#29 – Bvt. Maj. Henry J. Hunt

13 04 2008

Report of Bvt. Maj. Henry J. Hunt, Second  U. S. Artillery

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp. 377-381

LIGHT BATTERY M, SECOND ARTILLERY,

Camp near Fort Albany, July 25, 1861

SIR: I have the honor to submit a report of the operations of my battery on the 21st instant.

The company arrived at New York on the 12th instant from Fort Pickens, Fla., with its battery, but without horses. A large portion of the men were recruits, and no opportunity for instruction as field artillery had been afforded them. The company reached Washington by rail on Sunday, 14th, and on Wednesday evening the battery, which came by sea, was received at the arsenal. Necessary repairs and refitting were at once commenced, ammunition and other stores drawn and packed, horses procured, and on Friday, the 19th, we marched from Capitol Hill to Colonel Richardson’s position in front of the enemy’s works at Blackburn’s Ford, a distance of twenty-eight miles. Saturday was devoted to instructing the recruits, shoeing horses, &c., and on that evening Lieutenant Platt’s section was detached to join the advanced guard. On Saturday night Lieutenant Edwards, Third Artillery, reported to me with a section of two heavy rifled guns. On Sunday morning, the 21st, Lieutenant Thompson’s section was placed in position on the right of the main road, overlooking the ford, and commanding the road by which the enemy’s advance was expected. A few shells were, by direction of Colonel Richardson, dropped into the woods and amongst the buildings which were supposed to contain the enemy, but no answer was returned, and the firing ceased. Soon after this an infantry column was seen pushing into the wood skirting Bull Run. Lieutenant Thompson moved forward a piece, and after a few rounds they disappeared.

At about 10 a.m. Colonel Miles ordered both sections of my battery to the extreme left, occupied by Davies’ brigade. Edwards’ section had been sent early in the morning to that position, from which he had opened his fire upon the woods and houses in front. I transmit herewith his report of the operations of his section, in which he describes the nature of the ground.

The firing was continued at intervals by the whole battery “as a demonstration,” but produced little or no effect, as there was no definite object, except when the enemy’s moving columns came from time to time within our range. We were supported by two infantry battalions, drawn up in line behind the battery. On inquiry, made immediately after my arrival on the ground, I was informed that a brigade of infantry was posted in the wood to our left and rear, commanding a deep and wide ravine on our left flank, and watching the road beyond it, which leads from below the ford to Centreville; and as we had skirmishers pushed forward into the ravine, I felt no apprehension of danger from that quarter, but still requested, as a precaution, that the battalion on the left should be formed on the brink of the ravine and in column, so that it might be readily deployed to front in any direction. No attention was paid to this request, and the regiment remained in line.

About 4.30 or 5 p.m., after the battle was apparently gained on the right, and whilst large re-enforcements of infantry and cavalry were observed hurrying up from the direction of Manassas, a strong force of infantry and some cavalry, variously estimated at from 2,500 to 5,000 men in all, appeared on our left, approaching parallel to our front by the lateral openings into the great ravine on our flank. The infantry only was first seen, and as they approached without any apparent attempt at concealment, preceded by our skirmishers, they were supposed to be our own troops. As the number increased, I rode down the ravine with my first sergeant to reconnoiter them. Some of our skirmishers stated that they had seen no troops; others said they were the Thirty-first [?] New Yorkers coming in. They carried no colors, and their numbers increasing to an alarming extent, I hurried back and changed the front of the battery, so as to command all the openings into the ravine and the approaches to our position. Colonel Davies at the same time detached a couple of companies into the ravine as skirmishers. The latter had scarcely deployed, when a sharp rattle of musketry removed all doubts as to the character of the advancing troops. We had been surprised, and the enemy was close upon us in large force. Our infantry regiments had changed front with the battery, but unfortunately closed their intervals behind it. Precious time was now lost in getting them on our flanks. Had they remained in our rear they would have been unnecessarily exposed to the fire directed on the battery, and in case of a determined charge for our capture, which I confidently expected, they would have been apt to fire through us, destroying men and horses and crippling the guns. At length they were moved to the right and left, and ordered to lie down and await the approach of the enemy, who by this time were closing up in apparently overwhelming numbers. I now directed the gunners to prepare shrapnel and canister shot, and in case the enemy persisted in his advance not to lose time in sponging the pieces–for minutes were now of more value than arms–but to aim low, and pour in a rapid fire wherever the men were thickest or were seen advancing.

