Report of Col. R. C. W. Radford, Thirtieth Virginia Cavalry, of Operations of Cavalry Brigade, July 17 to 20
O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp. 457-458
CAMP GREGG, VIENNA, July 27, 1861
CAPTAIN: In accordance with special order dated headquarters First Brigade, Camp Beauregard, Army of Potomac, July 23, 1861, I have the honor to report that at early dawn on the 17th instant I was informed of the approach of the enemy on Fairfax Court-House. Captain Ball’s company was sent out to watch their movements, and remained out until the main body of our forces had taken up the line of retreat, in consequence of which he was compelled to abandon a portion of his baggage. A squadron, composed of the companies of Captains Wickham and Flood, was ordered to report to Colonel Kershaw, to form a part of the rear guard of the advanced forces.
A squadron under Colonel Munford and three companies under my own command were stationed in central positions, so as to operate as might be deemed necessary. Lieutenant-Colonel Munford acted during the retreat with Colonel Bacon’s regiment, and the companies under my own command with Colonel Cash’s regiment.
The only loss sustained by the cavalry during the retreat was of Privates William Mallow and John Mays, of the company under Captain Pitzer, who were on picket duty on a very advanced post, and are supposed to have been taken prisoners by the enemy. The retreat was conducted in perfect order and to my entire satisfaction, bringing off everything, with the exception of the articles left by Captain Ball. At Centreville a halt of several hours was made, when Captains Payne and Powell were ordered with their companies to watch the movements of the enemy. Two strong pickets, under command of Lieutenants Halsey and Brocker, were also sent on the roads occupied by the enemy. A detail of five men was also made to go, during the night of the 17th instant, with Colonel Lipscomb to reconnoiter on the cross-roads leading into the Braddock road.
While making the reconnaissance this party was fired into by a scouting party of the enemy, and Private William Walton’s horse shot under him, in consequence of which he was forced to leave him with all his equipage. The party returned without further accident, and my command left Centreville at midnight for Mitchell’s Ford, on Bull Run, and took a position immediately in rear of General Bonham’s headquarters.
On the 18th instant the cavalry under my command were under fire from the enemy’s cannon for two hours, and were then ordered to occupy the position between the brigades of Generals Cocke and Bonham. After the firing had ceased I was ordered, with my command, to examine all of the fords on Bull Run and to scour the country. We continued to watch the fords until the morning of the 21st instant.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. C. W. RADFORD,
Colonel Virginia Volunteers, Comdg. Cavalry, First Brigade
Asst. Adjt. Gen., First Brigade, Army of the Potomac