#68 – Col. J. H. Williams

9 03 2009

Report of Col. J. H. Williams, Third South Carolina Infantry, of Retreat from Fairfax Court-House and Skirmish at Mitchell’s Ford

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp. 453-454

CAMP GREGG, Vienna, Va., August 2, 1861

I have the honor to report that I occupied the advanced position on the main turnpike road leading from Fairfax Court House to Alexandria when the enemy appeared in movement on the morning of the 17th upon the advanced forces at Fairfax. My baggage train, which had been kept in readiness, was immediately forwarded in the direction of Bull Run, carrying everything of value. My two companies on picket at the barricade across the Alexandria turnpike road, three miles from camp, and therefore in danger of being cut off by the column of the enemy advancing along the Flint Hill road, were called in, and my regiment marched through Fairfax to a position on the right of the road in front of Colonel Bacon’s camp, the right wing of the battalion being stationed behind the intrenchments, the left wing drawn up under the hill to the left of the works. When the line of march was taken up I followed in rear of Colonel Withers as far as Centreville, and arriving at that place deployed my regiment on the right, occupying the village.  This position I held until ordered to Bull Run, following in rear of the artillery. Arriving there, I deployed along the right bank of the stream, my right resting on the left of the intrenched works, my left extending up the stream across the road which leads from Mitchell’s Ford along the right bank. My men, though much fatigued and in want of sleep, completed by 10 o’clock a.m. temporary breastworks of timber and brushwood, and awaited under arms the attack of the enemy, who soon after appeared in heavy force in our front and opened a brisk cannonade upon our whole line. One of my companies (Captain Jones’, on picket across the stream at Roberts’ house) received several well directed fires of the enemy, but retired under orders without loss. The enemy’s fire was kept up at intervals until 5 o’clock p.m., many of their missiles passing above and falling around us, but without doing any damage.

My regiment was not engaged in the musketry fire on the right in the afternoon of the 18th, being  in position in expectation of an attack upon the center of our general line.

I must here express my high appreciation of the soldierly qualities and bearing of the troops under my command exhibited in the march from Fairfax, which was certainly a dangerous and trying one, and of their conduct while under fire. Of their fortitude, courage, and the prompt execution of all orders under such unfavorable circumstances I cannot speak too highly. On every occasion I received the active cooperation of all the field and staff officers and all the officers and men under my command.

Very respectfully,

J. H. WILLIAMS,

Colonel Third Regiment South Carolina Volunteers

Brig. Gen. M. L. BONHAM,

Commanding First Brigade, Army of the Potomac





#67 – Col. J. B. Kershaw

8 03 2009

Report of Col. J. B. Kershaw, Second South Carolina Infantry, of Retreat from Fairfax Court-House and Skirmish at Mitchell’s Ford

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp.451-453

HDQRS. SECOND PALMETTO REG’T, SOUTH CAROLINA VOLS.,

Vienna, Va., July 26, 1861

GENERAL: In obedience to your order, as soon as I could obtain the proper materials, I proceed to report the operations of my command from the 17th to 21st instant, inclusive, in two separate reports:

In accordance with your orders I had prepared my command to cover the movement of the advance forces from Fairfax Court-House to Bull Run whenever it should be ascertained that the enemy were approaching our position in overwhelming force. On the morning of the 17th, at an early hour, the drums of the enemy announced their movement towards Fairfax Court-House, and soon after sunrise one of the pickets stationed on the road from Flint Hill to the Falls Church road, midway between the two points, was seen rapidly retreating across the field, having two pickets of fifty men each, consisting of Captain Haile’s company and a part of Captain Rhett’s, all under the command of Captain Haile, stationed on the Falls Church road, one-half under Lieutenant Canty, two miles distant from camp, the remainder about a mile farther at the barricades, under Captain Haile in person, whose orders required that they should engage the enemy when he appeared and fall back fighting.

I at once apprehended that they would be flanked and cut off, since their left was entirely uncovered by the retreat of the picket first mentioned. Accordingly, accompanied by Mr. A. E. Doby, of my staff, I visited the pickets, instructing them to fall back one upon the other, and both to retire together so soon as it was ascertained that the enemy had passed them to the left. Hearing firing in the direction of Flint Hill, I rode to the point whence the picket had retreated, and found the enemy’s skirmishers occupying the open ground, as far as could be seen in the direction of the Vienna road, with a heavy column occupying the woods in their rear, but not at that time advancing. I returned to Captain Haile’s picket, renewed my caution, caused a barricade to be erected at the position of my nearest picket, and ordered them forward to the intersection of the Flint Hill road, to support Captain Haile and to observe the approach of the enemy along that road. Having made these dispositions I returned to camp, and found my regiment drawn up on their parade ground, tents and baggage packed and sent off as far as transportation had been provided for them, and ready for movement.

At this time I received your order in person directing me to recall the pickets, and immediately dispatched Mr. Edward Wallace, of my staff, for that purpose. I posted the companies of Captains Hoke and Cuthbert in the woods to the right of the Falls Church road, Captain Casson in reserve in front of my camp upon the road, Captain Rhett, with the remainder of his company, in front in the log-house on the road, Captain Perryman’s rifles in a wood in front of the left of the trenches, Kemper’s battery, with two pieces, occupying the trenches. By this rime the enemy, after firing a few cannon shot, had deployed their line of battle directly in front and to the left of Captain Perryman’s position, and it was announced to me that the movement to Bull Run had already been commenced by the withdrawal of Colonel Williams from his original position on the Alexandria road. I placed in position at the entrance of them into Fairfax Court-House three companies of infantry, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Jones, and threw Captain Casson’s company on the hill on the left of the road at the hospital, placing a section of Kemper’s battery in position at the Court-House.

Receiving your orders to fall back, anxious for the safety of my picket, who had not yet returned, the enemy being now far in the rear of the position where the pickets had been posted, I went forward with Captain Hoke’s company and Captain Rhett’s to the hill near Wilcoxson’s, where I awaited their arrival. Shortly after they appeared, and my movement commenced. Withdrawing all the companies and Kemper’s battery from the Falls Church road, I occupied with them, alternating with the detachment of Lieutenant-Colonel Jones, each successive intrenchment from that point to the Germantown road as they were severally vacated by the regiments in charge of them, having in the mean time been re-enforced by the arrival of Captain Wickham’s squadron of cavalry, composed of his own and Captain Flood’s company.

Arrived at the fork of the road, I moved one battalion towards Germantown to replace Colonel Cash, and took position on the Centreville road on the hill commanding the village of Fairfax with two pieces of artillery and the other battalion, directing the other two pieces to take position in the rear at the intersection of the cross-road from Germantown, to which the first battalion had been directed to proceed. So soon as Colonel Cash had advanced sufficiently on his march I moved the whole command in good order to Centreville without interference, where we took position, much fatigued from the excessive heat of the day, at Artillery Hill.

At midnight I was informed that the march had been resumed to Bull Run, and so soon as all the troops had left the village of Centreville I put my command in motion in the following order: First, the cavalry; second, Kemper’s battery; third, infantry, with a small cavalry vedette a short distance in the rear. In this order we marched without interruption to Mitchell’s Ford, Bull Run, where my regiment resumed the position which they had occupied some weeks before in the intrenchments of their own construction. Two pieces of Kemper’s battery were placed in position in the trenches on the left of the road, the remaining two placed under direction on  Kemper’s Hill north of the run, also on the left of the road. The cavalry were directed to return to their regiment.

On the 18th instant Captain Wallace’s company was stationed at Butler’s, on the Centreville road, to observe the approach of the enemy. While there an officer of the enemy, or employe’ in their quartermaster’s department, O’Brien by name, rode up to Captain Wallace and asked for General McDowell. Immediately perceiving his mistake he drew his pistol and turned to make his escape, but was immediately killed by Captain Wallace’s men. Later in the day the enemy appeared in force, and Captain Wallace withdrew his company. Captains Perryman and Cuthbert were thrown out in the morning with their companies to support Kemper’s half battery on the hill, which was commanded by Captain Kemper in person.

About noon a heavy artillery fire was opened upon our lines from the enemy’s artillery posted near Rough’s, which continued for some time without response on our part; but the range of Captain Kemper’s position, having been ascertained by the enemy, and their fire becoming more threatening, Captain Kemper fired a half dozen apparently most effective shots and retired in safety to the trenches, covered by Captains Perryman’s and Cuthbert’s rifles. After a few shots at this retreating party the enemy turned their attention almost exclusively to the troops posted to the right of our brigade. During the day there were many narrow escapes in the trenches occupied by my regiment, and the bravery and spirit of my whole command was strikingly displayed in their contempt of the danger and their eagerness for a nearer approach of the enemy.

