McDowell Forwards Intelligence on Enemy Dispositions to Army Headquarters

31 10 2020

CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, AND RETURNS RELATING TO OPERATIONS IN MARYLAND, PENNSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA, AND WEST VIRGINIA FROM APRIL 16 TO JULY 31, 1861

CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. – UNION

O. R. – Series I – VOLUME 2 [S #2] CHAPTER IX, pp. 722-723

[Memorandum for General Scott.]

Hdqrs. Department Northeastern Virginia,
Arlington, June 25, 1861.

Lieut. Col. E. D. Townsend,
Asst. Adjt. Gen., Headquarters of Army:

Statement of Mr. J—–u, a man on whom I rely:

Arrived at Fairfax Court-House Thursday, 20th instant; found there Prince William company and the Rappahannock—about sixty-five in each company. Friday morning these companies went to Fairfax Station, leaving nobody in the town. Friday night the South Carolina regiments began to come, and Saturday night it was said there were three regiments at the Court-House and another coming; saw the three himself—amounting to about 3,000 men. Started for the Junction about 8.30; went by Germantown and Centreville. At Germantown saw Gregg’s South Carolina regiment—about 1,000. The road between Fairfax and Centreville much obstructed about one mile before you get to the Bald Hill, where there are five cannon planted.

At Centreville, Bonham, of South Carolina, was in command. He had other troops besides his own regiment and the artillery. At Bull Bun there was an entrenchment on the right bank—four guns. Two regiments of South Carolinians stationed there; they had been there but a short time. Bull Bun Crossing is five miles from Centreville and two from Manassas Junction. Arrived at Manassas Junction at 10 o’clock a. m.; saw General Beauregard; staid until 3 p. m.; returned the same way he went. On reaching Bull Run, found the South Carolina regiments had struck their tents, had their wagons packed, and were moving in the direction of Centreville and Fairfax Court-House, taking their four cannon with them, occupying the road for about two miles. Had a difficulty in passing the column. The colonel asked if he had a pass; showed him one from General Beauregard; was then allowed to pass. He was cautioned by the colonel not to speak of movements of troops even to their own men. These regiments did not come to the Court-House. At Centreville things were not as they were when he went through first. At Germantown found Gregg’s regiment had broken up its camp and moved to the Court-House, and was encamped near the Little River turnpike, about one-quarter mile from the Court-House. Learned that Gregg’s place at Germantown had been supplied by another regiment or regiments, and supposes it may have been by those he passed at Bull Bun and those which were on the march to the front.
At Fairfax Station there were about 800 men—Virginians. The South Carolina regiments were all (except one—Spratt’s) about 1,000 men each. Forty of Gregg’s regiment had the measles. The two regiments on the march from Bull Bun had about fifty wagons for their baggage and supplies, old road and farmers’ wagons, five to six horses each. Wagons well crammed up to the bows. The South Carolina regiments were the best armed and equipped and in high spirits, “freezing for a fight,” being much elated by the Vienna affair. Negroes with them as servants. Cavalry, estimated, all told, 1,500; 500 Louisianians and 1,000 Virginians; mounted so-so as to Virginians; those from Louisiana good. Virginia cavalry armed irregularly with double-barreled shot-guns, pistols, fowling-pieces, some carbines, and sabers. Horse furniture indifferent, made up of odds and ends. Louisiana cavalry better in all respects—men, horses, arms, and equipments. The total at the Junction and the places this side he estimated at 20,000, all told. There are twenty Kentucky well-mounted guerrillas. Five of them took the Connecticut man prisoner. The Connecticut man seemed well pleased with being a prisoner. Subsistence, chiefly ship biscuit and fresh beef. Crops—wheat very fine; grass, corn, and oats indifferent. They seemed to be expecting an attack from us. Saw no guns at Germantown. Saw five guns harnessed at Court-House. Saw five guns at Centreville. Saw four guns at Bull Bun.

I have the honor to remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

IRVIN MCDOWELL,
Brigadier- General.


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