#3 – Col. Maxcy Gregg

11 12 2020

Report of Col. Maxcy Gregg, 1st SOuth Carolina Infantry. [On the Action at Vienna, June 17, 1861]

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp 128-130

Camp near Fairfax Court-House,
June 18, 1861—1.30 a. m.

Colonel : In pursuance of orders received at 1 o’clock a. m. on the 16th of June, I proceeded in the forenoon of that day to make a reconnaissance across the country towards the Potomac. Marching from this place with my regiment (about five hundred and seventy-five strong), after leaving a large camp guard and Captain Ball’s troop of horse, numbering about seventy, including a detachment from Captain Wickham’s troop, I met at the Frying-pan Church Captain Terry’s troop of horse, about seventy strong (including a detachment of Captain Langhorne’s company), and two guns of Captain Kemper’s battery, commanded by him in person, and with thirty-four men. With this force I went on to Dranesville, learning on the way that some four hundred of the enemy came up the Alexandria and Leesburg turnpike the same day, about 1 o’clock p. m., to within a mile or two of Hunter’s Mill, and then returned.

Early in the morning of the 17th I rode with a troop of horse to the heights on this side of the Potomac, opposite to Seneca Creek, and went in person to the bank of the river to reconnoiter. I could see but few troops of the enemy, and no boats prepared for crossing the river. We marched down afterwards, under the guidance of Capt. John Powell, a high-spirited and highly intelligent and most zealous friend of our cause, to Hunter’s Mill, where, if the enemy had been engaged in repairing the railroad bridge, a plan of attack devised by Captain Powell would have offered the best chances of success. We found, however, no sign of the enemy, and only some railroad cars still smoking, which had been destroyed by our friends in the neighborhood.

We then marched to Vienna, and drew up our forces in readiness to receive the enemy if they should repeat the visit made for the last two days. Nothing being seen of them, however, and the water-tank having been demolished to increase the obstacle already caused by the removal of the lead-pipe for conveying water, I put the command in march for Fairfax Court-House.

Toward 6 o’clock p. m., just as we were moving off, a distant railroad whistle was heard. I marched the troops back, placing the two 6-pounder guns on the hill commanding the bend of the railroad, immediately supported by Company B, First South Carolina Volunteers, Lieutenant McIntosh. The rest of the regiment, under Lieutenant-Colonel Hamilton, was formed on the crest of the hill to the right of the guns. The cavalry were drawn up still farther to the right.

The train of cars came round the curve of the railroad into sight at the distance perhaps of four hundred yards. Captain Kemper and Lieutenant Stuart opened a rapid and well-aimed fire with the two guns, which would have been very destructive if the troops had not made a most rapid movement from the cars into the woods. Supposing that they might form and advance, I sent Companies A, Captain Miller, and E, Captain Gadberry, to deploy as skirmishers against them. Afterwards, finding that they were flying, I sent Captain Terry with his troop, guided by Mr. G. W. Hunter, a zealous friend of the cause, in pursuit. From the lateness of the hour, however, the nature of the ground, and the start which the enemy had, they could not be overtaken. Six of the enemy were found dead and one desperately wounded. Blood was also found in the bushes through which they had fled, but the darkness prevented any serious search. One passenger car and five platform cars were taken and burned. It seems from information which we gathered that five or six more cars belonging to the same train, and perhaps a number of cars in a second train, escaped by a precipitate retreat.

The wounded prisoner represented the number of the enemy’s force as eight hundred and fiftv men, and said that it was the Fifth [First] Regiment of Ohio Volunteers, commanded by Colonel McCook. Various arms, accouterments, and tools were taken, and one officer’s sword without a scabbard.

