#95 – Brig. Gen. Richard S. Ewell

13 03 2008

 

Report of Brig. Gen. Richard S. Ewell, Commanding Second Brigade, First Corps

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp 536-537

HEADQUARTERS SECOND BRIGADE,

Union Mills, July 24, 1861

SIR: In conformity with Special Orders, No. 145, headquarters Army of the Potomac, I have the honor to report that upon the morning of July 21, 1861, I first received orders to hold myself in readiness to advance at a moment’s notice. I next received a copy of an order sent to General Jones and furnished me by him, in which it was stated I had been ordered at once to proceed to his support.

I immediately commenced crossing my brigade over Bull Run, but whilst so doing received an order to fall back to my former position, which I did, and a short time afterwards received another order, brought by Colonel Terry, aide-de-camp, to cross again, proceed up the run, and attack a battery of the enemy upon its flank and rear, regulating my movements upon the brigades of Generals Jones and Longstreet. I again crossed the stream, and had proceeded about a mile and a half in execution of the order when I was stopped by an order to march at once to stone bridge, following General Holmes’ brigade, which had already been ordered to proceed to that point.

I deem it proper to state that the courier said he had been accompanied by an aide-de-camp whose horse had given out before reaching me. I countermarched and marched at once to headquarters in the field, remained in reserve at that point until ordered back to Union Mills, which I reached after a long and fatiguing march the same night.

My brigade consisted of Rodes’ Fifth Alabama, Seibels’ Sixth Alabama, Seymour’s Sixth Louisiana, a battery under Captain Rosser, the Washington Artillery, and four companies of cavalry, under Lieutenant-Colonel Jenifer. The infantry would hardly have got back that night, but for the excitement of hearing that the enemy were in possession of the ford. As connected with this, I send a report of a skirmish on the 17th, of Colonel Rodes’ regiment becoming engaged and checking the enemy, owing to the non-reception of the order to fall back on their appearance.(*)

Very respectfully,

R. S. EWELL,

Brigadier-General

Col.. THOMAS JORDAN,

Assistant Adjutant-General

*No. 74, p. 459.





Later…

13 03 2008

I’ll have plenty to say about my trip to Columbus and my presentation to the Central Ohio Civil War Round Table.  First I need to post about four Confederate ORs.  I’ll either do all four tonight or two and two.  Then I’ll be able to write about the trip – there will be pictures!





An Interview with Weider History Group’s Dana Shoaf

10 03 2008

 

cwt_april_08.jpg acw_may_08.jpg

Last month, Weider History Group announced that Dana Shoaf was taking over the helms of both Civil War Times and America’s Civil War.  I had a chance to virtually sit down with Dana and ask him some questions about his new responsibilities and about the direction in which the magazines would be moving.

BR: What led to the decision to name you as Executive Director of Weider History Group’s Civil War publications and allow you to oversee both CWT and ACW?

DS: The biggest reason was to coordinate between the two magazines, making sure they were not going over the same ground, using the same art, etc. Also, we want to make the magazines more different than they now are. It was thought that would be easier to do if one person was keeping a close eye on both.

BR: Will the two magazines remain separate?

DS: Yes. There are no plans to merge them.

BR: What are the big challenges you’ll be facing?

DS: For me, the biggest challenge is to keep organized; keep all my manuscripts straight and to try and be prompt in responding to email and author queries. I struggle with this, I admit, but I’m working to get better at it. Also, it’s a pretty big challenge to keep printing fresh material about the Civil War in the magazines. I actually cruise the blogs out there—some are really good while some are just bloviation. From the good blogs, I’ve picked up some good topics that have come out of discussions. I can also tell who can write and who can’t by reading blog entries. You’re okay, Harry, you can write. And you are a Steelers and Pirates fan like me. You’re okay.

In a larger sense, this is the biggest challenge—our readership is getting older, and we need to attract younger readers for these magazines to survive. The upcoming sesquicentennial will raise some interest that we hope to capitalize on. I have to admit though, every time I despair that young people don’t care about history or the Civil War, I meet some youngster who is all into it, and that gives me hope.

BR: Conversely, what are the big opportunities?

