Col. Dixon Miles, 5th Division, Defends His Actions

14 09 2020


Col. Richardson, of the Federal Army, in his report of the late battles, reiterates the charge of drunkenness against Col. Dixson S. Miles, of the same army. The latter replies as follows, through the Washington Star:

Will you please give place in your columns to a short replay from an old soldier in correction of Col. Richardson’s report as published in this morning’s Sun. Perhaps no one has ever before been hunted with more assiduous, malicious vituperation and falsehood, since the battle of Bull Run, than myself. My name, I have been told, has been a bye-word in the streets of Washington and its bar-rooms for everything derogatory to my character. It was stated I had deserted to the enemy; I was a traitor, being from Maryland; a sympathizer; gave the order to retreat; was in arrest; and now, by Col Richardson’s report, drunk.

I will not copy Richardson’s report, but correct the errors he has committed, leaving to his future days a remorse he may feel t the irreparable injury he has inflicted on an old brother officer.

The order for retreat from Blackburn’s Ford, as communicated by my staff officer, emanated from Gen. McDowell, who directed two of my brigades to march on the Warrenton road as far as the bridge on Cub creek. I sent my Adjutant General, Captain Vincent, to bring up Davies’ and Richardson’s brigades, while I gave the order for Blenker’s brigade at Centreville to proceed down the Warrenton road. I accompanied these troops a part of the way, endeavoring to collect and halt the routed soldiers. I returned to Centreville heights as Col. Richardson, with his brigade, was coming into line of battle facing Blackburn’s Ford. His position was well chosen, and I turned my attention to the pacing of Davies’ brigade and the batteries. A part of Davies’ command was placed in echellon of regiments behind fences, in support of Richardson; another portion in reserve, in support of Hunt’s and Titball’s batteries.

After completing these arrangements, I returned to Blenker’s brigade, now near a mile from Centreville heights, took a regiment to cover Green’s battery, and returned to the heights. When I arrived there, just before dusk, I found all my previous arrangements of defence had been changed, not could I ascertain who had ordered it, for General McDowell was not on the field. Col. Richardson was the first person I spoke to after passing Captain Fry; he was leading his regiment into line of battle on the crest of the hill, and directly in the way of the batteries in rear. = It was here the conversation between the Colonel and myself took place which he alludes to in his report. Gen. McDowell just afterwards came on the field, and I appealed earnestly to him to permit me to command my division, and protested against the faulty disposition of the troops to resist an attack. – He replied by taking command himself and relieving me.

Col. Richardson states a conversation with Lt. Col. Stevens, of his command. I never say Col. Stevens, to my knowledge. I never gave him, or any one, the order to deploy his column; the order must have emanated from some one else, and hence my misfortune; for on his impression that I was drunk, those not immediately connected with me rung it over the field, without inquiry or investigation. – This is all that is proper for me to say at this time, as I have called for a court to investigate the whole transaction. Those who have read Richardson’s report will confer a favor to compare this statement with it; the discrepancies are glaring – the errors by deductions apparent.

D. S. Miles,
Colonel Second Infantry.

Richmond (VA) Dispatch, 8/6/1861

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“Trion,” Holmes’s Brigade, On the Battle

14 09 2020

From the Richmond Dispatch.

Holmes’ Brigade.

Richmond, Va., Aug. 9, 1861.

To the Editors of the Dispatch: – In all the accounts of the battle at Bull Run, I see in no place where Holmes’ Brigade is mentioned, and it is to do that gallant band justice that I now trouble you. – Holmes’ Brigade was stationed at Aquia Creek before the battle, it is now, though there has been some addition to it since then. On the 18th, before the memorable 21st, they were ordered to Manassas, arriving there Saturday, perfectly broken down, after a very fatiguing march, having had very little to eat, and very little sleep. On the next day they were awakened by the booming of cannon, and were soon ordered to fall in. They then stood there on their arms, expecting every moment to be ordered into the field, until 1 o’clock, when they marched in double-quick from the extreme right wig of the army to the left wing, a distance of eight miles. Though the enemy fired into their ranks a great part of the way, they pushed on unflinchingly. – After they arrived on the battle-field, Walker’s Battery, of the brigade, opened fire upon the enemy, doing great havoc in their ranks, causing a panic, and finally the grand rout. The firing was so fine that Gen. Beauregard inquired the name of the young man who fired the first shot, and complimented him publicly. Their cavalry also did their duty, killing a great many of the enemy, and taking a great many prisoners and canon.


The (Wilmington, NC) Daily Journal, 8/17/1861

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