My orders requiring me to avoid any unnecessary engagement, and not to remain absent from my camp more than one night, I marched back to this place, where I arrived about 1 o’clock this morning. I have every reason to be satisfied with the conduct of all our troops. Captain Kemper’s command showed great ardor, combined with discipline. Captain Kemper’s and Lieutenant Stuart’s skill in the management of guns left. nothing to desire. Lieutenant-Colonel Hamilton led the First Regiment with his usual gallantry of bearing, duly seconded by Major Smith, Lieutenant Ready (acting adjutant), and Captain McGowan, regimental quartermaster. Dr. Powell, surgeon, and Dr. Bull, assistant surgeon, had little to do, as the fire of musketry with which the enemy in scrambling out of the cars replied to our cannonade was straggling and ineffective. Major Kennedy, commissary, and Captain Tyler, volunteer on my staff, were prompt to carry orders and to give valuable counsel. The companies of Captains Miller and Gadberry, though greatly fatigued with two days’ rough march in hot sun and dust, appeared revived at once when thrown forward as skirmishers against the enemy. The same spirit was shown by all the other companies of the regiment. Lieutenant Bragg, of Company M, proved himself ready and skillful in deranging the railroad track. Captains Terry and Ball and the cavalry which they led commanded my entire confidence by their bearing, and only needed opportunity for more effective action. We arrived here about 1 o’clock this morning.

I have the honor to be, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

MAXCY GREGG,
Colonel First Regiment S. C. Vols., Comdg. at Fairfax Court-House.

Col. W. C. Moragne,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Centreville.





#2 – Brig. Gen. Robert C. Schenck

11 12 2020

Report of Brig. Gen. Robert C. Schenck, U. S. Army. [On the Action at Vienna, June 17, 1861]

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp 126-128

Left camp with 668 rank and file, 29 field and company officers, in pursuance of General McDowell’s orders, to go upon this expedition with the available force of one of my regiments, the regiment selected being the First Ohio Volunteers. Left two companies—Company I and Company K, aggregate 135 men—at the crossing of the roads. Sent Lieutenant-Colonel Parrott, with two companies, 117 men, to Falls Church, and to patrol roads in that direction. Stationed two companies—D and F, 135 men—to guard railroad and bridge between the crossing and Vienna. Proceeded slowly to Vienna with four companies—Company E, Captain Paddock; Company C, Lieutenant Woodward, afterwards joined by Captain Pease ; Company G, Captain Bailey ; Company H, Hazlett ; total, 271 men.

On turning the curve slowly, within one-quarter of a mile of Vienna, were fired upon by raking masked batteries of, I think, three guns, with shells, round-shot, and grape, killing and wounding the men on the platform and in the cars before the train could be stopped. When the train stopped, the engineer could not, on account of damage to some part of the running machinery, draw the train out of the fire, the engine being in the rear. We left the cars, and retired to right and left of train through the woods. Finding that the enemy’s batteries were sustained by what appeared about a regiment of infantry and by cavalry, which force we have since understood to have been some fifteen hundred South Carolinians, we fell back along the railroad, throwing out skirmishers on both flanks; and this was about 7 p. m. Thus we retired slowly, bearing off our wounded, five miles, to this point, which we reached at 10 o’clock.

Casualties.—Captain Hazlett’s company, H, 2 known to be killed, 3 wounded, 5 missing; Captain Bailey’s company, G, 3 killed, 2 wounded, 2 missing; Captain Paddock’s company, E, 1 officer slightly wounded; Captain Pease’s, 2 missing.

The engineer, when the men left the cars, instead of retiring slowly, as I ordered, detached his engine with one passenger car from the rest of the disabled train and abandoned us, running to Alexandria, and we have heard nothing from him since. Thus we were deprived of a rallying point, and of all means of conveying the wounded, who had to be carried on litters and in blankets. We wait here, holding the roads for reenforcements. The enemy did not pursue.

I have ascertained that the enemy’s force at Fairfax Court-House, four miles from Vienna, is now about four thousand.