The enemy having by this time completed his preparations and driven in our skirmishers, now rushed forward and opened a heavy musketry fire on the battery, but from the shortness of range, or from aiming upwards as they ascended the ravine, their shot mostly passed over us. The command was then given to the battery to commence firing. Under the directions of Lieutenants Platt and Thompson, Second Artillery, and Edwards, Third Artillery, commanding sections, the most rapid, well-sustained, and destructive fire I have ever witnessed was now opened. The men took full advantage of the permission to omit sponging, yet no accident occurred from it. The guns were all of large caliber (two 20-pounder Parrott rifle guns and four light 12-pounders), and they swept the field with a perfect storm of canister. No troops could stand it, and the enemy broke and fled in every direction, taking refuge in the woods and ravines; and in less than fifteen minutes not a living man could be seen on the ground which so recently had swarmed with them. The infantry regiments had not found it necessary to fire a single shot.

Believing now there was no support on our left (original rear), I executed a flank movement, so as to bring the left of the battery close to the wood and in front of the lateral road by which it had reached the ground. This movement threw the regiment on our left into the wood, and thus secured its possession. The fire was now reopened, the rifled guns throwing shell and the others round shot, so as to sweep the woods and search the ravines into which the enemy had been driven. In a few minutes orders were given to retreat, and I sent an officer to Colonel Davies to inquire if such were his directions; that the enemy were defeated, and that they would be unable to reform. The answer returned was “to retire at once on Centreville.” The pieces were limbered up, and, Lieutenant Edwards’ guns leading, moved off.

Scarcely was the column fairly in the road when a scattering fire was opened on the rear, doubtless by those who, having taken refuge in the woods, observed the withdrawal of our troops. The cry to the battery to “trot” was now clamorously raised from the rear, and confusion was fast spreading, when I directed a deliberate walk should be maintained, and pushed forward myself to the place where the ambulances and wagons were standing in the main road. The teamsters had taken the alarm from the rapid firing and the cries, and a panic was rapidly growing, when my assurance of our having beaten the enemy, and that there was no necessity for hurry, together with the appearance of the head of the battery emerging at a walk from the wood, reassured them and calmed the excitement.

The whole column now retired in good order, and was formed, together with all the disposable field artillery, in front of Centreville, under the immediate direction of General McDowell in person, and in so imposing an attitude as to deter the enemy from any advance in that direction, and to hold him completely in check.

During the night the troops were put in motion for their former camps on the Potomac. Barry’s battery, under Lieutenant Tidball, and my own were the last we could perceive on the ground. Just as I was leaving I received a message from Colonel Richardson, stating that his brigade was drawn up in column on the road, and that he wished me to pass him with the battery, but to remain near him, and that we would constitute the rear guard. This was accordingly done, but a mass of stragglers collected around the guns, and could not be prevailed upon to pass them or move without them. I was thus constrained to move forward until some 2,000 or 3,000 men interposed between us, when I received a message from Colonel Richardson, stating that a force of the enemy’s cavalry and horse artillery was in our rear and threatening an attack. I now drew up at the side of the road–to turn back in such a crowd was impossible—and only by representing that the rear was about being attacked could I urge them forward. On Colonel Richardson’s coming up, he stated that the demonstration of the enemy was very feeble, and we saw them no more. It is but just to say that the disorder and mob-like mixture of the volunteers did not appear to proceed from fear, but from sheer fatigue. They were footsore, lame, hungry, and tired, but seemed to be in good heart, and on my representing that it was important that a certain position in our advance should be occupied, some of Blenker’s German and of Montgomery’s New Jersey regiments formed in good order and took the position indicated. Had we been attacked by any force, I have little doubt that a stout resistance would have been made.

The officers of the battery (Lieuts. E. R. Platt and James Thompson, Second Artillery, commanding sections) performed all the duties devolving upon them with promptness, skill, and gallantry. Their labors in bringing the battery into good condition had been untiring, and to the thoroughness of the instruction they had imparted to their sections before they were dismounted in Texas is mainly attributable the efficiency with which the pieces were served on the field and the successful result of the action.

First Lieut. Presley O. Craig, Second Artillery, on sick leave on account of a badly-sprained foot, which prevented his marching with his own company, having heard of the sickness of my second lieutenant, volunteered for the performance of the duties, and joined the battery the day before it left Washington. He was constantly and actively employed during the night preceding and on the day of the battle, and his services were very valuable. When the enemy appeared he exerted himself in perfecting the preparations to receive him, and conducted himself with the greatest gallantry when the onset was made. He fell early in the action, whilst in the active discharge of his duty, receiving a shot in the forehead, and dying in a few minutes afterwards. This was the only casualty in the battery.

Cadet John R. Meigs, of the U.S. Military Academy, being in Washington on furlough, also volunteered his services, and was employed actively from the time he joined at Washington until the close of the battle. On the death of Lieutenant Craig, Cadet Meigs performed his duties until the close of the action with spirit and intelligence, and was very useful, after the affair was over, in conveying orders, observing the enemy, and rallying our troops.

Lieutenant Edwards commanded his section with skill and efficiency, and I can indorse the favorable report he makes of his lieutenants, Benjamin and Babbitt, and of the conduct of his men.

