes. We then advanced in line and flanked the road leading into the enemy’s lines. We then, by order of Colonel Porter, took position in front and below Griffin’s battery. After remaining here some time under fire from the enemy’s battery, we then, by order of General McDowell, advanced in line up the hill on the right of the road leading through the enemy’s lines and met the Zouaves retreating in disorder. We continued our advance within forty yards of the enemy’s infantry, who were then advancing up the ravine in column of division. the fire of the battalion was directed on their leading division with terrible effect, the entire division being cut down. They then deployed and delivered their fire on us, which, together with a cross fire from the bushes and the shot and shell from their battery, were so severe that we were compelled to retire. We reformed near the road and advanced again to the top of the hill and were again compelled to retire, firing as we retreated. On crossing the road a battery opened on us from the right, compelling us (with the example of others retreating) to retire from the field in disorder, the greater portion of the Army then being in rout. About 300 men formed on the road, but in the panic again became separated and came straggling into camp.
I regret to say that in the last charge Colonel Wood was severely wounded. He was carried several miles by the men and afterward placed in an ambulance. The last account we had of him was in the ambulance near the Bull’s Run bridge when the retreating column was fired into. Major Jourdan deserves especial praise for the bravery he displayed on the occasion and the officers and men generally displayed great courage and enthusiasm. Our loss appears to be very severe, but will be probably by stragglers coming in.
Lieutenant Colonel E. B. Fowler
Commanding Fourteenth Regiment, N. Y. S. M.
Commanding First Brigade, Second Division, Army of Virginia