When the batteries opened upon us, Major Hughes was at his station on the foremost platform car. Colonel McCook was with me in one of the passenger cars. Both these officers, with others of the commissioned officers and many of the men, behaved most coolly under this galling fire, which we could not return, and from batteries which we could not flank or turn from the nature of the ground, if my force had been sufficient. The approach to Vienna is through a deep, long cut in the railway. In leaving the cars, and before they could rally, many of my men lost haversacks or blankets, but brought off all their muskets, except, it may be, a few that were destroyed by the enemy’s first fire or lost with the killed.

ROBT. C. SCHENCK,
Brigadier- General.

[Received at the War Department June 18,1861.]

I am enabled now to give you additional and exact details of the affair near Vienna last evening. A perfectly reliable Union man, residing in Vienna, [and who] was there during the attack, has arrived, bringing with him, in patriotic and Christian kindness, the six bodies of our killed who were left behind. I have sent them to Camp Lincoln by the train which has just left for burial. He reports also one wounded man remaining at Vienna, John Volmer, of Company G, for whom I have just sent an assistant surgeon and two men with the same gentleman who brought the killed in his wagon, carrying a flag of truce, to be displayed if necessary. When the wounded man arrives I will send him forward by a train to my camp, to be conveyed from there to Georgetown Hospital by ambulance.

The casualties, as I now am able accurately to state them, are as follows:

Dead, 8.—Captain Hazlett’s: 1st, George Morrison, of Company H, brought in to-day. 2d, David Mercer, of same company, brought off the field to this place, and died here. 3d, Daniel Sullivan, of Captain Bailey’s company, G. 4th, Joseph Smith, Company G, brought in to-day. 5th, Philip Strade, Company G. 6th, Thomas Finton, Company G. 7th, Eugene Burke, Company G. 8th, J. R. T. Barnes, Company G, shot in the passenger car that was carried away from us by the engineer, and died on his way to this camp.

Wounded and yet living, 4.—1st, David Gates, Company G, dangerously. 2d, B. F. Lanman, Company G, severely, but not dangerously. 3d, Henry Pigman, Company H, dangerously. (Those three were sent to the hospital this morning.) 4th, John Volmer, Company G, supposed dangerously; yet at Vienna and sent for.

Total killed and wounded, 12. None, I believe, are now missing.

From the same reliable source I ascertain that the whole force attacking us was at least 2,000, as follows: South Carolina troops, 800; these had left Fairfax Court-House on Sunday and gone over to the railway; two [hundred] came down yesterday through Hunter’s Grove. They sent, anticipating our coming to Fairfax Court-House, for 2,000 additional infantry, of whom only from 600 to 1,000 arrived before the attack. The enemy had cavalry, numbering, it is believed, not less than 200, and, in addition to these, was a body of 150 armed picked negroes, who were posted nearest us in a grain field on our left flank, but not observed by us, as they lay flat in the grain and did not fire a gun. The enemy had three pieces of artillery, concealed by the curve of the railway as we passed out of the cut, and more pieces of ordnance—six, our informant believes—arrived on the field, but not in time for action. The three pieces thus placed were fired very rapidly; must have been managed by skillful artillerists; but I cannot learn who was in command of the enemy. Our men picked up and brought away several round and grape shot, besides two or three shells, which did not explode because the Borman fuse had not been cut. This raking fire was kept up against the cars and upon us as we retired through the woods and along each side of the railway. Its deadliest effect was on Company G, on the third platform car from the front, and on Company H, on the second platform car. Company E, on the foremost car, was not touched. The first firing raked the train diagonally with round shot; the other, before the train came to a full stop, was cross-firing with canister and shells through the hind cars. The pieces were at a distance of about 150 yards, and no muskets or rifles were brought into action.

The rebels must have believed that our number far exceeded the little force of 271, or else I cannot understand why they made no pursuit nor came out, as we could discover, from the rise of ground behind which they were posted with their overwhelming numbers.

The enemy’s whole force left Vienna last night between 10 and 12 o’clock; supposed to have gone to Fairfax Court-House. It is understood that there is a considerable force assembled at that point, but cannot ascertain how many. None of the bridges have been burned, nor the railway interfered with, between this point and Vienna since we came down the road.