The behavior of the men of my battery was all that could be desired. They were cool, collected, prompt, and obedient, and not an instance of misconduct or neglect occurred during the action in the whole battery.

The first sergeant, Terrence Reily, was very efficient, as were also the chiefs of pieces–Sergeants Smith, Pfeffer, Flood, and Relinger.

A detachment of twenty recruits, under Lieutenant Brisbin, had been dispatched from Carlisle Barracks to fill up my company. Lieutenant Brisbin did not reach Washington until after we had left, but he followed us up, and sought us on the field. He did not succeed in finding the battery, but employed his men usefully in endeavoring to stop the retreat of our forces and in resisting the pursuit of the enemy. In the performance of these duties he was twice wounded. He speaks favorably of the services of Sergeants Bowman and Rogers, of his detachment.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

HENRY J. HUNT,

Bvt. Maj. and Capt., Second Artillery, Comdg.

Lt. Co. M. Capt. J. B. FRY,

Assistant Adjutant-General





#24 – Lieut. William D. Fuller

6 03 2008

 

Report of Lieut. William D. Fuller, Third U.S. Artillery

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp 366-368

FORT CORCORAN, VA., July 24, 1861

SIR: In obedience to your order, I beg leave to make the following report of the battle of Bull Run:

Leaving our camp near Centreville about 2.30 a.m. Sunday, the battery marched in rear of General Schenck’s brigade, immediately preceded by a 30-pounder rifled gun of Parrott’s make. The brigade, feeling its way, with skirmishers and flankers thrown out, arrived about 6 a.m. within two miles of Bull Run, across which the enemy were understood to be in position. At this point the road descends rapidly for three-quarters of a mile towards Bull Run. The 30-pounder rifled gun was placed in position in the road three-fourths of the way from the top to the foot of the hill, and fired twice at the supposed position of the enemy, without any effect of importance. Our battery having gone to the foot of the hill, almost down to the run, was countermarched, and formed into park on the top of the hill, behind and under cover of the woods.

Soon after, the battery was ordered and proceeded at once down the road, turned to the right near the foot of the hill, and came in battery in the edge of the wood. A party of the enemy having been observed to enter an abatis near the bridge, and just across Bull Run, Lieutenant Wilson fired two percussion shells from his rifled section, the first of which struck and burst in the abatis, scattering the enemy from it in all directions. More shots were fired from the 30-pounder rifled gun, and it was afterwards brought from the road and placed immediately on our right. The movements of the enemy were now and during the whole day studiously concealed under cover of woods or undulations of the ground.

At about 8.30 the column of Colonel Hunter was seen approaching across Bull Run and on our right. A movement of the troops of our division now began towards the right, and with the intention of crossing Bull Run. One of these regiments attempted to cut diagonally over the open field in front of our battery. When half way across, a light battery of six guns of the enemy galloped down, came in battery just across the run, and opened a rapid and unexpected fire of canister on this regiment which was marching by the right flank, and scattered it in confusion.

Captain Carlisle at once ordered the battery to open a fire of spherical case and shell on the enemy’s pieces, which at once ceased firing at our volunteer regiment, and began a rapid fire of shell and solid shot on us. After fifteen minutes of rapid firing on our part the fire of the enemy’s battery slackened. We then fired solid shot, and ended with a round of canister, the enemy having ceased firing, and retreated with heavy loss in men and horses, as we afterwards learned. My section consisted of a 6-pounder smooth-bore gun and a 12-pounder howitzer. But for the hot fire from our battery, under the direction of Captain Carlisle, the regiment which was within canister range of the enemy’s battery must have been cut to pieces. The timely diversion caused by the fire of our battery only saved them. A deliberate fire from the 30-pounder rifled gun was kept up with short intervals during the day, and evidently annoyed the enemy, who fired several rifled percussion shells at this piece with great precision.

Late in the afternoon the battery was directed to leave its position and go down near the bridge over Bull Run. While down there, Lieutenant Wilson, with his rifled section, and Lieutenant Lyford, with his section, were ordered out to take a position in front nearer the run, and both of these officers were under a heavy fire of shot and shell from batteries they could not reach with their guns. During their absence, being in command of the center section, by order of Captain Carlisle, I fired several rounds of spherical case and canister into the woods occupied by the enemy’s troops. On the return of the other sections, the battery was drawn just back of the brow of a small hill, to be covered from a fire of Hotchkiss and Parrott shell thrown from masked batteries in position. A Parrott shell which had not exploded fell near me, and on examination proved to be of excellent make, and must, from peculiarities in its construction, have been made by machinery similar to that of Captain Parrott, at the Cold Spring Foundry at West Point. A number of volunteers were killed by these projectiles in my vicinity.