About 4 o’clock in the afternoon, by your direction, I detached the companies of Captains Hoke, Cuthbert, Casson, and Haile, and assuming the command myself, with one piece of Captain Kemper’s artillery, under his own command, reoccupied Kemper’s Hill. Reconnoitering with Messrs. Doby and Wallace, of my staff, it was ascertained that the enemy occupied in force the graveyard near Holden’s and the ravine between Holden’s and Robert’s house with skirmishers in the open field on their right. After three shots from Kemper’s battery, which produced evident confusion in the enemy’s ranks, I received an order from General Beauregard to return immediately, which was promptly obeyed. Soon after the enemy ceased firing and withdrew. About sunset, by your order, my regiment moved with Captain Kemper’s battery and took position on the left of your command, where we remained without incident until Sunday, the 21st instant.

One unpleasant feature of the abandonment of Fairfax Court-House was the loss of much private baggage, some tents, knapsacks, and camp kettles, and all the hospital stores, for the want of sufficient transportation, which this regiment has never had. The knapsacks of Captains Rhett’s and Haile’s companies were lost in consequence of those companies being on picket guard when the movement commenced, and time was not afforded them to recover them.

I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. B. Kershaw,

Colonel Second Regiment South Carolina Volunteers

Brig. Gen. M. L. BONHAM

Commanding First Brigade, &c.





#65 – Col. Thomas Jordan

3 03 2009

Reports of Col. Thomas Jordan, Assistant Adjutant General C. S. Forces, of Operations July 18 and 19

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp. 448-449

MANASSAS, JULY 18, 1861

General S. COOPER,  Adjutant General:

The enemy began the action at 12 o’clock noon to-day at Mitchell’s Ford–subsequently at McLean’s Ford. Bonham’s and Longstreet’s brigades engaged. Firing very heavy and obstinate. Thus far we have maintained our positions, despite the great odds opposed. There is now a lull. Johnston is marching to our support by Ashby’s Gap and forced marches.

Respectfully,

THOMAS JORDAN,

Colonel and Assistant Adjutant General

—–

MANASSAS, July 19, 1861

General S. COOPER,  Adjutant General:

Enemy did not renew fight to-day. The ground they were driven from was strewn with guns, hats, swords, coats, &c. Late this afternoon their columns had been seen gathering as if for an attack to-morrow in great force, and we hear of a heavy force about Sangster’s. Johnston’s brigades are arriving. Jackson already here. Holmes is pushing up. McRae is here. The general is out on the line of Bull Run, watching reported movements.

THOMAS JORDAN





#64 – Gen. G. T. Beauregard

22 02 2009

Reports of General G. T. Beauregard, Commanding Confederate Army of the Potomac, of Operations from July 17 to 20

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp. 439-448

MANASSAS, July 17, 1861

JEFFERSON DAVIS,

President of the Confederate States:

The enemy has assailed my outposts in heavy force. I have fallen back on the line of Bull Run, and will make a stand at Mitchell’s Ford.If his force is overwhelming I shall retire to the Rappahannock Railroad Bridge, saving my command for defense there and future operations. Please inform Johnston of this, via Staunton, and also Holmes. Send forward any re-enforcements at the earliest possible instant and by every possible means.

G. T. BEAUREGARD

—–

HDQRS. FIRST CORPS, ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

Manassas, August –, 1861

GENERAL: With the general results of the engagement between several brigades of my command and a considerable force of the enemy in the vicinity of Mitchell’s and Blackburn’s Fords, at Bull Run, on the 18th ultimo, you were made duly acquainted at the time by telegraph, but it is my place now to submit in detail the operations of that day.

Opportunely informed of the determination of the enemy to advance on Manassas, my advanced brigades, on the night of the 16th of July, were made aware from these headquarters of the impending movement, and in exact accordance with my instructions (a copy of which is appended, marked A), their withdrawal within the lines of Bull Run was effected with complete success during the day and night of the 17th ultimo, in face of and in immediate proximity to a largely superior force, despite a well-planned, well-executed effort to cut off the retreat of Bonham’s brigade first at Germantown and subsequently at Centreville, whence he withdrew by my direction after midnight without collision, although enveloped on three sides by their lines. This movement had the intended effect of deceiving the enemy as to my ulterior purposes, and led him to anticipate an unresisted passage of Bull Run.

As prescribed in the first and second sections of the paper herewith, marked A, on the morning of the 18th of July, my troops, resting on Bull Run from Union Mills Ford to the stone bridge, a distance of about eight miles, were posted as follows:

Ewell’s brigade occupied a position in vicinity of the Union Mills Ford. It consisted of Rodes’ Fifth and Seibels’ Sixth Regiments of Alabama, and Seymour’s Sixth Regiment Louisiana Volunteers, with four 12-pounder howitzers of Walton’s battery, and Harrison’s, Green’s, and Cabell’s companies of Virginia Cavalry.

D. R. Jones’ brigade was in position in rear of McLean’s Ford, and consisted of Jenkins’ Fifth South Carolina and Burt’s Eighteenth and Featherston’s Seventeenth Regiments of Mississippi Volunteers, with two brass 6-pounder guns of Walton’s battery, and one company of cavalry.

Longstreet’s brigade covered Blackburn’s Ford, and consisted of Moore’s First, Garland’s Eleventh, and Corse’s Seventeenth Regiments Virginia Volunteers, with two 6-pounder brass guns of Walton’s battery.

Bonham’s brigade held the approaches to Mitchell’s Ford. It was composed of Kershaw’s Second, Williams’ Third, Bacon’s Seventh, and Cash’s Eighth Regiments South Carolina Volunteers; of Shields’ and Del. Kemper’s batteries, and of Flood’s, Radford’s, Payne’s, Ball’s, Wickham’s, and Powell’s companies of Virginia Cavalry, under Colonel Radford.

Cooke’s brigade held the fords below and in the vicinity of the stone bridge, and consisted of Withers’ Eighteenth, Lieutenant-Colonel Strange’s Nineteenth, and R. T. Preston’s Twenty-eighth Regiments, with Latham’s battery, and one company of cavalry, Virginia Volunteers.

Evans held my left flank, and protected the stone bridge crossing, with Sloan’s Fourth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, Wheat’s special battalion Louisiana Volunteers, four 6-pounder guns, and two companies of Virginia Cavalry.

Early’s brigade, consisting of Kemper’s Seventh and Early’s Twenty-fourth Regiments Virginia Volunteers; Hays’ Seventh Regiment Louisiana Volunteers, and three rifled pieces of Walton’s battery–Lieutenant Squires–at first were held in position in the rear of and as a support to Ewell’s brigade, until after the development of the enemy in heavy offensive force in front of Mitchell’s and Blackburn’s Fords, when it was placed in rear of and nearly equidistant between McLean’s, Blackburn’s, and Mitchell’s Fords.

Pending the development of the enemy’s purpose, about 10 o’clock a.m. I established my headquarters at a central point (McLean’s farmhouse), near to McLean’s and Blackburn’s Fords, where two 6-pounders of Walton’s battery were in reserve, but subsequently during the engagement I took post to the left of my reserve.

Of the topographical features of the country thus occupied it must suffice to say that Bull Run is a small stream, running in this locality nearly from west to east to its confluence with the Occoquan River, about twelve miles from the Potomac, and draining a considerable scope of country from its source in Bull Run Mountain to a short distance of the Potomac at Occoquan. At this season habitually low and sluggish, it is, however, rapidly and frequently swollen by the summer rains until unfordable. The banks for the most part are rocky and steep, but abound in long-used fords. The country on either side, much broken and thickly wooded, becomes gently rolling and open as it recedes from the stream. On the northern side the ground is much the highest, and commands the other bank completely. Roads traverse and intersect the surrounding country in almost every direction. Finally, at Mitchell’s Ford the stream is about equidistant between Centreville and Manassas, some six miles apart.

On the morning of the 18th, finding that the enemy was assuming a threatening attitude, in addition to the regiments whose positions have been already stated, I ordered up from Camp Pickens as a reserve, in rear of Bonham’s brigade, the effective men of six companies of Kelly’s Eighth Regiment Louisiana Volunteers and Kirkland’s Eleventh Regiment North Carolina Volunteers, which, having arrived the night before en route for Winchester, I had halted in view of the existing necessities of the service. Subsequently the latter was placed in position to the left of Bonham’s brigade.