I send this, as we remain at this point without other facilities for correspondence or writing except to communicate by the Army telegraph, and I trust you will accept it in place of a formal written report.

I am, just now ordered by Brigadier-General Tyler to move forward with my brigade in the direction of Falls Church, for which I am now getting in readiness. I have already spoken of the skill and coolness with which Colonel McCook and Major Hughes, with other officers, helped to conduct our retirement to this place. It was a very slow and painful march, carrying in the arms of the men and in blankets and on rude litters made by the way their wounded comrades. But I must not omit to mention others.

Adjt. J. S. Parrott, my aide, Lieutenant Raynor, and Surgeon McMallen gave effective assistance. The company officers who were under fire generally behaved with coolness and gallantry. Captain Pease, of Company C, especially distinguished himself in protecting our rear and flanks, and I warmly recommend him to favorable consideration. The non-commissioned officers and men generally also behaved extremely well on the march, as we retired along the road. Captain Crowe, with Company D, which was among those I had left as patrol guards on the railway as we passed up, came up handsomely at double-quick step to our support, and Lieut. Col. E. A. Parrott, with his detachment of two companies, which had been thrown out to Falls Church and on the roads in that neighborhood, hearing of the attack on our advance, hastened by a cross-road to the line of the railroad to join and give us any support required.

I have, in my former dispatch, mentioned the disregard of my instructions and cowardly desertion of us by the engineer of the train. His name, I understand, is Gregg. One of the brakemen, Dormin, joined us, and carried a musket and gave good help. The enemy, I learn, burned that part of the train which was abandoned by the engineer.

ROBT. C. SCHENCK,
Brigadier- General.





#1 – Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell

11 12 2020

Report of Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell, U. S. Army. [On the Action at Vienna, June 17, 1861]

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp 124-125

Headquarters Department Northeastern Virginia,
Arlington, June 18, 1861.

I have the honor to inclose a copy of my written instructions to General Schenck, under which his movement was made yesterday afternoon. The point to which it was intended the regiment should go by train, and establish itself for the twenty-four hours, had been occupied, for the day before, by the Sixty-ninth New York Regiment, under Colonel Hunter, commanding the brigade. The latter regiment had been sent there, on the return of General Tyler from his reconnaissance up the road, as an advance guard and a protection to the road, which had been repaired in anticipation of the demonstration I was to make on the notification of the General-in-Chief in favor of the attack on Harper’s Ferry. It is said the attack on the Ohio regiment was made by the South Carolinians. If so, they must have been moved forward from Centreville, where they have been stationed for some time past. This would seem to indicate that the reports of an advance of troops to their posts in front of this position are well founded. I have asked if it would accord with the plans of the General-in-Chief that a movement be made in force in the direction of Vienna, near which the attack was made. I learn from a reliable source that the force at Fairfax Court-House has been increased. Had the attack not been made, I would not suggest this advance at this time; but now that it has, I think it would not be well for us to seem even to withdraw. General Schenck applies for permission to send a flag of truce to Vienna to bury his dead and care for his wounded. I do not think this necessary for either purpose, but think the morale of the troops would be increased if they went over the ground again with arms in their hands. The distance by turnpike from Falls Church to Vienna is about six miles.

General Tyler, who is in advance, sends me word that he sees the country as far as Falls Church. No signs of any movement. He wants no more troops than he has, unless it is intended to hold permanently the position he occupies.

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

Irvin McDowell,
Brigadier General, Commanding.

Lieut. Col. E. D. Townsend,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Headquarters Army, Washington.

[Inclosure.]

Headquarters Department Northeastern Virginia,
Arlington, June 17, 1861.

Brigadier-General Schenck, Commanding Ohio Brigade:

Sir: The general commanding directs that you send one of the regiments of your command, on a train of cars, up the Loudoun and Hampshire Railroad to the point where it crosses the wagon-road running from Fort Corcoran, opposite Georgetown, southerly into Virginia.