Our battery was finally ordered up the hill a short distance to the rear, to place it and the troops under cover. Accurate information of our movements must have reached the enemy, as they changed the direction of their fire at once, and threw rifled projectiles all around us. After waiting in this road the battery was ordered up the hill, and directed to find a safe position just beyond it. Proceeding up the road in column of pieces, we were unexpectedly charged by cavalry, and from the position we could not come into action. Our cannoneers and drivers were shot or sabered. While moving at a gallop our wheels came off of each piece in my section. Our efforts to repair this damage were unavailing, and amidst a shower of pistol bullets we dragged our pieces until the traces broke. The men and non-commissioned officers behaved with gallantry. I halted at Centreville and attempted to join my brigade, but unsuccessfully. Learning that the regiments of the brigade were marching to Fairfax Court-House, I followed them with as many men and non-commissioned officers of my company as I could collect. An order being issued after this for the troops to retire to Washington, I proceeded with a sergeant, four enlisted men, and five horses to Fort Corcoran, where the baggage of the company was stored, and arrived there about 8 o’clock Monday morning.

Very respectfully,

WILLIAM D. FULLER,

Brevet Second Lieutenant, Third Artillery

Capt. J. HOWARD CARLISLE,

Commanding Company E, Second Artillery





#23 – Lieut. Edward B. Hill

6 03 2008

 

Report of Lieut. Edward B. Hill, First U.S. Artillery

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp 365-366

JULY 26, 1861

SIR: I have the honor to report that on Sunday, the 21st day of July, at 2.30 a.m., we left our camp at Centreville to proceed to Bull Run. At 5 o’clock we opened the action by firing the heavy rifled gun attached to our battery, eliciting no response. We then moved forward to the foot of the hill, and took a position in the woods on the right. A battery of the enemy presenting itself opposite us, doing much injury to one of our regiments, we opened upon it, and after an hour’s sharp firing completely destroyed it. We then used the heavy rifled gun with great advantage. In the afternoon we took a position on the left with Captain Ayres’ battery, but found it untenable on account of masked batteries of the enemy, the precise situation of which we could not ascertain. We then moved up the hill and halted. The enemy fired shell into this position, and we were ordered to go farther on. We then halted for a few moments, and soon after moved on over the hill. I was detained in the rear of the battery attending to one of the caissons which had lost a wheel. In the mean time Captain Ayres’ battery passed by me, so as to come between myself and our battery in front.

When I was ready to move on, I found Captain Ayres’ battery preparing for action at the brow of the hill. I then learned that our battery had been attacked by a body of secession cavalry, and all cut to pieces. Captain Ayres then advised me to attach my caisson, battery-wagon, and forge to his battery, and that I should go on and try to discover what had become of our own. On riding ahead I found a complete scene of destruction; wheels, limber-boxes, guns, caissons, dead and wounded men and horses were scattered all along the road. I was enabled, however, to find two pieces which I could bring along, and two men, Corporal Callaghan and Private Whitenech. I applied to the division commander for a detail of men to assist in bringing off these pieces, which he seemed indisposed to grant. Captain Ayres, on my applying to him, furnished me with men to act as teamsters, and placed my two pieces in his battery.

We thus arrived at the foot of the hill, when the enemy opened a fire of musketry upon us, which created the utmost confusion in our already retreating column. My men were obliged to leave the battery-wagon, forge, and caisson. At Centreville the retreating column made a stand, and I reported myself to Major Barry, chief of artillery, who attached me to Lieut. O. D. Greene’s battery at my request. My two pieces were then placed in position with the rest of the artillery to resist an attack. Colonel Jackson, of the New York Eighteenth Regiment, most kindly lent me a number of men to aid me as teamsters in place of those of Captain Ayres, whom I returned. We soon after received an order to retreat to Fairfax. Owing to the inexperience of my men I did not get my horses harnessed in time, and consequently when I started was nearly half a mile in rear of the whole retreating column. I finally caught up to Major Hunt’s battery, and was advised by him to push ahead, which I did. At Fairfax I received an order to proceed immediately to Washington. I reached Fort Albany, opposite Washington, at 11 o’clock Monday morning, July 22, where Lieutenant Cook, of the Twenty-fifth Regiment, kindly received me, and gave me all that was necessary to restore me after the fatigues of the march.

I feel particularly indebted to Captain Ayres and to the officers of his battery–Lieutenant Greene, Colonel Jackson, and Major Hunt–for their valuable aid through the difficulties and embarrassments of the retreat from Bull Run to Washington.

