Report of Lieut. George S. Davidson, Commanding Section of Artillery
O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp. 563-564
HEADQUARTERS GENERAL N. G. EVANS’ COMMAND,
Stone Bridge, July 23, 1861
GENERAL: The second section of Latham’s battery, under my command, was on the morning of the 21st stationed on the hill commanding the stone bridge over Bull Run and its approaches. It was on the south side of the turnpike, and about six hundred yards west of the bridge. About 6 o’clock a.m. the enemy appeared on the high ground east of the bridge, nearly opposite my position. They opened fire from a single piece of rifled cannon, which was stationed on high ground north of the turnpike, not less than three-quarters of a mile east of my position. The fire from this piece and others near the same position was kept up at intervals until near 9 o’clock a.m.
About this time it was known that the enemy was forming in force upon your left flank. I was ordered to join Major Wheat’s command, which lay nearly a mile northwest of my first position. I passed by Van Pelt’s house, and went on to the Carter house, about one hundred yards northeast of which I placed my section in battery. Finding that the enemy, still encroaching upon our flank, had changed his position, I was ordered by yourself to return to the turnpike, which I followed to a high point about fifteen hundred yards west of the stone bridge. I placed my pieces in battery on open ground within two hundred yards north of the turnpike. From this position you ordered my second piece, under Lieut. Clark Leftwich, to advance along the turnpike and up the Sudley road. He accordingly took position about one hundred yards east of the Sudley road, bearing nearly five hundred yards north from the stone house of Matthews.
From this position Lieutenant Leftwich opened upon the enemy, advancing along the Sudley road, about one thousand yards distant. He inflicted considerable injury upon them, and maintained his position until our infantry had retired. He then retired to a hill south of the turnpike, and about one thousand yards distant from and west of Robinson’s house. Here he remained, firing upon the enemy until he had expended all ammunition from his limber chest. The horses of the caisson having run off, Lieutenant Leftwich came to ask me for ammunition, which I being unable to furnish him, he proceeded to the Lewis house, where he rejoined and reported to Captain Latham.
Lieutenant Leftwich had not fired more than six or eight times from his first position on the Sudley road when the enemy advanced toward our right (as our regiment then fronted), and came within range of my gun. I immediately opened fire upon him, which I kept up until I found the enemy advancing along the Sudley road toward my position. I then moved my gun into the turnpike immediately at the mouth of the lane leading to Robinson’s house, and fired upon the enemy with canister, and with good effect, until he had come up within one hundred and fifty yards of my gun. Having expended my ammunition, I reported my command to Captain Latham, then posted on Lewis’ farm, about four hundred yards east of the house.
I cannot close my report without testifying to the courage and coolness of my gunners, Charles Perry and James B. Lee. The men also served at the guns in a manner highly honorable to them. I had one man wounded by a shell, but met with no other casualties, except that I broke a caisson pole and a gun-carriage axle while obeying your double-quick command along the turnpike to my third position north of the turnpike. About the same time also a wheel ran off from my gun-carriage. I, however, repaired these damages and went on.
Respectfully, general, your most obedient servant,
GEORGE S. DAVIDSON
Brig. Gen. N. G. Evans