Appearing in heavy force in front of Bonham’s position, the enemy, about meridian, opened fire with several 20-pounder rifled guns from a hill over one and a half miles from Bull Run. At the same time Kemper, supported by two companies of light infantry, occupied a ridge on the left of the Centreville road, about six hundred yards in advance of the ford, with two 6-pounder (smooth) guns. At first the firing of the enemy was at random, but by 12.30 p.m. he had obtained the range of our position, and poured into the brigade a shower of shot, but without injury to us in men, horses, or guns. From the distance, however, our guns could not reply with effect, and we did not attempt it, patiently awaiting a more opportune moment.

Meanwhile a light battery was pushed forward by the enemy, whereupon Kemper threw only six solid shot, with the effect of driving back both the battery and its supporting force. This is understood to have been Ayres’ battery, and the damage must have been considerable to have obliged such a retrograde movement on the part of that officer. The purposes of Kemper’s position having now been fully served, his pieces and support were withdrawn across Mitchell’s Ford to a point previously designated, and which commanded the direct approaches to the ford.

About 11.30 o’clock a.m. the enemy was also discovered by the pickets of Longstreet’s brigade advancing in strong columns of infantry with artillery and cavalry on Blackburn’s Ford. At meridian the pickets fell back silently before the advancing foe across the ford, which, as well as the entire southern bank of the stream for the whole front of Longstreet’s brigade, was covered at the water’s edge by an extended line of skirmishers, while two 6-pounders of Walton’s battery, under Lieutenant Garnett, were advantageously placed to command the direct approach to the ford, but with orders to retire to the rear as soon as commanded by the enemy.

The northern bank of the stream in front of Longstreet’s position rises with a steep slope at least fifty feet above the level of the water, leaving a narrow berme in front of the ford of some twenty yards. This ridge formed for them an admirable natural parapet, behind which they could and did approach under shelter in heavy force within less than one hundred yards of our skirmishers. The southern shore was almost a plain, raised but a few feet above the water for several hundred yards; then rising with a very gradual, gentle slope and undulations back to Manassas. On the immediate bank there was a fringe of trees, but with little if any undergrowth or shelter, while on the other shore there were timber and much thick brush and covering. The ground in rear of our skirmishers and occupied by our artillery was an old field, extending along the stream about one mile, and immediately back for about half a mile to a border or skirting of dense second-growth pines. The whole of this ground was commanded at all points by the ridge occupied by the enemy’s musketry, as was also the country to the rear for a distance much beyond the range of 20-pounder rifled guns by the range of hills on which their batteries were planted, and which it may be further noted commanded also all our approaches from this direction to the three threatened fords.

Before advancing his infantry the enemy maintained a fire of rifled artillery from the batteries just mentioned for half an hour; then he pushed forward a column of over three thousand infantry to the assault, with such a weight of numbers as to be repelled with difficulty by the comparatively small force of not more than twelve hundred bayonets with which Brigadier-General Longstreet met him with characteristic vigor and intrepidity. Our troops engaged at this time were the First and Seventeenth and four companies of the Eleventh Regiments Virginia Volunteers. Their resistance was resolute, and maintained with a steadiness worthy of all praise. It was successful, and the enemy was repulsed. In a short time, however, he returned to the contest with increased force and determination, but was again foiled and driven back by our skirmishers and Longstreet’s reserve companies, which were brought up and employed at the most vigorously-assailed points at the critical moment.

It was now that Brigadier-General Longstreet sent for re-enforcements from Early’s brigade, which I had anticipated by directing the advance of General Early with two regiments of infantry and two pieces of artillery. As these came upon the field the enemy had advanced a third time with heavy numbers to force Longstreet’s position. Hays’ regiment, Seventh Louisiana Volunteers, which was in advance, was placed on the bank of the stream under some cover to the immediate right and left of the ford, relieving Corse’s regiment (Seventeenth Virginia Volunteers). This was done under a heavy fire of musketry with promising steadiness. The Seventh Virginia, under Lieutenant-Colonel Williams, was then formed to the right, also under heavy fire, and pushed forward to the stream, relieving the First Regiment Virginia Volunteers. At the same time two rifled guns brought up with Early’s brigade were moved down in the field to the right of the road, so as to be concealed from the enemy’s artillery by the girth of timber on the immediate bank of the stream, and there opened fire, directed only by the sound of the enemy’s musketry.

Unable to effect a passage, the enemy kept up a scattering fire for some time. Some of our troops had pushed across the stream, and several small parties of Corse’s regiment, under command of Captain Marye, met and drove the enemy with the bayonet; but as the roadway from the ford was too narrow for a combined movement in force, General Longstreet recalled them to the south bank. Meanwhile the remainder of Early’s infantry and artillery had been called up; that is, six companies of the Twenty-fourth Regiment Virginia Volunteers, under Lieutenant-Colonel Hairston, and five pieces of artillery, one rifled gun, and four 6-pounder brass guns, including two 6-pounder guns under Lieutenant Garnett, which had been previously sent to the rear by General Longstreet. This infantry was at once placed in position to the left of the ford, in a space unoccupied by Hays, and the artillery was unlimbered in battery to the right of the road, in a line with the two guns already in action. A scattering fire of musketry was still kept up by the enemy for a short time, but that was soon silenced.

It was at this stage of the affair that a remarkable artillery duel was commenced and maintained on our side with a long-trained professional opponent, superior in the character as well as in the number of his weapons, provided with improved munitions and every artillery appliance, and at the same time occupying the commanding position. The results were marvelous, and fitting precursors to the artillery achievements of the 21st of July. In the outset our fire was directed against the enemy’s infantry, whose bayonets, gleaming above the tree-tops, alone indicated their presence and force. This drew the attention of a battery placed on a high, commanding ridge, and the duel began in earnest. For a time the aim of the adversary was inaccurate, but this was quickly corrected, and shot fell and shells burst thick and fast in the very midst of our battery, wounding in the course of the combat Captain Eshleman, five privates, and the horse of Lieutenant Richardson. From the position of our pieces and the nature of the ground their aim could only be directed at the smoke of the enemy’s artillery. How skillfully and with what execution this was done can only be realized by an eye-witness. For a few moments their guns were silenced, but were soon reopened. By direction of General Longstreet, his battery was then advanced by hand out of the range now ascertained by the enemy, and a shower of spherical case, shell, and round shot flew over the heads of our gunners. But one of our pieces had become hors de combat from an enlarged vent.

From the new position our guns fired as before, with no other aim than the smoke and flash of their adversaries’ pieces, renewed and urged the conflict with such signal vigor and effect, that gradually the fire of the enemy slackened, the intervals between their discharges grew longer and longer, finally to cease, and we fired a last gun at a baffled, flying foe, whose heavy masses in the distance were plainly seen to break and scatter in wild confusion and utter rout, strewing the ground with castaway guns, hats, blankets, and knapsacks as our parting shell were thrown among them. In their retreat one of their pieces was abandoned, but from the nature of the ground it was not sent for that night, and under cover of darkness the enemy recovered it.

The guns engaged in this singular conflict on our side were three 6-pounder rifled pieces and four ordinary 6-pounders, all of Walton’s battery, Washington Artillery, of New Orleans. The officers immediately attached were Captain Eshleman, Lieuts. C. W. Squires, Richardson, Garnett, and Whittington. At the same time our infantry held the bank of the stream in advance of our guns, and the missiles of the combatants flew to and fro above them, as cool and veteran-like for more than an hour they steadily awaited the moment and signal for the advance.

While the conflict was at its height before Blackburn’s Ford, about l o’clock p.m., the enemy again displayed himself in force before Bonham’s position. At this time Colonel Kershaw, with four companies of his regiment (Second South Carolina) and one piece of Kemper’s battery, were thrown across Mitchell’s Ford to the ridge which Kemper had occupied that morning. Two solid shot and three spherical case thrown among them with a precision inaugurated by that artillerist at Vienna effected their discomfiture and disappearance, and our troops in that quarter were again withdrawn within our lines, having discharged the duty assigned.

At the close of the engagement before Blackburn’s Ford I directed General Longstreet to withdraw the First and Seventeenth Regiments, which had borne the brunt of the action, to a position in reserve, leaving Colonel Early to occupy the field with his brigade and Garland’s regiment.

As a part of the history of this engagement I desire to place on record that on the 18th of July not one yard of intrenchments nor one rifle pit sheltered the men at Blackburn’s Ford, who, officers and men, with rare exceptions, were on that day for the first time under fire, and who, taking and maintaining every position ordered, cannot be too much commended for their soldierly behavior.