DS: I think by coordinating these magazines, and making them different in tone, we can reach a very wide Civil War audience. We also want to amp up our web presence. This will take a little while though, as we are focusing on the magazines right now. One thing that’s exciting is that our newsstand sales are up, so some bookstores are talking with us about increasing our visibility in their stores. I think that’s great—not only because the increased sales mean more revenue—but also because potentially more people can get turned on to the Civil War. I really believe the overarching mission of mine is to provide great Civil War history for the masses. 

BR: What about CWT going to 6 issues/year (from 10/year)?  What will the publication schedule be for the two magazines?

DS: They alternate every other month. Civil War Times is: June, August, October, December, February and April.  America’s Civil War is: July, September, November, January, March, May.

BR: Are there any other changes in the works (re: staffing, layouts, focus, features)?

DS: As you can see by the publishing schedule, I’m basically overseeing a monthly magazine. We do plan to hire one more person to work on America’s Civil War. Each magazine will have a Managing Editor, Senior Editor, Art Director and Picture Editor. Both magazines will share one Copy Editor. That may seem like a lot of people, but it’s basically a bare bones staff for a monthly magazine. As far as layout changes, there is a big one in the works for CWT. I don’t want to say anymore right now, but if it comes off, I will be be very happy and so will the readers, I’m sure.

Oh yeah, another change—I’m getting grayer by the minute. My hair and beard will be as gray as Marse Robert’s before too long!





Care Package from Broadfoot

9 03 2008

 

 

I received a box of books from Broadfoot Publishing this past Monday.  Considering I placed the order the Thursday before and got free shipping (I can’t say how much these books cost on the off-chance my wife reads this), that’s pretty darn quick.  I got Volume II of the Report of the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War (the Bull Run-Ball’s Bluff volume), Volume I of the Papers of the Military Historical Society of Massachusetts, and all nine volumes of The Union Army.

The JCCW reports are available online for free, and I’ve linked to them on my First Bull Run Books and Articles On-Line page, but I like to have the book to hold in my hand and browse.   I probably should not have ordered the MHSM volume (Campaigns in Virginia 1861-1862), as all it has BR1-wise is an article by Thomas Livermore on Patterson in the Valley.  If anyone knows if any of the volumes have 1st Bull Run stuff in them, let me know.  I now have volumes 1-3, 5, 7, 8 & 10.

The Union Army is something I’ve been eyeing up for awhile, and finally bit the bullet.  It includes five volumes of regimental biographies (think of it as Dyer’s on steroids), a two volume cyclopedia of battles, one volume on the navy, one with biographies of general officers and noteworthy individuals, and an index.  I think I’ll get a lot of use out of this set.





Still Standing – The Stonewall Jackson Story

8 03 2008

 

acw_may_08.jpg still-standing.jpg

As discussed here, the version of my review of Still Standing – The Stonewall Jackson Story that appears in the May 2008 issue of America’s Civil War - on newsstands now – was edited about 35% for length.  To perhaps (though probably not) nip in the bud any questions regarding my opinion of the film, I’m posting the original text of the review below.  But don’t let this stop you from sending letters to the magazine.

Let me preface this by saying that I was predisposed to dislike the film prior to viewing, based on some things I had heard about it.  This to me was problematic, so before viewing it I posted a question to the Civil War Discussion Group (CWDG), a Yahoo email group to which I’ve belonged since its inception about seven years ago.  After discussing my problem with a few posters there, I determined that the proper course was to review the film on its own merits: what was the message it was trying to convey, and how well did it argue its case.  The review is not a simple reflection of my thoughts on the message, and has nothing to do with liking or disliking, but is rather an analysis of the presentation.  Note that each paragraph ends with an unexplored paradox.

Irony and paradox: those are the words used to characterize the life of Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson in the documentary “Still Standing – The Stonewall Jackson Story”.   They are used specifically to describe the story of Jackson as one of a very ordinary man, arising from ordinary, even humble circumstances to accomplish extraordinary things. Beautifully filmed, the DVD has a pleasant musical score and relies more on live action video of sites from the general’s life than on the Ken Burns trademark still photograph panning that has become S.O.P. for historical documentaries.  All in all, this is an attractive package.  But it is perhaps more rife with irony and paradox than the producers intended – paradoxes and ironies ultimately left unexplored or unconvincingly explained.