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

EDWD. BAYARD HILL,

Second Lieutenant, First Artillery

Capt. J. H. CARLISLE





#22 – Lieut. Stephen C. Lyford

6 03 2008

 

Report of Lieut. Stephen C. Lyford, First U.S. Dragoons

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp 363-365

FORT CORCORAN, VA., July 25, 1861

SIR: In obedience to your orders, I beg leave to submit the following report of the engagement at Bull Run on Sunday, July 21, 1861:

Being attached to General Schenck’s brigade, we joined the division under the command of General Tyler, and at about 2 o’clock in the morning of July 21, our brigade leading the column, our battery was preceded by the First and Second Ohio Volunteers and the Second New York Volunteers in the above-mentioned order. We arrived in view of the enemy’s position about 5 a.m., and immediately opened fire with the 30-pounder rifled gun attached to our battery, under the immediate command of Lieutenant Hains, U.S. Army. This fire not being responded to, it was soon discontinued, and our brigade was ordered to take up a position in order of battle to the right and left of the main road, our battery being placed in the skirts of the woods on the right, with a hill immediately in our rear. The ground in front was entirely open, extending to the creek, on the farther side of which the enemy had constructed an abatis. Three regiments of volunteers were placed near us to support our battery. We then awaited the advance of the columns under Colonels Hunter and Heintzelman, who were to attack the enemy in flank. These troops advanced into position about 9 a.m., and immediately opened the attack, which was continued with great warmth on both sides. Several regiments from General Tyler’s division being ordered to cross the creek to their support, one of these regiments attempted to cross the open ground in front of our division, when a battery of the enemy opened fire upon them. This regiment was instantly dispersed in all directions. We replied to this fire so successfully that in a short time the battery was completely silenced, and, from the accounts of persons who afterwards visited their position, we found that only some ten or twelve of their men remained unhurt.

The section under my command, being composed of one 6-pounder gun and one 12-pounder howitzer, made use of shell, spherical case, and solid shot, ending with a few rounds of canister. Our supports in the mean time had disappeared, and from this time no regular support was sent to us. Without using our field guns for some time we continued the fire with the 30-pounder at intervals. In the afternoon, probably about 2 o’clock, we were ordered to a new position to counterbatter the enemy’s batteries, which were at such a distance that they could not be reached by our guns. We were here exposed to a most galling fire without being able to reply with success. The section commanded by Lieutenant Wilson having been ordered to a new position, and being actively engaged, I was ordered to place my section in a position to be designated by a captain of the Massachusetts volunteers, where, according to his statement, the ranks of the enemy could be much damaged by my fire. Upon advancing down the road for a quarter of a mile, under the fire of two of the enemy’s batteries, this place was pointed out by the captain, but not liking the position, I considered it advisable to halt my section, and proceed alone to examine the ground. On examination, I found that I should be directly under the fire of two batteries, without any support, and where, to obtain an elevation necessary to throw projectiles three hundred yards, it would be necessary to sink the trails of our carriages in the ground. In addition to this, there was nothing to use artillery against, and no troops whatever to support us. Taking these circumstances into consideration, I did not think that I should be justified in placing my guns in such a position, and consequently returned to my starting point.

Shortly after this our battery moved to the rear into the woods, and there remained in the road, the battery being in column of pieces. We remained in this position for some little time, when an order was given to move still farther to the rear. On emerging from the woods, we encountered a charge of cavalry. When my section was made aware of the enemy’s approach, the cavalry was not fifteen yards distant. The command “Gallop” was then given, and the rout was made in the greatest confusion. Previous to our encounter, several regiments had passed us at a run, completely routed, without our being aware that we had lost the day. Had there been any support for our battery, had one company of infantry stood fast, the cavalry could easily have been repulsed, and the shameful consequences avoided. Our battery moving at a gallop, the carriages one by one broke down, and the pieces one by one were scattered along the road. I rode with my section till I saw that all was lost, and, after receiving a ball in my horse’s neck, I continued on in your company to Centreville. From Centreville I rode with dispatches to General Scott, and arrived at Fort Corcoran at daylight on Monday morning. After partaking of refreshments, I rode back to Vienna, to pick up the stragglers belonging to our company. Throughout the day the non-commissioned officers and privates of my command behaved with the utmost coolness and gallantry.

I am, sir, with much respect, your obedient servant,

S.C. LYFORD,

Second Lieutenant, First Dragoons, U.S. Army

Capt. J. HOWARD CARLISLE,

Commanding Company E, Second Artillery, U. S. Army





#21 – Lieut. John M. Wilson

6 03 2008

 

Report of Lieut. John M. Wilson, Second U.S. Artillery

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp 362-363

FORT CORCORAN, VA., July 24, 1861

SIR: In obedience to your order, I beg leave to make the following report of our attack and retreat at the battle of Bull Run:

By order of General Schenck, we prepared to move forward at exactly 2 a.m. Sunday, July 21, but owing to the infantry not being ready, our departure was delayed nearly an hour. Our brigade led off, our position being just behind the New York Second Regiment, who were preceded by the Ohio First and Second.

We moved forward slowly, experiencing little difficulty, except at the bridge across a small brook, the ford of the brook being obstructed by fallen trees. The difficulty arose from the weakness of the bridge, we fearing it would break under the weight of the 30-pounder gun. We passed over, however, without accident, and moved forward on the road, the troops taking position in line of battle, skirmishers in front.

