#99 – Col. M. Jenkins

14 03 2008


Report of Col. M. Jenkins Fifth South Carolina Infantry

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp 541-543


McLean’s Ford, July 22, 1861

SIR: I beg leave to make the following brief report of the occurrences of yesterday as they relate to my regiment:

When I had thrown my regiment in the position indicated by your orders, and found that the enemy had discovered our approach, I formed front under the brow of a hill. The enemy opening upon us a heavy fire of grape and shell, I advanced quickly over very difficult ground. While gallantly charging in fine order our friends in the rear poured in upon me heavy fires of musketry, cutting us up sadly. This compelled a halt, which I made upon gaining the brow of the hill upon which the enemy was stationed. Here, under a terrific fire of shell, I reformed and dressed my lines, and reloaded such guns as had been fired. Expecting the reserve to form to the rear to my support, I made every preparation to renew my charge upon the batteries, when I discovered that I was isolated in the presence of the enemy’s guns, cavalry, and three or four regiments of infantry.

Doubtful whether to advance unsupported against such great odds of position and men, I sent to you three times for orders, and retained my position amid the bursting of shell and threats of attack for three-quarters of an hour. Throwing to the front Captain Seabrook’s company as sharpshooters, and finding a large force threatening to charge, I withdrew them and placed Company A (Captain Goss) and Company B (Captain Jackson) in advance, in a skirt of woods upon my right, with orders to open upon the enemy, which was promptly executed and with effect, the artillerists leaving their guns and the troops retiring to the wood immediately in their rear.

Not hearing from the brigade, and the enemy being impregnable to a small body like mine, I decided unwillingly to withdraw and leaving Companies A and B to prevent a sudden attack, retired in order a short distance, when I threw into position Company C (Captain Seay) and Company H (Captain Bower), and called in the two Companies A and B, and, forming column, slowly and in order left the ground.

My observation, limited to a portion of the regiment, at times prevented my noticing all who behaved well. I notice with pleasure, as coming under immediate observation, the coolness and good conduct of Lieut. Col. G. W. H. Legg, in addition to the captains mentioned as performing special orders. I was greatly pleased with the coolness and conduct of others. Captains Giles, Carpenter, and, in fine, all under my observation, obeyed with promptness and kept good order in their ranks. Many lieutenants pleased me by self-possession and coolness, and would no doubt have given signal proof of gallantry and conduct had opportunity offered. My adjutant, Lieut. E. B. Clinton, also greatly pleased me by his conduct. I could notice a general desire to do their duty, and specially marked as encouraging the men were Privates Fernandez and Long, of Captain Glenn’s company. I also hear Private Scaife, of Captain Goss’ company, highly spoken of as aiding his company in its hour of trial.

I can only refer to the providence of a merciful God our success, as the enemy left the field under so small an attacking force; to His protection, our safety and comparatively small loss under so heavy a fire.

The enemy fired seventy-four shots at us, and my killed amounted only to three and my wounded to twenty-three.

Most respectfully,



General D. R. JONES,

Brigadier-General, Commanding Third Brigade

P. S. — I should have stated that Company K., Captain Walker, was deployed on my right flank as skirmishers, and the road being unknown and the thicket dense was separated from the regiment.  Some few of the members, having become separated from the company, with Sergeant Blassingame, joined us.

#98 – Col. E. R. Burt

14 03 2008


Report of Col. E. R. Burt, Eighteenth Mississippi Infantry

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, p 541

McLEAN’s FORD, July 22, 1861

DEAR SIR: I have the honor to report that my command, Eighteenth Regiment Mississippi Volunteers, with Colonel Jenkins’ South Carolina regiment, Colonel Featherston’s Seventeenth Regiment Mississippi Volunteers, under command of Brig. Gen. D. R. Jones, proceeded at about 2.30 o’clock on the evening of the 21st to take the battery of the enemy posted near Grigsby’s barn, on the north side of Bull Run.