The regiment, being established at that point, will, by suitable patrols, feel the way along the road towards Falls Church and Vienna, moving, however, with caution, and making it a special duty to guard effectually the railroad bridges and to look to the track. The regiment will go supplied for a tour of duty of twenty-four hours, and will move on the arrival at your camp of a train of cars ordered for that purpose, and will relieve all the troops of Colonel Hunter’s brigade now guarding the line.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JAMES B. FRY,
Assistant Adjutant-General.





Burnham’s Report

23 08 2009

You won’t find Colonel George S. Burnham’s name listed as commander of the 1st Connecticut Volunteers on most First Bull Run orders of battle: not R. M. Johnston’s, not John Hennessy’s, not Ed Bearss’, not Joanna McDonald’s, not even online OOBs like the NPS and Wikipedia.  I suspect the reasons behind these works listing Lt. Col. John Speidel at the head of the regiment that day are the result of two factors: the lack of an official report for the regiment; and the failure of Col. E. M. Keyes to name Burnham in his report, which recognizes the other regimental commanders in Keyes’s brigade and mentions Speidel, though not as commanding the 1st CT.  But Burnham wrote this history of the regiment’s brief existence for the Connecticut Adjutant General, and NPS Ranger Jim Burgess pointed me to a couple of contemporary newspaper articles which state that Burnham was on the field with the regiment during the battle:

It is a fact that our Connecticut troops stormed a battery before which the regulars had previously been repulsed.  The Third Regiment suffered most severely.  The enemy fought chiefly from behind masked batteries, and when one was taken they had another concealed which commanded it.  Three, however, were taken by great bravery in succession.  Col. Burnham, of the Connecticut First, distinguished himself for his coolness and courage. – “Return Home of the First Regiment”, Hartford, The Daily Courant, July 27, 1861

We kept on fighting, Gen. Tyler assuring us we had won the day.  He acted Bravely; so did Col. Keyes and Col. Spiedel; Col. Burnham stood by his regiment.– “Capt. Fitzgibbon’s Statement”, Hartford, The Daily Courant, July 29, 1861

This was enough for me to show Burnham as in command of the regiment on my order of battle for McDowell’s army.  A few weeks ago, I happened upon a website maintained by paleontologist William Parker, which I described in this post.  An exchange of emails with Mr. Parker, a descendant of a member of the 1st CT, informed me of the existence of an after action report written within days of the battle by Col. Burnham.  The report, Mr. Parker informed me, resides at the Connecticut State Library in Hartford.  It just so happens that, at the time I learned this, Facebook friend and Bull Runnings reader Dr. Lesley Gordon was in Hartford at the State Library doing research on her upcoming book on the 16th CT.  While I didn’t get in touch with her in time for her to copy the document, Dr. Gordon did put me in contact with Mel Smith, a librarian with the History and Genealogy Unit at the Library.  About two weeks later, at a cost of $5.22, I received a photocopy of the handwritten Official Report of Colonel George S. Burnham of the Battle of Bull Run, dated July 24, 1861, which I transcribed and posted here.  I inserted a few words or interpreted words of questionable legibility in brackets, and made a few paragraph breaks, but otherwise the report was transcribed as written.

I think in the absence of any positive evidence to the contrary, we have to accept that Col. George S. Burnham was indeed in command of the 1st CT Volunteers on July 21, 1861.  Thanks to Jim Burgess, William Parker, Lesley Gordon and Mel Smith for all your help.