Our artillery was manned and officered by those who but yesterday were called from the civil avocations of a busy city. They were matched with the picked light artillery of the Federal Regular Army–Company E, Third Artillery, under Captain Ayres, with an armament, as their own chief of artillery admits, of two 10-pounder Parrott rifled guns, two 12-pounder howitzers, and two 6-pounder pieces, aided by two 20-pounder Parrott rifled guns of Company G, Fifth Artillery, under Lieutenant Benjamin. Thus matched, they drove their veteran adversaries from the field, giving confidence in and promise of the coming efficiency of that brilliant arm of our service.

Having thus related the main or general results and events of the action of Bull Run, in conclusion it is proper to signalize some of those who contributed most to the satisfactory results of that day. Thanks are due to Brigadier-Generals Bonham and Ewell and to Colonel Cocke and the officers under them for the ability shown in conducting and executing the retrograde movements on Bull Run directed in my orders of the 8th of July–movements on which hung the fortunes of this Army.

Brigadier-General Longstreet, who commanded immediately the troops engaged at Blackburn’s Ford on the 18th, equaled my confident expectations, and I may fitly say that by his presence at the right place at the right moment among his men, by the exhibition of characteristic coolness, and by his words of encouragement to the men of his command, he infused a confidence and spirit that contributed largely to the success of our arms on that day.

Colonel Early brought his brigade into position and subsequently into action with judgment, and at the proper moment; he displayed capacity for command and personal gallantry.

Colonel Moore, commanding the First Virginia Volunteers, was severely wounded at the head of his regiment, the command of which subsequently devolved upon Major Skinner, Lieutenant-Colonel Fry having been obliged to leave the field in consequence of a sun-stroke.

An accomplished, promising officer, Maj. Carter H. Harrison, Eleventh Regiment Virginia Volunteers, was lost to the service while leading two companies of his regiment against the enemy. He fell, twice shot, mortally wounded.

Brigadier-General Longstreet, while finding on all sides alacrity, ardor, and intelligence, mentions his special obligations to Colonels Moore, Garland, and Corse, commanding severally regiments of his brigade, and to their field officers, Lieutenant-Colonels Fry, Funsten, Munford, and Majors Brent and Skinner, of whom he says, “They displayed more coolness and energy than is usual among veterans of the old service.” General Longstreet also mentions the conduct of Captain Marye, of the Seventeenth Virginia Volunteers, as especially gallant on one occasion, in advance of the ford.

The regiments of Early’s brigade were commanded by Colonel Harry Hays and Lieutenant-Colonels Williams and Hairston, who handled their commands in action with satisfactory coolness and skill, supported by their field officers, Lieutenant-Colonel De Choiseul and Major Penn, of the Seventh Louisiana, and Major Patton, of the Seventh Virginia Volunteers.

The skill, the conduct, and the soldierly qualities of the Washington Artillery engaged were all that could be desired. The officers and men attached to the seven pieces already specified won for their battalion a distinction which I feel assured will never be tarnished, and which will ever serve to urge them and their corps to high endeavor. Lieutenant Squires worthily commanded the pieces in action. The commander of the battalion was necessarily absent from the immediate field, under orders in the sphere of his duties, but the fruits of his discipline, zeal, instruction, and capacity as an artillery commander were present, and must redound to his reputation.

On the left, at Mitchell’s Ford, while no serious engagement occurred, the conduct of all was eminently satisfactory to the general officers in command.

It is due, however, to Col. J. L. Kemper, Virginia forces, to express my sense of the value of his services in the preparation for and execution of the retreat from Fairfax Court-House on Bull Run. Called from the head of his regiment, by what appeared to me an imperative need of the service, to take charge of the superior duties of the quartermaster’s department with the advance at that critical juncture, he accepted the responsibilities involved, and was eminently efficient.

For further information touching officers and individuals of the First Brigade, and the details of the retrograde movement, I have to refer particularly to the report of Brigadier-General Bonham, herewith No. 66.

It is proper here to state that while from the outset it had been determined on the approach of the enemy in force to fall back and fight him on the line of Bull Run, yet the position occupied by General Ewell’s brigade, if necessary, could have been maintained against largely superior force. This was especially the case with the position of the Fifth Alabama Volunteers, Colonel Rodes, which that excellent officer had made capable of a resolute protracted defense against heavy odds. Accordingly, on the morning of the 17th ultimo, when the enemy appeared before that position, they were checked and held at bay with some confessed loss in a skirmish in advance of the works, in which Major Morgan and Captain Shelley, Fifth Regiment Alabama Volunteers, acted with intelligent gallantry, and the post was only abandoned under general, but specific, imperative orders, in conformity with a long-conceived established plan of action and battle.

Capt. E. P. Alexander, Confederate States Engineers, fortunately joined my headquarters in time to introduce the system of new field signals, which under his skillful management rendered me the most important service preceding and during the engagement.

The medical officers serving with the regiments engaged were at their proper posts and discharged their duties with satisfactory skill and zeal, and on one occasion at least, under an annoying fire, when Surgeon Cullen, First Regiment Virginia Volunteers, was obliged to remove our wounded from the hospital, which had become the special target of the enemy’s rifled guns, notwithstanding it was surmounted by the usual yellow hospital flag, but which, however, I hope for the sake of past associations was ignorantly mistaken for a Confederate flag. The name of each individual medical officer I cannot mention.

On the day of the engagement I was attended by my personal staff, Lieut. S. W. Ferguson, aide-de-camp and my volunteer aides-de-camp, Colonels Preston, Manning, Chesnut, Miles, Chisolm, and Hayward, of South Carolina, to all of whom I am greatly indebted for manifold essential services in the transmission of orders on the field and in the preliminary arrangements for the occupation and maintenance of the line of Bull Run.

Col. Thomas Jordan, assistant adjutant-general; Capt. C. H. Smith, assistant adjutant-general; Col. S. Jones, chief of artillery and ordnance;  Major Cabell, chief quartermaster; Capt. W. H. Fowle, chief of subsistence department; Surg. Thomas H. Williams, medical director, and Assistant Surgeon Brodie, medical purveyor, of the general staff, attached to the Army of the Potomac, were necessarily engaged severally with their responsible duties at my headquarters at Camp Pickens, which they discharged with an energy and intelligence for which I have to tender my sincere thanks.

Messrs. McLean, Wilcoxen, Kinchelo, and Brawner, citizens of this immediate vicinity, it is their due to say, have placed me and the country under great obligations for the information relative to this region, which has enabled me to avail myself of its defensive features and resources. They were found ever ready to give me their time without stint or reward.

Our casualties, in all sixty-eight killed and wounded, were fifteen (including two reported missing) killed, and fifty-three wounded, several of whom have since died. The loss of the enemy can only be conjectured. It was unquestionably heavy. In the cursory examination, which was made by details from Longstreet’s and Early’s brigades, on the 18th of July, of that part of the field immediately contested and near Blackburn’s Ford, some sixty-four corpses were found and buried. Some few wounded and at least twenty prisoners were also picked up, besides one hundred and seventy-five stand of arms, a large quantity of accouterments and blankets, and quite one hundred and fifty hats.

The effect of this day’s conflict was to satisfy the enemy he could not force a passage across Bull Run in the face of our troops, and led him into the flank movement of the 21st of July and the battle of Manassas, the details of which will be related in another paper.

Herewith I have the honor to transmit the reports of the several brigade commanders engaged and of the artillery; also a map of the field of battle.(*)

The rendition of this report, it is proper to say in conclusion, has been unavoidably delayed by the constantly engrossing administrative duties of the commander of an army corps composed wholly of volunteers, duties vitally essential to its well being and future efficiency, and which I could not set aside or postpone on any account.

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

G. T. BEAUREGARD,

General, Commanding

General S. COOPER,

Adjutant and Inspector General, C. S. Army

[Inclosure A.]

Special ORDERS, No. 100

HDQRS. ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

Manassas Junction, July 8, 1861

Paragraph IV, of Special Orders, No. 51, from these headquarters, dated June 20, 1861, is revoked, and if attacked by a superior force of the enemy, the three brigades of the Army of the Potomac, serving in Fairfax County, will retire in the following manner and order:

I. The First Brigade on Mitchell’s Ford, of Bull Run, by way of Centreville.

II. The whole of the Fifth Brigade on Bull Run stone bridge, and adjacent fords, making a stand, if practicable, at the suspension bridge across Cub Run.

III. The Second Brigade, except Colonel Rodes’ regiment, will fall back via the railway and adjacent roads on Union Mills Ford and the railroad bridge across Bull Run, burning the bridges on their way.