At 5 a.m. exactly the first gun was fired by Captain Carlisle, who fired three times from the 30-pounder rifled gun without eliciting any reply from the enemy, who could be seen in crowds in the adjacent woods. Our battery then moved forward, and by order took up position on the brow of a small hill, facing down a ravine, with heavy woods immediately in rear of us. At the suggestion of Major Barry, of the artillery, I opened fire from my rifle section upon the enemy, immediately in rear of an abatis a short distance off, and dislodged them at the first fire; this was about 8.30 a.m. Colonel Hunter’s column having moved to the right to go over Bull Run, the enemy advanced out to meet them, when I again opened from my rifle guns, with what execution I could not tell. The firing on the right soon after became very severe. A regiment now attempted to cross Bull Run, when a battery behind a hill in front of us opened upon them, and they fell before it, breaking rapidly.

Our battery now opened upon the enemy in the most gallant style, firing with the greatest rapidity shot, shell, spherical case, and canister, and silenced their battery in a short time, we being under a very severe fire of solid shot and Hotchkiss shell. On inspecting their position afterwards it was found that they had been literally cut to pieces.

We then opened on a battery much farther off, and with the 30-pounder gun (rifled), and were replied to with such accuracy as to take off half the splinter-bar of the limber, and some of the shell which fell among us proved to be from the Parrott gun. A short time before this our infantry support was withdrawn, and we were left entirely alone. Soon after, we were ordered from this position, and I moved forward alone with my section to cover the position where a bridge was to be thrown over Bull Run, we being supported by the First Ohio Regiment and some other. By order of the commanding general of the brigade, I took-position in an open road, and fired at a house and into the woods. A battery, which could not be seen, now opened upon us with remarkable precision. I continued to fire for some time, until I was ordered to move farther down towards the run. I limbered up, and was about to move off, when vast columns of the enemy were seen coming over the hill, and though evidently beyond the range of my guns I fired at them by order of the commanding general of the brigade, again coming into battery, still being under a severe fire from the battery which we could not see.

In a few moments, having run out of ammunition, with the exception of one shell for each gun, I retired, by order of Colonel McCook, and took position with the rest of the battery, under Captain Carlisle, on the brow of a hill about one hundred yards from the position I then occupied. Here again we were under fire from some unseen source, and the shot and shell rained in among us. Our battery then again opened, the section under Lieutenant Fuller having been operating upon the enemy while Lieutenant Lyford and myself were absent with our sections. Lieutenant Lyford had moved just to my front and left, by order, and was also under a galling fire. On his return, we limbered up and moved slowly off to the road for a new position. We halted in the road, and a few moments after, by order of Captain Carlisle, I moved forward to get a proper position.

Just as I started, an orderly brought me an order from the commanding general of the brigade to halt. I halted, but soon after Captain Carlisle, by order, ordered us forward again, but it was too late. We were charged by cavalry in a road where we could not come into action–woods on each side of us and we in column. The infantry fell back precipitately in the woods. We moved forward at a gallop. Our men were shot down and sabered. The wheels broke down in all the pieces and caissons of my section. I halted to see if they could be fixed, amidst a perfect shower of pistol bullets, but finding they could not be, moved forward with the pieces on a jump without wheels until every trace broke. The men behaved gallantly and the non-commissioned officers with great coolness and bravery. I halted at Centreville, where an attempt was made to make a stand, but soon after moved on with dispatches from Colonel Sherman to Fairfax Court. House, arriving there about dark, and telegraphing the dispatch to Washington. With what men I could gather, and as many horses as I could get, I moved on the following day to Fort Corcoran, where my company is now being reorganized. Our loss is still unknown, as the horses and men are constantly coming in.

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

JOHN M. WILSON,

Lieutenant, Second Artillery

Capt. J. HOWARD CARLISLE,

Commanding Company E, Second Artillery





#20 – Capt. J. H. Carlisle

6 03 2008

 

Reports of Capt. J. H. Carlisle, Second U.S. Artillery

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp 361-362

DEPARTMENT OF NORTHEASTERN VIRGINIA,

Fort Corcoran, July 25, 1861

DEAR GENERAL: I intended to have visited you this morning, but in consequence of conflicting authority was unable to cross the river. I have not as yet been able to prepare a report, having only just received the reports of my subaltern officers. My report shall be prepared immediately and forwarded to your headquarters.

I herewith have the honor to submit a report of casualties in my command, viz: Men killed and missing, 11; wounded, 4. Horses killed and missing, 35. Guns lost, 4.

Being appointed chief of artillery of the defenses at this point, and being overwhelmed with the various duties incident to my command, I have been unable to communicate with you. If possible, I shall see you personally to-morrow, or at least communicate with you through an officer of my command.

