Bull Run After Action (Official) Reports

30 10 2008

As I said, I have posted all the First Bull Run after action reports (Official Reports) included in the War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (ORs for short).  That does not mean, however, that after action reports for all regiments, brigades, divisions and staff can now be found on this site.  There are a number of reports missing from the ORs, either because none were ever written or because they were lost or otherwise not available at the time the ORs were compiled.  Some were subsequently included in Broadfoot Publishing’s Supplement to the Official Records.  I don’t happen to own that particular expensive set of books, and it is not available in digital format.  I’d be happy to buy the volume which includes Bull Run reports (Vol. 2 of Vol. 1), if anybody is looking to sell.  I previously posted this report from the Supplement.

I suppose there are lots of reasons that so many reports are missing.  Many of the federal regiments were no longer in existence within weeks of the battle.  And it appears that some brigades either did not require regimental reports, or simply did not forward them along with the brigade report.  None of Ewell’s, Early’s, or Holmes’s regiments in Beuaregard’s army are in the ORs, and the only reports of any type for Johnston’s army are his own and those of Jackson, Stuart, and staffers Pendleton and Rhett.  On the Union side, there are no regimental reports for the brigades of Richardson or Blenker, and only one or two for most other brigades.

Maybe some of these will turn up in the Supplement.  Other places for me to look are the state Adjutant General reports for 1861, though I believe those were culled when the Supplement was compiled.  I think the most important source is going to be newspapers.  If you should run across anything that looks like an official regimental report published in a newspaper, please let me know about it.  As I post these I will cross reference them to the OOBs, just as I have done with the ORs.





Done, But Not Done-Done

29 10 2008

OK, I’ve posted my last Bull Run after action report (OR).  #62 was the last Union report – #63 is actually the findings of the Dixon Miles court of inquiry

You may have inferred from the reports of Richardson and Davies that there was something hinky with Miles’s behavior on the 21st.  He was prescribed some brandy by his doctor that day, and he was unfortunately wearing two hats at the same time.  No, I mean that literally.  It was not uncommon practice to wear two hats on a hot day – something about ventilation.  But Miles had a reputation for hitting the bottle, so combine his medicinal use that day with possible augmentation on his part, two hats, and some less than rational directions to subordinates in the field, and the evidence mounts up.  Kinda sorta cleared by the court of inquiry, Miles went on leave of absence, awaiting orders from July 26, 1861 until March 8, 1862.  I’ll try to track down more information on the court of inquiry and post it here.

The ORs aren’t done-done, as Miracle Max might say.  I’ll get around to putting up the Blackburn’s Ford reports.  And of course there is all that correspondence to get through.  But it’s nice to have one thing wrapped up, finally.





Eyes on the Prize

3 10 2008

Toshiro Mifune as the Bandit Tajomaru

Sometimes the temptation to regale my reader with the brilliance of my opinion is difficult to resist.  But lately I’ve been trying to keep in mind that this site is more than a web log – in fact, the blog feature is secondary.  First and foremost, I want this to be a source for primary material related to the First Battle of Bull Run.  The WordPress blog platform just happens to be an easy (and cheap) alternative to a traditional web page.  That’s why you’ll notice that, while my posting pace has picked up considerably, I haven’t been putting up much original content.  Not to fear if you’re into that stuff, I’ll get back to it; at least I’ll be writing original articles as much as usual.  But please take time to read the reports and what have you (I’m almost done with the reports, but there’s lots of other good stuff coming); it’s cool to watch the story unfold through the eyes of the participants, in a Rashomon kind of way.

No disrespect to way-cool dudes Steve McQueen and Paul Newman, but was there ever a cooler cat than the one pictured above? (Did you know: Newman played the Mifune role in the American version of Rashomon, The Outrage.)





CSA Cavalry OOB Up

19 08 2008

In response to an inquiry concerning the command of Capt. John F. Lay, Bull Runnings’ favorite NPS Ranger, Jim Burgess of Manassas National Battlefield Park, has once again come through with flying colors.  Jim provided me with a Confederate Cavalry order of battle for First Bull Run.  I’ve added a page for this OOB under First Bull Run Resources in the right hand column. 

Thanks Jim!

Don Troiani print above (First at Manassas) from this site.





Reader Contributions

3 07 2008

 

Thanks to reader Terry Johnston, former editor of North & South magazine.  Terry sent me some great contemporary articles from the Scottish American Journal on the 79th NY (Cameron Highlanders) and their experiences at Bull Run.  If any of you are inclined to pass along any similar info you may have gathered up on your regiments or people of interest, I’m runnin’ a post and wide open.





Microsoft Live Search

27 05 2008

Thanks to this post by Eric Wittenberg, I’m aware that Microsoft has given up on its digitization project.  A good many of the digital books I have listed on my First Bull Run Books and Articles On-Line page are part of this project.  For now the links work, but if the project indeed “goes dark”, they’ll be worthless and I’ll have to find alternatives.  As I do, I’ll change the hyperlinks.  If you run across a link that doesn’t work, drop me a note.  If you have an alternative site address, let me know that, too.





Bull Run MOH and Other Stuff

7 02 2008

 

mary-walker.jpgI ran across a news article that mentioned Dr. Mary Walker (left), the only female winner of the Medal of Honor.  She was awarded it for her performance at Bull Run.  Later it was taken away, and even later it was given back.

