Eyes on the Prize

3 10 2008

Toshiro Mifune as the Bandit Tajomaru

Sometimes the temptation to regale my reader with the brilliance of my opinion is difficult to resist.  But lately I’ve been trying to keep in mind that this site is more than a web log – in fact, the blog feature is secondary.  First and foremost, I want this to be a source for primary material related to the First Battle of Bull Run.  The WordPress blog platform just happens to be an easy (and cheap) alternative to a traditional web page.  That’s why you’ll notice that, while my posting pace has picked up considerably, I haven’t been putting up much original content.  Not to fear if you’re into that stuff, I’ll get back to it; at least I’ll be writing original articles as much as usual.  But please take time to read the reports and what have you (I’m almost done with the reports, but there’s lots of other good stuff coming); it’s cool to watch the story unfold through the eyes of the participants, in a Rashomon kind of way.

No disrespect to way-cool dudes Steve McQueen and Paul Newman, but was there ever a cooler cat than the one pictured above? (Did you know: Newman played the Mifune role in the American version of Rashomon, The Outrage.)

#52 – Maj. Henry G. Staples

3 10 2008

Report of Maj. Henry G. Staples, Third Maine Infantry

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp. 419-420


Clermont, Va., July 27, 1861

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operation of the regiment under my command, Third Maine Volunteers, at the battle at Bull Run, Sunday, July 21, 1861. My regiment left camp at Centreville at 2.30 o’clock on the morning of the 21st, with the Third Brigade, under your order. After a tedious march, we arrived at Bull Run, to within half a mile of the enemy’s battery. At 2 o’clock p.m. at this place the regiment was halted under cover of the woods in front, to recover from their fatigue. After remaining in this position some fifteen minutes we were ordered into line of battle, and proceeded to engage the enemy. They were marched to the top of the hill, one-fourth of a mile from their resting place, when the enemy’s battery opened upon us from the right with terrible effect. The men stood firm in their position, firing in volleys about twenty rounds with good effect, when they retired to the foot of the hill, reformed, and returned to the encounter. Finding we were wholly unsupported, there being none of our troops in sight and no batteries to assist us, we again retired, after a desperate struggle of about fifteen minutes, under a raking fire from the batteries of the enemy. My regiment retired from the field over the plain, in full-view of the enemy, in good order, but on reaching the woods became somewhat scattered. They soon rallied, however, and marched in retreat at route step to their camp at Centreville.

I would take this opportunity to mention the heroic conduct of several officers of the regiment, and particularly of Capt. E. Burt, of the brigade staff, who met me on the way and tendered his valuable services to act in capacity of adjutant. He deserves the hearty support and good-will of the entire regiment.

Captain Hesseltine, before leaving camp with his company, engaged in prayer, and was heard to say to his men, “Trust in God, stand by the flag, and you will know no fear.” They did stand by one and all, and the captain cared not for his own comfort, but ministered to the wants of the wounded, and conducted a part in safety to the camp.

Captains Sawyer, Heath, Lakeman, and Lieutenants Hatch, Hall, Wiggin, Colson, Johnson, Watson, Savage, and Harvey evinced true courage, kept their positions during the engagement till ordered to retire, and administered to the wants of the suffering.

The report of the killed, wounded, and missing, as far as can be ascertained, is as follows.(*)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

It is reported that some of the missing have been seen in Washington.

With respect, I have the honor to be, yours,


Major, Commanding Third Regiment Maine Volunteers

Col. O. O. HOWARD,

Commanding Third Brigade, Third Division, U.S. Army

(*) Embodied in division return, p. 405.