I am, sir, with great respect, your obedient servant,

J. HOWARD CARLISLE,

Commanding Company E, Second Artillery

ROBERT C. SCHENCK,

Brigadier-General, U.S. Army

—–

DEPARTMENT OF NORTHEASTERN VIRGINIA,

Fort Corcoran, July 26, 1861

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the engagement at Bull Run of Sunday, July 21:

Being in your brigade, and occupying the advance of the column, we reached the enemy’s position at 5 a.m. Your command advancing, my battery was placed more directly under the command of General Tyler, commanding the First Division. During the day we were under a most severe fire from the enemy’s batteries, and succeeded in completely silencing one of them, composed of six pieces. The sections of my battery acting separately during a great part of the day, the separate reports of the officers commanding these sections are herewith respectfully submitted. Throughout the entire day the officers and men under my command behaved in the most creditable manner. Lieutenant Wilson, Second Artillery with the rifled guns, was frequently detached, and did excellent service. Lieutenant Lyford, First Dragoons, U.S. Army, and Lieutenant Fuller, U.S. Artillery, each commanding sections, were each during the day at times acting separately from the battery, and acquitted themselves in the best manner. Lieutenant Hill, First Artillery, deserves great credit for his exertions in collecting horses and carriages and bringing two of the pieces from the field.

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

J. HOWARD CARLISLE,

Captain, Second Artillery, Commanding Company E

Brig. Gen. ROBERT C. SCHENCK,

U.S. Army





#15 – Maj. William F. Barry

14 02 2008

 

Report of Maj. William F. Barry, Fifth U.S. Artillery, Chief of Artillery

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp 345-348

ARLINGTON, VA., July 23, 1861

CAPTAIN: Having been appointed, by Special Orders, No. 21, Headquarters Department Northeastern Virginia, Centreville, July 19, 1861, chief of artillery of the corps d’armée commanded by Brigadier-General McDowell, and having served in that capacity during the battle of 21st instant, I have the honor to submit the following report:

The artillery of the corps d’armée consisted of the following-named batteries: Ricketts’ light company, I, First Artillery, six 10-pounder Parrott rifle guns; Hunt’s light company, M, Second Artillery, four light 12-pounders; Carlisle’s company, E, Second Artillery, two James 13-pounder rifle guns, two 6 pounder guns; Tidball’s light company, A, Second Artillery, two 6-pounder guns, two 12-pounder howitzers; Greene’s company, G, Second Artillery, four 10-pounder Parrott rifle guns; Arnold’s company, D, Second Artillery, two 13-pounder James rifle guns, two 6-pounder guns; Ayres’ light company, E, Third Artillery, two 10-pounder Parrott rifle guns, two 12-pounder howitzers, two 6-pounder guns; Griffin’s battery, D, Fifth Artillery, four 10-pounder Parrott rifle guns, two 12-pounder howitzers; Edwards’ company, G, First Artillery, two 20-pounder and one 30-pounder Parrott rifle guns. The Second Regiment Rhode Island Volunteers had with it a battery of six 13-pounder James rifle guns; the Seventy-first Regiment New York Militia two of Dahlgren’s boat howitzers, and the Eighth Regiment New York Militia a battery of six 6-pounder grins. The men of this last-named battery having claimed their discharge on the day before the battle because their term of service had expired, the battery was thrown out of service.

The whole force of artillery of all calibers was, therefore, forty-nine pieces, of which twenty-eight were rifle guns. All of these batteries were fully horsed and equipped, with the exception of the two howitzers of the Seventy-first Regiment New York Militia, which were without horses, and were drawn by drag-ropes, manned by detachments from the regiment.

General McDowell’s disposition for the march from Centreville on the morning of the 21st instant placed Tidball’s and Greene’s batteries (eight pieces) in reserve, with the division of Colonel Miles, to remain at Centreville; Hunt’s and Edwards’ (six pieces), with the brigade of Colonel Richardson, at Blackburn’s Ford; and Carlisle s, Ayres’, and the 30-pounder (eleven pieces), with the division of General Tyler, at the stone bridge; Ricketts’, Griffin’s, Arnold’s, the Rhode Island, and Seventy-first Regiment batteries (twenty-four pieces) accompanied the main column, which crossed Bull Run at Sudley Springs. As soon as this column came in presence of the enemy, after crossing Bull Run, I received from General McDowell, in person, directions to superintend the posting of the batteries as they severally debouched from the road and arrived upon the field.

The Rhode Island Battery came first upon the ground, and took up, at a gallop, the position assigned it. It was immediately exposed to a sharp fire from the enemy’s skirmishers and infantry posted on the declivity of the hill and in the valley in its immediate front, and to a well-sustained fire of shot and shell from the enemy’s batteries posted behind the crest of the range of hills about one thousand yards distant. This battery sustained in a very gallant manner the whole force of this fire for nearly half an hour, when the howitzers of the Seventy-first New York Militia came up, and went into battery on its left. A few minutes afterwards Griffin brought up his pieces at a gallop, and came into battery about five hundred yards to the left of the Rhode Island and New York batteries.