The Fifth Regiment Alabama Volunteers, Colonel Rodes, will retire by way of Braddock’s old road and the nearest side roads to McLean’s Ford, on Bull Run, or Union Mills Ford, as most practicable. These brigades, thus in position, will make a desperate stand at the several points hereinbefore designated on the line of Bull Run, and will be supported as follows:

I. The Third Brigade will move forward to McLean’s Ford.

II. The Fourth Brigade will repair to Blackburn’s Ford.

III. The Sixth Brigade will be advanced to Union Mills Ford.

IV. Major Walton’s battery will repair to McLean’s farm-house by the shortest practicable route, with which he shall at once make himself and his officers thoroughly acquainted. At said farm-house he will await further orders.

Should the enemy march to the attack of Mitchell’s Ford via Centreville the following movements will be made with celerity:

I. The Fourth Brigade will march from Blackburn’s Ford to attack him on the flank and center.

II. The Third Brigade will be thrown to the attack of his center and rear towards Centreville.

III. The Second and Sixth Brigades united will also push forward and attack him in the rear by way of Centreville, protecting their own right flanks and rear from the direction of Fairfax Station and Court-House.

IV. In the event of the defeat of the enemy, the troops at Mitchell’s Ford and stone bridge, especially the cavalry and artillery, will join in the pursuit, which will be conducted with vigor but unceasing prudence, and continued until he shall have been driven beyond the Potomac.

V. The garrison of Camp Pickens and all existing guards and pickets inside of the lines of Bull Run and the Occoquan River will remain in position until otherwise ordered.

VI. The chiefs of the several staff corps attached to these headquarters will take all necessary measures to secure an efficient service of their respective departments in the exigency.

By order of Brigadier General Beauregard:

THOMAS JORDAN,

Acting Assistant Adjutant General

[Indorsement]

The plan of attack prescribed within would have been executed with modifications affecting First and Fifth Brigades to meet the attack upon Blackburn’s Ford but for the expected coming of General Johnston’s command, which was known to be en route to join me on the 18th of July.

G. T. BEAUREGARD,

General, Commanding

(*) Map not found.





Capt. T. J. Goree’s Account of the Battle

27 01 2009

To Pleasant Williams Kittrell

Headquarters 4th Brigade, Centreville

August 2nd 1861

Dear Uncle Pleas,

I wrote hurriedly to Mother soon after the battle, knowing that she would be very solicitous and anxious to hear of my safety.

Having intended for some time to write to you, I take this opportunity to do so. You all at home no doubt think that I do not write often enough and I confess that I do not; but if you only knew how very difficult it has been here to procure writing material, you would very readily excuse me. Since, however, I have become a member of Genl Longstreet’s Staff I can no longer have such an excuse, and will consequently try to do better in the future.  You can have no idea how very anxious I am to hear from home, never having received one line from any of you since I have been here.  I console myself, however, with the thought that you have written but the letters have miscarried.

You have long since heard of the great “Battle of Manassas,” and the great victory achieved by our brave soldiers.  To you at a distance who do not know the full particulars, it does seem like a great victory, and so it was.  But to others (myself among the rest) it really does not seem so – we can not enjoy it so much for the simple reason that we know it was not complete.  There is no good reason why our army should not now be encamped on Arlington Heights or in Washington City as here around the battleground.  My descriptive powers are not very good, but still I will try to give you an account of the occurrences from the time we evacuated Fairfax Court House until the rout of the enemy.

Genl Bonham of SC – (a man whom I think is totally unfit for a military leader) had command at Farifax Court House.  It had always been the intention of Genl Beauregard to evacuate Fairfax on the approach of the enemy.  Early on the morning of the 17th ult. we heard the firing of our pickets, and very soon afterwards they came in.  Soon the enemy came in sight about 2 miles distant.  Their approach was from two sides, and when I saw them it almost seemed as if there were 500,000 of them.  It was then we commenced striking our tents and loading our wagons, which ought to have been done long before, as it was well known on the 16th that they had commenced their forward movement.  The consequence was that everything was done very hurriedly, and a considerable amount of property was left behind – consisting of provisions, forage, tents, some guns and ammunition.  By the time our wagons had left, the enemy was in about a mile of the town, moving down on it very slowly.  Gen.  Bonham all the time appeared very much flurried.  After moving his troops around and making some demonstrations as if for a fight, he ordered a retreat, which ought to have been done before the enemy was so close.  From the number of canteens, knapsacks, blankets, &c. which our men threw away on the road, our retreat no doubt appeared more like a rout than a retreat in good order.  By the time we had reached this place, a distance of eight miles, our men were almost broken down.  After resting here a few hours, the most of our troops were sent on back across Bull Run, Genl Bonham remaining with one regiment to make a demonstration here.  He did not do so, however, for about midnight on the 17th  we again commenced our retreat and took position on the other side of the Run.

The enemy came in early next morning and occupied this place.  By this time they were in fine spirits: they had come to the conclusion that they would have no fighting to do, and would march direct to Richmond.  They did not tarry long here, but Gen. Tyler with his division of 15,000 moved direct on towards Manassas, or rather Blackburn’s and Mitchell’s Ford on Bull Run.  Gen. Longstreet guarding the former and Bonham the latter.  Capt. Kemper with his battery had been sent in advance of our forces, and when the enemy made his appearance, the Captain turned loose his guns upon them with considerable effect.  After firing several times, he withdrew to his position across the Run.

In the meantime the enemy had opened his batteries upon Capt. Kemper and Genl Bonham, and everything seemed to indicate that he would attempt a crossing at Mitchells Ford on the direct road to Manassas.  But whilst his batteries were playing upon Bonham, Tyler moved seven regiments of infantry down against Longstreet at Blackburn’s Ford.  Genl Longstreet had in his brigade which extended up and down the river, the 1st, 11th, and 17th Va. Regiments.  The 7th Va. was held in reserve.  The attack was made against the points where the 17th was stationed, and 2 companies of the 1st – the whole not amounting to more than 1200 men.  While that of the enemy to at least 6000. Our troops had no embankments to fight behind, as has been represented, but fought from the bank of the creek or run.  The enemy were just above on a high bluff on the other side of the run.  Until it was necessary to use the bayonet,  the enemy had by far the advantage in position.  They made the attack with great vigor and confidence, and it was with great difficulty that our men were persuaded to stand.  Some of them started to fall back two or three times, but Genl Longstreet, in a perfect shower of balls, rode amongst them, with his cigar in his mouth, rallying them, encouraging, and inspiring confidence among them.  For several minutes there was one continuous roar of musketry.  Three times were the enemy repulsed, and three times did they come back to the attack; finally, Genl Longstreet gave the order for our boys to charge.  Only two companies, however, succeeded in crossing the run but these were sufficient to cause the Hessians to flee precipitately.  These two companies with their bayonets ran them out of the woods they were in, and made them go in every direction.  Then it was that the 7 pieces of our artillery in our rear opened upon them and did terrible execution.  Prisoners taken say that our artillery swept their ranks from one end to the other, besides disabling some  pieces of their artillery.  It was about 2 o’clock when our artillery opened upon their retreating forces.  Theirs at the same time opened upon us, and there was a constant fire from both sides until 4 P.M. when the enemy retreated to Centreville – 3 miles.  Our battery threw amongst them more than 300 shot and shell.  Our loss was 15 killed and about 50 wounded.  Theirs is estimated at from 500 to 2000 killed and wounded.  Some of the prisoners have told me that it was about 2000.  I know that they left many of their dead on the field, although they had 2 hours under cover of their guns to carry off the dead and wounded.

This fight of the 18th went a great way towards winning the victory of the 21st.  For it gave our troops confidence in themselves, and convinced the enemy that we would fight.  The disparity in numbers on the 18th was greater than on the 21st.  I have given a fuller account of this fight than I would otherwise have done, had I not seen in the papers the credit for it given to Genl Bonham, when his command did not fire a gun.  Genl Longstreet alone deserves all the credit.  Had he not rode amongst his troops and himself rallied them when they started to fall back, had he not exhibited the coolness and courage that he did, the result of the whole affair might have been very different.

At one time Genl L. was himself exposed to fire from both the enemy and our own troops.  He had ordered up his reserve, the 7th Va. Regt. (and fearing that they in their excitement might fire before he was ready for them) he placed himself immediately in front of them.  No sooner than they were in position and while the Genl was before them, they commenced firing and the Genl only saved himself  by throwing himself off his horse and lying flat on the ground.

The battle of the 21st I cannot describe so particularly as I was farther from it.  Before day on Sunday morning we were aroused by the rattling of the enemy’s artillery wagons.  By sunup they had placed three batteries in about 1 mile of Blackburn’s Ford – so as to play on that point – on Genl. Bonham who was just above at Mitchell’s Ford – and Genl Jones just below at McLane’s Ford.