When within about three hundred yards of the guns of the enemy I endeavored to form my command near the edge of a ravine on the left of the command of Colonel Jenkins. Before, however, the regiment could be formed, which from the nature of the ground was difficult to do, the enemy delivered a murderous fire on it. At this period the command came from the right to charge the enemy. By whom it was given I know not. The charge was made, however, without any knowledge of the ground over which the regiment was to pass, and continued in the face of a terrific fire of canister, shell, and shot from the battery of the enemy and the fire of a portion of my own command through those in advance of them until an impassable ravine was reached (where the line was originally attempted to be formed, but not effected), when the confusion under the galling fire of the enemy’s guns became very great, so much so that to form the line was utterly impracticable, and it was not done until the field of Mrs. Speak’s was reached. The fire of the enemy was returned, and kept up by the regiment for some moments without seeing where the battery of the enemy was placed. The infantry of the enemy fled after the first fire from our arms.

Although but a short time engaged, our loss was severe. Among the killed was Capt. Adam McWillie, of the Camden Rifles, a gallant soldier of the Mexican war, having fought bravely at Monterey and Buena Vista; he was killed by a canister shot while endeavoring to rally his command. First Lieutenant Scary, of Captain Brown’s command, was killed on the field whilst making the charge. Second Lieutenant York, of Captain Wellborn’s command, was badly wounded near the same time. Third Lieutenant McLaurin, of Captain Fontaine’s command, was seriously wounded by the explosion of a shell. Number of killed and wounded, thirty-eight.

Very respectfully,


Colonel Eighteenth Regiment Mississippi Volunteers

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General LATHAM

#97 – Col. W. S. Featherston

14 03 2008


Report of Col. W. S. Featherston, Seventeenth Mississippi Infantry

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp 539-540


SIR: In obedience to the order of General D. R. Jones, I beg leave to submit the following report of the action taken by the Seventeenth Regiment of Mississippi Volunteers in the attack made on the enemy’s camp near McLean’s Ford on the evening of the 21st instant:

General Jones’ brigade, composed of the Fifth South Carolina and the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Regiments of Mississippi Volunteers, marched to the field in the order of their position in line. Colonel Jenkins’ regiment, holding the right, was placed in the front; Colonel Burt’s in the center; and the Seventeenth, holding the left, was in the rear.

On entering the field where the enemy were encamped we found their batteries planted and pointing in the direction of our entrance upon the field. We marched up a ravine some two or three hundred yards until we reached the foot of the first hill occupied by the enemy, where we entered the field. Here we were halted, and the South Carolina regiment formed into line of battle on the right, and the Eighteenth Mississippi immediately on the left of the South Carolina regiment. These regiments were thrown into line near the foot of the hill as perfectly as the ground would permit, where they were somewhat protected against the enemy’s batteries by the hill in front. These regiments covered the whole line of battle, and the Seventeenth Regiment could not be formed in line of battle in rear of the other two, owing to obstacles presented by the ground.

Very soon after we were halted the firing commenced, and the order to charge or advance was given immediately on the right. The two regiments in front marched very promptly and gallantly up the hill, in the direction of the enemy. I immediately ordered the Seventeenth to advance, and standing at the head of the column ascended the hill, directing the right wing to the right and ordered the left to incline to the left, so as to form a line of battle in the rear of the Eighteenth Regiment. This order was promptly obeyed by every company in my command. The Eighteenth Regiment, in our front, advanced until they reached the ravine which separates the two hills occupied by the enemy. Here they were halted by the ravine in front, which at that place could not be crossed without great difficulty, if at all. Standing thus exposed to a heavy fire from the enemy’s artillery and musketry, and being unable to advance, they fell back. The Seventeenth Regiment advanced to the edge of the ravine, and the right wing was ordered by me to fire after it was unmasked by the Eighteenth. This order was promptly obeyed. The left wing did not fire at all, and was not ordered to do so. Standing thus, unable to advance, and exposed to a heavy fire from the enemy, the Seventeenth fell back with the Eighteenth Regiment. This advance was made by all three of the regiments under a very rapid fire from the enemy’s batteries, as well as from their sharpshooters, and was checked only by the obstacles in their pathway. After falling back beyond the reach of the enemy’s batteries the regiments were reformed and the order given to them to return to their camps.

The orders communicated to me by General Jones before entering upon the field were that my regiment was held rather in reserve, but required to sustain the other two, and I was to exercise my own discretion in doing so. I thought at the time, and still think, that in making the charge the other two regiments required the support of mine, and so ordered it.(*)

All of which is respectfully submitted.


Commanding Seventeenth Mississippi Volunteers


Assistant Adjutant-General

*Nominal list of casualties shows 9 killed and 10 wounded.