As I said, I’ll be adding MOH sketches to this site.  I’ve also decided to add Bull Run articles from the Southern Historical Society Papers.  I have them in digital format on my OR superdisk, so it won’t be too difficult.  Now, if I could just find someone with an index to the National Tribune and access to the Bull Run related articles, I could post those, too.

I’ve made about as much progress on the O’Rorke letter as I’ll likely make.  I’ll type it up and get it posted here as well…it will be the first Personal Correspondence I’ll put up.dude.jpg

I’ve also been thinking more about what this blog is all about.  It has something to do with poetry and Buddhism, or rather Dudism, as expressed not by the Dude, but by the one who made him.  It’s in the formative stages, to be firmed up either when I’m in the shower or on the elliptical.





Stuart’s Report…and “Zouaves”!

20 01 2008

 

14th-bklyn.jpg

There’s a curious bit in Stuart’s report that is part of some confusion that permeates much of the history of the battle.  He mentions charging on a regiment “dressed in red”, and later identifies that regiment as the Fire Zouaves, the nom de guerre (gee, I hope I’m using that term correctly) of the 11th New York.  Stuart’s description was a little vague, but his subordinate W. W. Blackford was more detailed in his memoir, War Years with Jeb Stuart (from page 28, emphasis is mine):

 

Colonel Stuart and myself were riding at the head of the column as the grand panorama opened before us, and there right in front, about seventy yards distant, and in strong relief against the smoke beyond, stretched a brilliant line of scarlet – a regiment of New York Zouaves in column of fours, marching out of the Sudley road to attack the flank of our line of battle.  Dressed in scarlet caps and trousers, blue jackets with quantities of gold buttons, and white gaiters, with a fringe of bayonets swaying above them as they moved, their appearance was indeed magnificent.

This illustrates a common thread of confusion that runs through much of the documentary evidence which has served to construct the First Bull Run narrative.  Stuart’s conclusion that this unit was indeed the 11th NY is based not on his observation, but on what he was told afterwards.  While it’s not positively known when Blackford wrote his memoir (D. S. Freeman thought it was “considerably before” 1896) and his memory could have been affected by inumerable influences, Blackford’s account contradicts Stuart, and himself, with his detailed description of the uniform of the enemy.

The 11th NY at Bull Run by most accounts was clad in red firemen’s shirts and standard issue blue pants.  Their original Zouave uniforms, which by the way featured gray coats and pants, had worn out by July 1861.  Blackford’s description matches quite well the uniforms of the 14th New York State Militia (later the 84th New York Volunteer Infantry), known as the 14th Brooklyn, who were clad in an outfit of the French chasseur pattern.  (The photo at the top of the page, which is from this 14th NY, Co. E reenactment website, shows the men in uniforms that could have used Blackford’s description as a design template.) But folks seem to have commonly referred to the uniform as a Zouave uniform.  Since the 11th NY was the only wholly Zouave New York unit on the field that day (even though they weren’t wearing Zouave uniforms), the New York regiment in the Zouave uniforms with red pants has over time become the 11th NY.

There are reports of red trousered Fire Zouaves that may be referring to the 14th B’Klyn, or that may be referring to the 11th NY with the author tossing in red pants for effect, or that may be pure flights of fancy.  I even found one account that referred to the Brooklyn Fire Zouaves!  Adding to the confusion is the fact that the 14th B’Klyn fought on the same part of the field as the 11th NY, the 1st Minnesota regiment (red shirts), the 4th Alabama (red shirts), and a whole bunch of artillerymen who were commonly known as “redlegs” due to the red trim on their coats, hats and, yes, pants which denoted their arm of the service.

This is not something to be resolved overnight.

Next up for the Confederate ORs is #84, P.G.T. Beauregard.  This one takes up 31 pages!  It may be the only report I put up next week.





Jackson’s Report

20 01 2008

T. J. Jackson’s report is pretty concise.  In it he recognizes a man who would play a prominent role in the remaining 22 months of Stonewall’s life, Dr. Hunter McGuire.  The report closes with: I respectfully call attention to the accompanying reports of the commanders of the regiments and battery composing this brigade.(*)  The asterisk found at the bottom of the report, placed there by the compilers of the Official Records, identifies these reports as Not found.  Unfortunately, the compilers had to use lots of these asterisks when assembling the records for First Bull Run.





Johnston’s Report

19 01 2008

 

Here it is the weekend, and as promised I’m posting more reports.  This time: Confederate reports.  You may have noticed that so far, most of my biographies and report postings have been of Yankees.  Partly this is due to the random choice of where to start.  It’s also due to the fact that I’m an unreconstructed Union man.  There – I’ve said it.

You’ll notice that Joe Johnston’s report posted yesterday is the longest one I’ve put up so far.  You ain’t seen nothin’ yet – just wait ‘til you get a load of Beauregard’s opus!

Read all the way through the Johnston post and you’ll come across early evidence of the cantankerous, perhaps petty nature of the Confederate president, and of the bad blood that existed between him and Johnston.

I found a number of errors in the text that were a result of the scanning process used to produce my OR DVD. (Though not made by them anymore, I’ll refer to my version as the Guild Press version – I think it’s now Oliver Computing.  You can get your own here.)  I corrected the errors as I found them using my hardcopy volume, but I may have missed some.  If you run across any errors in any of the ORs or correspondence on this site, use the comments feature to let me know.

I’ll put up two or three more Confederate ORs today and tomorrow.  If you haven’t been here for a week or more, there were a lot of posts made in the past few days in addition to Johnston’s OR, so exercise those fingers and scroll down!








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