Genls. Beauregard & Johnston were so certain from all the indications that the attack would again be made at Blackburn’s Ford (it also being the weakest point) that they had stationed nearly all the reserve force near that point.  The enemy opened their three batteries upon Genls. Bonham, Longstreet and Jones about sunrise and from that time until 4 o’clock they poured the shell and grape in upon us.

This demonstration against us turned out to be only a feint [two words illegible] real point of attack was to be made at another point.  About 6 O’clock A.M., Col. Frank Terry, who was also acting as Aide to Genl Longstreet, solicited and obtained permission from him to make a reconnaissance. Crossing the run, he ascended a high hill and climbing a tree had a full view.  He was the first to discover and gave the information that the enemy was making the attempt to turn our left flank.

When he made his report, Genl Beauregard immediately ordered the reserve up near the Stone Bridge across Bull Run, a distance of 4 or 5 miles.  It was never suspected that the enemy would cross the rear above Stone Bridge, and we were not prepared for it.  They, however, crossed more than a mile above without being seen, and attacked our left flank.

Then the battle commenced in earnest, from 9 o’clock A.M. until about 4 P.M. it continued.  The roar of the artillery for a few moments would be terrific – then it would be hushed and for several minutes we could hear one continuous volley of musketry.  During all of that time we below were in an agony of suspense.  But whilst all this was going on, and early in the day, Genl Longstreet solicited and obtained orders from Genl Beauregard to assume the offensive against the force which was keeping us in check.

The plan was, and the orders were, for Genl Ewell, who occupied the extreme right, to move forward to Centreville and attack their rear.  Genl Jones at the same time was to commence an attack on their right flank.  And when they opened the fight Genl Longstreet was to come forward and attack them in front.

In compliance with these orders, Genl Longstreet’s Brigade was moved across the run, placed in position and awaited for 2 hours for Genl Ewell to commence the attack.  All the time we were exposed to a heavy firing from the batteries on the hill (and I am sorry to say that a portion of the 5th North Carolina Regiment in our Brigade made a pretty fast retrograde movement, but the most of them soon rallied and returned.  2 captains, however, declared that they couldn’t stand it and left the field.)

The messenger who was to convey the order to Genl Ewell became frightened and did not carry it.  So the movement proposed was abandoned for the time.  In the evening, however, the order was again given us to make the movement, and this time all received it.  But while we were waiting for Ewell and Jones to attack, another order came, countermanding the former order.  Genl Longstreet refused to resume his former position without another positive order.  Soon it came from Johnston & Beauregard and stated, too, that a large column was moving down from the railroad, which they supposed was Patterson, and that we must not move, but hold ourselves in readiness to cover the retreat of our army.

The same order was given to Genl Jones; but before he received it, he had moved forward and commenced the attack with the 1st S. C. Regiment and 2 Mississippi Regiment.

The enemy poured a heavy fire into him of shell & grape, his troops became confused and the Mississippians retreated in considerable disorder.

The next  order received was that the enemy were completely routed and for Genl Bonham & Longstreet to start in pursuit, it having fortunately turned out that the column which Johnston feared feared was Patterson was the brigade of Genl Smith, who had stopped the cars above on the R. R. and marched over direct to the scene of action and who coming up attacked the enemy’s flank and commenced the rout.

Our boys, when they received the order to start in pusuit, made the welkin ring with their shouts.  I never saw a more jubilant set of troops.

The order was for Genl Bonham (who ranks Genl Longstreet) to take a road leading to the left across the country so as to attack the enemy on the road leading from Stone Bridge to Centreville and about half way between the two points, while Genl Longstreet was to march directly here and attack them.  But Genl Bonham instead of taking the crossroad, comes over into our road and orders us to go through the wood to the right which it was impossible for us to do.  So we had to fall in just behind his brigade.  To have seen Genl Bonham, with his sword drawn and colors, you would have thought he would hardly stop short of New York.

But he had not proceeded far before some scouts (Messrs. Terry & Lubbock whom Genl L. had sent ahead) came in sight of a battery which the enemy had turned to cover the retreat.  When they came in sight, it fired 2 rounds of grape at them without effect.

When Genl Bonham hear this firing he turned his Brigade and came back in quick time until he met Genl Longstreet.  About this time Messrs. Terry and Lubbock came back and reported to them what they saw.

Genl Bonham said “we must go back, that a glory victory might (not) be turned into a terrible disaster.”

Genl Longstreet and others insisted that we be permitted to proceed.  He told him that he would capture that battery without the loss of a man and that we would at Centreville cut off the rear of their army and follow straight into Washington City.  But it was of no avail.  He ordered us back, and we sullenly retraced our steps to our old position.

Genl Bonham could not realize that the enemy was so completely routed and disorganized, as they were, and he was fearful that they might rally in force and cut us to pieces.  But if you can possibly conceive of how great the rout was, how utterly demoralized the enemy were, you can readily perceive how easy it would have been for 5000 fresh men to [several words illegible] (with a full clear moon) and follow them to Arlington Heights or even into Washington.

I have seen intelligent gentlemen from Washington who said that at any time on Monday, the 22nd, one regiment could have taken Washington without difficulty.  Genl Longstreet, knowing from experience how utterly impossible it was to rally a demoralized army, was the more anxious to pursue.  Genl Bonham (being a civilian andpolitician) could not understand it.  For these reasons I think I am justified in saying the victory was not completed.  I heard the next day Genl Beauregard express his regrets to Genl Longstreet that he (Genl Longstreet) was so situated as not to have his own way about the pursuit.  I thought on our return that Genl Bonham could well be compared to the great French general who marched up the hill, and then marched down again.  It is against military law to complain of the conduct of our superior officers – but this is only to you at home, who I feel anxious should fully understand everything.

I wish Uncle Pleas that you could have ridden along the road (the morning after the battle) between Stone Bridge and Centreville.  The first thing that captured my attention when I came into the road was the quantity of muskets scattered on the roadsides.  Many were in the road and the wagons had run over and broken and bent them in nearly every shape.  The next thing were two dead yankees on the roadside.  Then at a creek where there was a bad crossing, were wagons in almost a perfect jam, some broken to pieces, some overset, and some fastened against others.  The most of them loaded, some with bridge timbers, others with ammunition, one with handcuffs, andothers still with a variety of things.  Then came cannon abandoned, some because a horse had been killed, some because wheels were broken, and other because they were too heavy to proceed fast with.  Every few hundred yards along the road a cannon was left.  And all along were dead men – dead horses – muskets, canteens, knapsacks, blankets &c &c.  There were also a fine lot of hospital stores – surgical instruments – also ambulances of the best description.

The Yankees say the Southerners do not fight like men – but devils.  We were several times very nearly whipped, and nothing but the bulldog pertinacity of our men saved us.  Several times some of our regiments, and even companies, were disorganized and scattered; but they would fall in with other regiments and companies and fight on.

Some of the enemy’s batteries were taken and retaken several times during the day.  You could easily tell where a fight had occurred over a battery from the great number of dead men and horses.  There is one place on the field where in an area of 8 or 10 acres there are more than 100 dead horses and I suppose at least double the number of men.  The enemy must have fought well.  Ellsworth’s Zouaves were nearly all killed and wounded.  On our side the Hampton Legion suffered severely, also Gen. Bartow’s Brigade [and] also a Louisiana Regiment.  But none suffered worse than the 4th Alabama.  It and a Louisiana Regiment for nearly one hour bore the whole brunt of the battle with the enemy firing on them from three sides.  The loss of the 4th Alabama was about 200 in killed & wounded.  The proportion, though, of killed was small.  They went onto battle with 600 men.

Judge Porter King’s Company lost 15 killed & wounded.  I am happy to state that Cousin David Scott behaved very gallantly and passed through without a scratch.  No one from Perry [County] that I knew was killed.  I saw Dave for a few moments yesterday, the first time I knew certainly he was here.  I never could until yesterday find the 4th Alabama, although I had diligently hunted for it.

Dave does not look very well.  He has just gotten well of the measles.  I did not see Capt. King as he had gone off.  Sel Evans is a lieutenant in the company.  He is a good looking young man.  I shall go over and spend a day with them soon.  They belong to Johnston’s army and I to Beauregard’s.  Our field officers all acted very gallantly.  Genl Beauregard was in the very thickest of the fight, and at one time led the Hampton Legion for 15 minutes.  Genl Johnston also seized a flag and marched at the head of a brigade.

