Report of Col. Thomas G. Bacon, Seventh South Carolina Infantry (July 20 to 21, including Mitchell’s Ford)
O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp 528-530
HDQRS. SEVENTH SOUTH CAROLINA VOLUNTEERS,
July 26, 1861
GENERAL: In obedience to Special Order, No. –, issued from your headquarters, dated 23d July, I proceed to give you a detail of the operations of the Seventh Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, under my command, from the 17th instant to the 24th inclusive:
About sunrise of the 17th instant the picket of the Seventh Regiment, stationed on the Flint Hill road, three miles above Fairfax Court-House, was fired into by the enemy’s advance guard, and retreated without loss. Immediately as this information was received I ordered the tents struck and the baggage train loaded. By 9 a.m. the train was ready, and ordered to move to Centreville, thence to their camp half a mile beyond Bull Run Creek, in the direction of Manassas.
At 8.30 a.m. I marched the Seventh Regiment to the trenches, as ordered, and remained there until near noon, when the enemy had approached within cannon range of our embankments, presenting as they approached several lines of battle, fronting from one to three regiments. Before an attack was made the Seventh regiment was ordered to retreat to Centreville, crossing from the Fairfax to the Braddock road. We reached Centreville at 2 p.m., where we remained as a regiment of vedettes until 1 o’clock a.m. of the 18th, when, marching orders being received, we again retreated quietly and in good order to Bull Run, arriving at the run at 3 a.m. Immediately the Seventh Regiment began intrenching, and in a few hours were securely protected against musketry.
Quite early on the morning of the 18th instant the enemy appeared on the northwest side of the Centreville road, about twelve hundred yards distant. By 9 a.m. they had located their batteries, and forthwith commenced throwing shot and shell against the embankments behind which the Seventh Regiment was located. Random firing was kept up against this and adjacent points during the day, and until the close of the battle fought by General Longstreet’s Brigade on Bull Run, just to the right of the Seventh Regiment. The pieces directed against our embankments seemed to be rifled and 6 pounder cannon, throwing 12-pound conical shell and 6 pound round balls.
During the 19th and 20th instants nothing of material interest occurred, and we continued strengthening our position. In the mean time the enemy were constantly in sight at the point they first appeared. Occasionally the pickets of the Seventh Regiment would approach within firing distance of the enemy’s outposts, and a few of the enemy’s pickets were captured or killed by the pickets of the Seventh Regiment South Carolina Volunteers.
Throughout Sunday, the 21st instant, batteries, near the same locality they were on the 18th, continued firing at the embankments on Bull Run. The shot and shell were the same as those of the 18th, but thrown with less accuracy. At 5.30 p.m. the Seventh Regiment, with other regiments, were ordered from their intrenchments to charge, if necessary, the batteries on the Centreville road; but before they reached the top of the hill the batteries were withdrawn and the enemy were in full retreat, leaving scattered along the road and in the forest on both sides what appeared to be their entire camp equipage. We pursued but a short distance, being recalled by dusk to our intrenchments on Bull Run.
At 8 a.m. on the 22d instant the Seventh Regiment, with other portions of the First Brigade, were ordered to march on to Centreville. There we remained during the day, assisting in collecting the myriads of articles the enemy had abandoned, with which the earth around Centreville seemed literally covered. Throughout this day the rain fell constantly and often very heavily. From 8 to 11 p.m. of the 22d the soldiers of the Seventh Regiment were arriving, much wearied and fatigued, at their intrenchments on Ball Run, which post they again left on Tuesday, 23d, at 12 m., or shortly thereafter. At 2 p.m. they reached Centreville, encamping in the forest immediately southwest of the village. At 8 p.m. they were ordered to move again, and before 9 p.m. were en route for Vienna via Germantown. From Bull Run to Centreville is about three and a half miles; from Centreville to Germantown about six miles, and perhaps a little farther from Germantown to Vienna. The Seventh Regiment reached Vienna about half hour of sunup in the morning of the 24th, where they are now encamped.
During the week, from the 17th instant to the 24th instant inclusive, no accident occurred with the Seventh Regiment, nor were any lives lost, none of its members being missing up to date. Since the 17th instant the ranks of the Seventh Regiment have been considerably reduced by the prevalence of the measles; otherwise the general health of the regiment is good.
I am general, very respectfully, yours, &c.,
THOS. G. BACON,
Colonel, Commanding Seventh Regiment S.C. Volunteers
General G. T. BEAUREGARD,
Commanding First Corps, Army of the Potomac