Focusing on Jackson’s spiritual life, and based on the book “Stonewall Jackson: The Black Man’s Friend” by Richard Williams, the program features a number of “talking heads”, first and foremost Jackson biographer James I. Robertson.  Jackson’s story is broken down into chronological phases of his life, beginning with his traumatic separation from his mother at  age seven to be sent to live with his uncle Cummins at Jackson’s Mill in what is now West Virginia.    Robertson describes Jackson’s boyhood as one of solitude and loneliness, and tells us that he never got over the separation from his mother, that his uncle was an uncaring, selfish man and that, while he later said his uncle loved him, Jackson “did not know what love was.”  At the same time, his boyhood is also described as shaped by his close friendship with future Union general Joseph Lightburn who, along with Cummins’s slaves, influenced Jackson to accept the gospel.

Jackson’s time at West Point is covered briefly, described as spent engrossed in study, and discussion of his Mexican War service is limited to his three brevet promotions, his dalliance with Catholicism, and the influence on his religious development of his superior officer Francis Taylor.  As for his post-war career, we learn of his baptism while stationed at Ft. Hamilton and of his leaving the army to take a teaching job at VMI, but nothing of why he left or any role his ambition – later described by Dr. Hunter McGuire as “far beyond what ordinary men possess” – may have played in his decision.  At VMI, while Jackson continued his personal voyage of faith, he distinguished himself as possibly the worst teacher in the history of the school.  Despite that, evidence suggests that his students saw something special in “Tom Fool”.

While Jackson’s role at First Manassas and in the Valley Campaign is explored, there is really little analysis of his Civil War record.   In fact, the film jumps from the Valley Campaign straight to Chancellorsville and his mortal wounding, avoiding entirely the paradox of Jackson’s spotty performance during the Seven Days.

At the center of the documentary is Jackson as husband, father, and benefactor of a Sunday school for slaves and free blacks in Lexington, Va.  While establishing himself in the town, he joined the Presbyterian Church and married Eleanor Junkin.  Fourteen months later, his wife and new son were dead, and Jackson’s faith is said to be all that pulled him through a difficult time.  He toured Europe, and on his return quickly courted and married Mary Anna Morrison.  By all accounts Jackson, earlier described as not knowing what love was, deeply, even romantically, loved his wife.

Jackson, who believed that every human being was a child of God, helped to fund a Sunday school to teach slaves and free blacks to read, in order for them to more closely follow the teachings of the bible.  While in violation of Virginia law, he felt that God’s law trumped the law of man.  Committed to the project, he sent his monthly stipend for the school from the battlefield of Manassas.  This scenario presents perhaps the most significant paradox of Jackson’s life.  While Robertson asserts that Jackson did not, in fact could not, fight for slavery, the fact remains that his actions helped sustain a government dedicated to the preservation of that institution; that while the beneficiaries of Stonewall’s bible school would become the freedmen of post-war Lexington, his actions helped delay their attainment of that status; that while Jackson was traumatized by his separation as a child from his beloved mother, his actions helped to perpetuate a system that methodically separated mother from child.

Perhaps a case can be made that for his time and community Jackson was in fact progressive in his views on and treatment of slaves and free blacks.  However, “Still Standing” does not attempt to view Jackson in the context of his circumstances, instead boldly proclaiming him a “champion of enslaved men and women”.  The glaring paradox is that he was at the same time on the battlefield a champion of slavery.   That’s a paradox worth exploring.

Thanks to Senior Editor Tobin Beck for his kind permission to post this.

(UPDATE:  Blogger Richard Williams, on whose book Still Standing is based, has “not commented” on this review here.  He suggests that I can find explorations of all the paradoxes in the film in his book.  As I said, I reviewed the film on its own merits.  Sweet cross-marketing pitch though!  I’m not sure what you found “curious” about my comments but no, I didn’t consider the review a “dreadful undertaking”, just a challenging one.  As for my comments speaking for themselves, I sure hope they do - that’s what I was going for!)





#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








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