Several amusing incidents are related of the fight and rout.  An Episcopal  minister had charge of one of our batteries.  Whenever he got ready to fire, he would exclaim, “Oh, Lord, have mercy on their Souls, for I will have none on their bodies.”  It is told of another preacher that he came in close quarters with a Yankee and that drawing his sword he nearly severed the Yankee’s head from his body.  Then, flourishing his sword in the air, he exclaimed, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!  On, boys, on!”  On the 21st the Chaplain of the 5th N. C. Regt. – who is a Scotch Presbyterian – acted as Major of the Reg. (the Maj. being sick.)  He rallied that portion of the Regiment which ran – In speaking of it afterwards he very penitently remarked to me that “‘he hoped the Lord would forgive him, but he had to swear once or twice at the boys to make them come back.”  There was a boy about 16 in the battle, who received 3 slight wounds and had besides 2 other bullet holes through his clothes.

Many senators, congressmen & ladies were at this place to see the fight.  Senator Foster of Connecticut is said to have gone from here to Fairfax C. H. on foot and bareheaded.  Congressmen outran the soldiers.  Lovejoy had hired a man with a 3-minute horse to drive him here.  On the return, the man said he went back at full speed but every once and awhile Lovejoy would ask him why in the name of God didn’t he drive faster.

We had actually engaged int the fight about 20,000 men – The enemy had about 50,000.  They selected their own ground, and had every advantage in position.  We had no embankments or fortifications and not one masked battery.  It was a fair field fight.

We had all told at that time 40 or 45,000 men.  The enemy first made their advance with 55,000 men, but after the repulse of the 18th, they reinforced themselves with 15,000 men.   Their total number was 70,000.  Our loss in killed and wounded is not 2000.   Theirs in killed, wounded, & missing according to the N.Y. Herald is 20,000, but I suppose 10,000 will probably cover it.  We have a great many prisoners, many of their wounded.  They did not pretend to send back to bury their dead.  We had two of their surgeons here who we released on parole to attend their wounded – but they not only broke their parole, but left their wounded who are all anxious that they be caught & hung.

We have a very large force here now, say 50,000.  What the next movement will be I cannot tell, but my opinion is that as soon as we can get transportation an advance will be made on Washington – Everything tends that way now.  But I must close for you are no doubt tired, and so am I.

This letter is long enough for you all, and is so intended.  All must answer it – My love to Grandma, Mother & all.

Your Nephew Affly.,

Thoms. J. Goree

I saw Hnl. Jacob Thompson yesterday and he sends his kindest regard to Grandma, Mother & Yourself.

Direct your letters to Capt. Thos. J. Goree

On Genl Longstreet’s Staff 4th Brigade

Manassas Junction Va.

[Cutrer, Whomas W., editor, Longstreet's Aide: The Civil War Letters of Major Thomas J. Goree, pp. 24-32]





Capt. T. J. Goree on the Eve of the Battle

23 01 2009

To Sarah Williams Kittrell Goree

Bull Run – Near Manassas

July 20th 1861

My Dear Mother,

When I last wrote you it was from Fairfax C. H.  I then intended to have written you again before this, but have not had the opportunity to do so, as I have been in very active service since that time – Have been in one skirmish and one battle.  On the morning of the 17th inst. the enemy appeared in great force at Fairfax.  The[y] probably numbered over 40,000.  We had only 6 or 7000 there, and we thought that discretion was the better part of valor.  So we retreated in rather hot haste to a stronger position.  We left without firing a gun except 2 that a gentleman and myself who brought up the rear fired at a distance, with what effect I do not know.  We placed ourselves in very strong position on a large creek called Bull Run, and will have today about 35 or 40,000 me ready for the fray.  We got our position here on the night of the 17th.  Our lines and fortifications extend 5 or 6 miles up and down the river [with] different Genl’s in command at different points: Genl Beauregard in general command until Genl Joe Johnston reaches here, which he probably did last night.  The Brig. Genls. are Cocke, Bonham, Longstreet, Jones, Jackson, Ewell.

On the 18th a large body of the enemy made an attack, principally against Genl Longstreet’s command.  And he repulsed them most gloriously.  We had about 15 men killed and 50 or 60 wounded.  The loss of the enemy from all accounts was very large.  They have removed many of their dead.  I was sent out yesterday by Genl Longstreet with a Company of Cavalry to make a reconnaissance, and found on the battlefield 12 of the enemy’s dead, and the whole country for some distance was covered with canteens, blankets and haversacks.  I forgot first to say that Genl Longstreet has appointed me one of his aides and that I now rank as Captain.

Yesterday the enemy made some demonstrations, but no attack.  We are expecting a big battle today, probably 35 or 40,000 men on each side.  If we repulse them we will follow them, and try at once to take Washington City.  If we do fight today, it will be one of the greatest battles on record.  In the fight day before yesterday I was acting on Genl Bonham’s Staff.  We had several rifle cannon balls to fall in a few yards of us.  Times felt quite squally for a while.  Cols. Terry & Lubbock have gone back.  [One line illegible.]

Dr. Woodson is very sick and has gone to his uncle’s beyond Richmond.  I am about the only Texan here.  I have an excellent position and am well pleased.  Genl Longstreet has me in his mess and is very kind.  He is considered one of the best genls. in the army.  I have been introduced to Genl Beauregard and most of the other genls.  Beauregard is truly a great general.

I would not be surprised if David Scott is not here.  He belongs to Genl Johnston’s division of the army, the greater part of which was expected here last night.  I have met up with young Thos. Moorman a grandson of Aunt Lucy Kenner.  He is a very nice young man, about 19 or 20.  I have also seen Col. Simms, who owns old Uncle Bart.  He says Bart is well and on the plantation in Arkansas.  I would like to write more, but cannot now.  Our headquarters are in the open air in a pine thicket.  I write on my saddlebags, my seat on the ground, the Genl and balance of the Staff on the ground around.

I am very tired.  Have been on my horse almost all the time since the commencement of the retreat from Fairfax.

Have not had a chance to wash my face for more than three days.  You will probably have heard of the big fight before this reaches you.  I may not survive it, but if I am killed, it will be in a glorious cause.  I hope, though that I may survive it.  Almost feel confident of it.

Do not feel uneasy.  I will write you again soon.

Write me and direct to Manassas Junction, “Care of Brig. Genl Longstreet, 4th Brigade.”  Get Uncle Pleas to direct it.  I have not heard a word since I left, and you must know my anxiety to hear from you.  Write often.

If the fight takes place today, we will not be in the first of it, as our brigade is held in reserve.  The two armies, I think, are in about 2 miles of each other.  We think the attack will probably be made against Genl Cocke, who has command of the bridge.

I must close.  My very best love to all.

Your Son Aff’ly

Thos. J. Goree

P.S. During the fight a cannon ball passed through and knocked over Genl Beauregard’s dinner.

[Cutrer, Whomas W., editor, Longstreet's Aide: The Civil War Letters of Major Thomas J. Goree, pp. 22-23]





Davies’ Reports

22 10 2008

A couple of interesting things in Davies’ reports (or is that Davies’s reports?  I can’t decide): as you can see at the end of the first report, Davies was led by some captured Confederates to believe that the troops he faced at Blackburn’s Ford were under the command of Robert E. Lee.  In case you didn’t know, they weren’t.  Davies squared off against Longstreet, mostly, though Bonham and D. R. Jones were also in the area.

In the second report, Davies requested a court of inquiry over the perceived slight to his command by McDowell in his report.  I wasn’t aware of this, and have to look into this more.

I have thus far refrained from posting reports pertaining to the fight at Blackburn’s Ford on July 18th.  I’ll post them once I get all the Bull Run reports up.

Photo from www.generalsandbrevets.com





Cocke’s Report

24 09 2008

Take some time to read the report of Col. Philip St. George Cocke.  This report is easy to miss because it’s not included in Volume 2 of the ORs, where the bulk of the Bull Run reports are grouped – instead it’s in a supplemental volume, #51, Part 1.  It is a very thorough report and well worth reading.  I’ve yet to get around to writing Cocke’s biographical sketch, but keep in mind a couple things.  He was the original commander of the line of Bull Run, until he was replaced with Milledge Luke Bonham, who was then replaced with P. G. T. Beauregard – lots of conflict over state militia ranks and Provisional Army of the Confederate States (PACS) ranks, with Cocke coming out on the short end.  Cocke would be dead by his own hand before the end of the year.  Also, Cocke should not be confused with Philip St. George Cooke, a fellow Virginian and West Point graduate who remained loyal to his country, headed up the cavalry of the Army of the Potomac, and is probably best remembered as the father-in-law of J. E. B. Stuart. 