Ricketts’ battery came up in less than half an hour afterwards, and was posted to the left of and immediately adjoining Griffin’s.

The enemy’s right, which had been wavering from the moment Griffin opened his fire upon it, now began to give way throughout its whole extent and retire steadily, his batteries limbering up rapidly, and at a gallop taking up successively two new positions farther to his rear. The foot troops on our left, following up the enemy’s retiring right, soon left our batteries so far in our rear that their fire was over the heads of our own men. I therefore directed the Rhode Island Battery to advance about five hundred yards in front of its first position, accompanied it myself, and saw it open fire with increased effect upon the enemy’s still retiring right.

Returning to the position occupied by Ricketts’ and Griffin’s batteries, I received an order from General McDowell to advance two batteries to an eminence specially designated by him, about eight hundred yards in front of the line previously occupied by our artillery, and very near the position first occupied by the enemy’s batteries. I therefore ordered these two batteries to move forward at once, and, as soon as they were in motion, went for and procured as supports the Eleventh (Fire Zouaves) and the Fourteenth (Brooklyn) New York Regiments. I accompanied the former regiment, to guide it to its proper position, and Colonel Heintzelman, Seventeenth U.S. Infantry, performed the same service for the Fourteenth, on the right of the Eleventh. A squadron of U.S. cavalry, under Captain Colburn, First Cavalry, was subsequently ordered as additional support. We were soon upon the ground designated, and the two batteries at once opened a very effective fire upon the enemy’s left.

The new position had scarcely been occupied when a troop of the enemy’s cavalry, debouching from a piece of woods close upon our right flank, charged down upon the New York Eleventh. The zouaves, catching sight of the cavalry a few moments before they were upon them, broke ranks to such a degree that the cavalry dashed through without doing them much harm. The zouaves gave them a scattering fire as they passed, which emptied five saddles and killed three horses. A few minutes afterwards a regiment of the enemy’s infantry, covered by a high fence, presented itself in line on the left and front of the two batteries at not more than sixty or seventy yards’ distance, and delivered a volley full upon the batteries and their supports. Lieutenant Ramsay, First Artillery, was killed, and Captain Ricketts, First Artillery, was wounded, and a number of men and horses were killed or disabled by this close and well-directed volley. The Eleventh and Fourteenth Regiments instantly broke and fled in confusion to the rear, and in spite of the repeated and earnest efforts of Colonel Heintzelman with the latter, and myself with the former, refused to rally and return to the support of the batteries. The enemy, seeing the guns thus abandoned by their supports, rushed upon them, and driving off the cannoneers, who, with their officers, stood bravely at their posts until the last moment, captured them, ten in number. These were the only guns taken by the enemy on the field.

Arnold’s battery came upon the field after Ricketts’, and was posted on our left center, where it performed good service throughout the day, and by its continued and well-directed fire assisted materially in breaking and driving back the enemy’s right and center.

The batteries of Hunt, Carlisle, Ayres, Tidball, Edwards, and Greene (twenty-one pieces), being detached from the main body, and not being under my immediate notice during the greater portion of the day, I respectfully refer you to the reports of their brigade and division commanders for the record of their services.

The Army having retired upon Centreville, I was ordered by General McDowell in person to post the artillery in position to cover the retreat. The batteries of Hunt, Ayres, Tidball, Edwards, Greene, and the New York Eighth Regiment (the latter served by volunteers from Willcox’s brigade), twenty pieces in all, were at once placed in position, and thus remained until 12 o’clock p.m., when, orders having been received to retire upon the Potomac, the batteries were put in march, and, covered by Richardson’s brigade, retired in good order and without haste, and early next morning reoccupied their former camps on the Potomac.

In conclusion, it gives me great satisfaction to state that the conduct of the officers and enlisted men of the several batteries was most exemplary. Exposed throughout the day to a galling fire of artillery and small-arms: several times charged by cavalry, and more than once abandoned by their infantry supports, both officers and enlisted men manfully stood by their guns with a courage and devotion worthy of the highest commendation. Where all did so well it would be invidious to make distinctions, and I therefore simply give the names of all the officers engaged: viz: Major Hunt, Captains Carlisle, Ayres, Griffin, Tidball, and Arnold; Lieutenants Platt, Thompson, Ransom, Webb, Barriger, Greene, Edwards, Dresser, Wilson, Throckmorton, Cushing, Harris, Butler, Fuller, Lyford, Hill, Benjamin, Babbitt, Hains, Ames, Hasbrouck, Kensel, Harrison, Reed, Barlow, Noyes, Kirby, and Elderkin.

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

WILLIAM F. BARRY,

Major, Fifth Artillery

Capt. J. B. FRY,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Hdqrs. Dep’t N. E. Virginia








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