Order of Battle – CSA Cavalry

19 08 2008

CONFEDERATE CAVALRY AT FIRST MANASSAS +

1st Regiment Virginia Cavalry:  Col. J.E.B. Stuart

  • Co. A, Newtown Light Dragoons:  Capt: J.H. Drake
  • Co. B, Berkeley Troop:  Capt. J.B. Hoge  (Attacked 11th NY)
  • Co. C, Rockbridge Dragoons:  Capt. M.H. White
    • Pvt William Z. Mead (PC)
  • Co. D, Clarke Cavalry:  Lt. William Taylor
  • Co. E, Valley Rangers:  Capt. Wm. Patrick
  • Co. F, Shepherdstown Troop:  Capt. J.Reinhart
  • Co. G, Amelia Light Dragoons:  Capt. C.R. Irving
  • Co. H, Loudoun Light Horse:  Capt. R.W. Carter  (Attacked 11th NY)
  • Co. I, Harrisonburg Cavalry:  Capt. T.L. Yancey
  • Co. K, River Rangers:  Capt. E.S. Yancey
  • Co. L, Washington Mounted Rifles:  Capt. Wm. E. Jones  (Pvt. J.S.Mosby)
  • Co. M, Howard Dragoons:  Capt. G.R. Gaither

(Note:  Only Companies A, B, C, D, H, L, & M were present at First Manassas.)

HQs Escort, Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard

  • Little Fork Rangers:  Capt. R.E. Utterback
  • Powhatan Troop:  Capt. J.F. Lay

Ewell’s Brigade

  • Lt.Col. Walter H. Jenifer’s Battalion
    • Governor’s Mounted Guard:  Capt. J.G. Cabell
    • Goochland Light Dragoons:  Capt. J. Harrison
    • Rappahannock Cavalry:  Capt. J.S. Green

D.R. Jones’ Brigade

  • Appomattox Rangers*:  Capt. J.W. Flood

Longstreet’s Brigade

  • Amherst Mounted Rangers*:  Capt. Edgar Whitehead

Bonham’s Brigade

  • Col. Radford’s Squadron, 30th Va. Cavalry:
    • Radford Rangers*:  Capt. W. Radford
    • Botetourt Dragoons*:  Capt. A.L. Pitzer (Lt. Breckinridge)
    • Hanover Light Dragoons*:  Capt. Wm. C. Wickham
    • Fairfax Cavalry*:  Capt. E.B. Powell
  • Lt. Col. Munford’s Squadron, 30th Va. Cavalry
    • Black Horse Troop*:  Capt. Wm. H. Payne
    • Chesterfield Light Dragoons*:  Capt. Wm. B. Ball
    • Franklin Rangers*:  Capt. G.W.H. Hale

Cocke’s Brigade

  • Wise Troop*:  Capt. J.S. Langhorne
    • Lt. Charles Minor Blackford (PC, M)

Evans’ Brigade

  • Clay Dragoons*:  Capt. Wm. Terry
  • Campbell Rangers*:  Capt. J.D. Alexander

Holmes’s Brigade

  • Albemarle Light Horse: Capt. Eugene Davis/Major John Scott (joined pursuit)

Unattached Independent Companies

  • Prince William Cavalry:  Capt. Wm.W. Thornton  (at Mitchell’s Ford)
  • Madison Cavalry:  Capt. Wm Thomas  (No documentation)
  • Loudoun Cavalry:  Capt. Wm. W. Mead  (joined in pursuit)

*  Attached to the 30th Va. Cavalry, Col. R.C.W. Radford cmdg.

+ This Order of Battle compiled by and provided courtesy of Ranger Jim Burgess, Manassas National Battlefield Park





#100 – Brig. Gen. James Longstreet

26 03 2008

 

Report of Brig. Gen. James Longstreet, C. S. Army, Commanding Fourth Brigade, First Corps

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp 543-544

HEADQUARTERS FOURTH BRIGADE, July 28, 1861

In obedience to the general’s orders of the 20th to assume the offensive, my command was moved across Bull Run at an early hour on the 21st. I found my troops much exposed to the fire of the enemy’s artillery, my front being particularly exposed to a double cross-fire as well as a direct one. Garland’s regiment, Eleventh Virginia, was placed in position to carry by assault the battery immediately in my front. McRae’s regiment, Fifth North Carolina, under Lieutenant-Colonel Jones, the colonel being sick, was posted in front of the battery on my right, and with same purpose in regard to this battery. Strong bodies of skirmishers were thrown out in front of each column, with orders to lead in the assault, and at the same time to keep up a sharp fire, so as to confuse as much as possible the fire of the enemy, and thereby protect the columns, which were not to fire again before the batteries were ours. The columns were to be supported, the first by the First Virginia Regiment, under Major Skinner, the second by the Seventeenth Virginia Regiment, under Colonel Corse. The Twenty-fourth Virginia Regiment, trader Colonel Hairston, was the reserve in column of division in mass, convenient to the support of either column. Arrangements being complete, the troops were ordered to lie down and cover themselves from the artillery fire as much as possible.

About an hour after my position was taken it was discovered by a reconnaissance made by Colonels Terry and Lubbock that the enemy was moving in heavy columns towards our left, the position that the general had always supposed he would take. This information was at once sent to headquarters, and I soon received orders to fall back upon my original position, the right bank of the run. Colonels Terry and Lubbock then volunteered to make a reconnaissance of the position of the enemy’s batteries. They made a very gallant and complete one, and a hasty sketch of his entire left. This information was forwarded to the commanding general, with the suggestion that the batteries be taken.

The general’s orders were promptly issued to that effect, and I again moved across the run, but some of the troops ordered to co-operate failed to get their orders. After awaiting the movement some time, I received a peculiar order to hold my position only. In a few minutes, however, the enemy were reported routed, and I was again ordered forward. The troops were again moved across the run and advanced towards Centreville, the Fifth North Carolina Regiment being left to hold the ford. Advancing to the attack of the routed column I had the First, Eleventh, Seventeenth, and Twenty-fourth Virginia Regiments, Garnett’s section of the Washington Artillery, and Whitehead’s troop of cavalry. The artillery and cavalry were at once put in pursuit, followed as rapidly as possible by the infantry.

General Bonham, who was pursuing on our left, finding it difficult to advance through the fields, &c., moved his command to the road, put it in advance of mine, and the march towards Centreville was continued about a mile farther. Night coming on, the general deemed it advisable to halt. After lying in this position about an hour the general directed that the troops should be marched back to Bull Run for water.

Early next day I sent Colonel Terry forward, under the protection of Captain Whitehead’s troop, to pick up stragglers, ordnance, ordnance stores, and other property that had been abandoned by the enemy. I have been too much occupied to get the names or the number of prisoners. As I had no means of taking care of them I at once sent them to headquarters.  Colonel Terry captured the Federal flag said to have been made, in anticipation of victory, to be hoisted over our position at Manassas. He also shot from the cupola of the court-house at Fairfax the Federal flag left there. These were also duly forwarded to the commanding general.

About noon of the 22d Colonel Garland was ordered with his regiment to the late battle-ground to collect and preserve the property, &c., that had been abandoned in that direction. Colonel Garland’s report and inventory of other property and stores brought in to headquarters and listed by Captain Sorrel, of my staff, and the regimental reports of killed and wounded are herewith inclosed.(*)

My command, although not actively engaged against the enemy, was under the fire of his artillery for nine hours during the day. The officers and men exhibited great coolness and patience during the time.

To our kind and efficient medical officers, Surgeons Cullen, Thornhill, and Lewis, Assistant Surgeons Maury, Chalmers, and Snowden, we owe many thanks. Lieut. F. S. Armistead, acting assistant adjutant-general, and Lieut. P. T. Manning were very active and zealous.

Volunteer Staff.–Colonel Riddick, assistant adjutant-general, North Carolina, was of great assistance in conveying orders, assisting in the distribution of troops, and infusing proper spirit among them. Cols. B. F. Terry and T. Lubbock were very active and energetic. When unoccupied, they repeatedly volunteered their services to make reconnaissances. They were very gallantly seconded by Capts. T. Goree and Chichester, who were also very useful in conveying orders. Capts. T. Walton and C. M. Thompson were very active and prompt in the discharge of their duties. Captain Sorrel joined me as a volunteer aide in the midst of the fight. He came into the battle as gaily as a beau, and seemed to receive orders which threw him into more exposed positions with peculiar delight.

I remain, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

JAMES LONGSTREET,

Brigadier-General

(*) Not Found, but see pp. 570, 571








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