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#18b – Col. George S. Burnham

21 08 2009

Unpublished Report

Report of Colonel George L. Burnham, First Connecticut Volunteers

Photocopy from Connecticut State Library in Site Owner’s Collection (*)

Fort Corcoran near Washington, DC

July 24th, 1861

Sir, I have the honor to report that we started from our Bivouac at Centreville at 2 O’Clock on the morning of the 21st of July, keeping the Warrentown Turnpike for about four miles, my regiment leading the Brigade.  There the Brigade was ordered to file off the road into the fields to allow troops to pass, the Brigade being held in reserve that day. After waiting some three hours, we filed again into the road.  Proceeding some two miles we again halted for a short time.  We then were ordered to advance.  Emerging from the woods through which we passed we were opened upon with a very heavy fire of shells from some two or three of the enemies batteries.  The troops dropping at the flash of the guns, most of the shells went over us, but few doing any serious damage.  Advancing at the double quick obliquely to [the] right of the road, we passed the building afterwards used as a hospital.  I met Gen. McDowell [and] was ordered by him to march by the left flank (we then were marching by the right.)  Passing through a narrow strip of woods we came in full view of the enemy, upon whom we immediately opened fire, and as well as I could judge, with considerable effect.  We then were ordered to march by the Left Flank, following the Connecticut 2d.  Being very hotly attacked by the enemies fire we kept well under the hill which protected our men to a great degree.  We were ordered to charge on one of the batteries but it was countermanded by yourself as [it] was evident that it would be a perfect annihilation of our men.  We then made attacks on the enemy whenever a favorable opportunity presented itself. 

About 4 O’Clock we had orders to change our position marching by the right flank, the Conn. 2d filing past.  Proceeding to the Hospital we learnt of the rout of our Army.  My regiment kept in most excellent good order, although hotly pressed by the enemies fire.  Reaching the woods we soon after met the enemies Cavalry in full charge, but my regiment standing its ground and one of our guns opening fire on them, they soon left us.  Coming up soon after with the N. Y. 2d under command of the Lieut. Colonel (the Colonel being absent) who placed his regiment with my own under my command, but had gone but a short distance when seeing Gen. Schenck the commander of their Brigade I placed myself and regiment under his command for a short time.

Reaching Cub Run I vainly tried to rescue the Parrot gun which was mired [by the] side of the road.  Fording the stream the staff of our color State Color was shot in two, but our colors on that day were not dishonored, but were brought off the field.

We then came up to Col. Miles Brigade which were held as reserve, and most nobly did he do his duty.  His presence with his Brigade held in most admirable order revived the [drooping?] spirits of the tired and retreating soldiers who immediately took fresh courage.  And the enemies Cavalry which up to this time and had pressed most earnestly and severely on our troops concluded it was time for them to retire, which they did much to our satisfaction.  We then marched into our old Bivouac Grounds in Centreville in as good order as when we first reached them the day Thursday before. 

Consoling ourselves that we were the first Regiment in the field, of the Brigade, and the last (as far as I could see) of all out of it our loss being eight wounded and nine missing.  And allow me to say that the Troops could not have behaved better, faithfully obeying every order and were [easily?] handled, my adjutant being my assistant. 

Resting awhile at Centreville we were ordered back to camp at Falls Church which place we reached after daybreak the 22d.  Striking our tents according to orders we remained all day in a most drenching rain, which occasioned very much suffering among the men on account of the very fatiguing duties of the day before and the wanting of rest.  At dark marching down with the two other Conn. Regiments we took possession of the two Ohio camps (1st & 2d) where with the Conn. 3d we rested for the night.  Next morning we struck the tents and with all the Camp Equipage &c we sent to Alexandria, the Conn. 2d doing the same thing for the N.Y. 2d.  The Three Regiments then marched to Fort Corcoran arriving at about sundown, well worn out.

My men, through this severe trial, seemed to vie with each other to find the least complaint of their sufferings, excepting, of course, those who basely deserted their colors or refused to go into the field on that eventful day, those complaining the most that suffered the least.

I hope I may be excused if there is any discrepancy in the report as I have been suffering with a most painful attack of neuraligy and with which I now suffer with redoubled force owing to my recent exposure.

I have the honor to be your most obdt servant

Geo. S. Burnham

Col. 1st Regt Conn. Vol.

To Col. E. D. Keyes

Commanding First Brigade

(*) All but last two paragraph breaks not in original.  [ ] are edited into text.





Cool Find

20 08 2009

ArthurIn today’s snail-mail I received an after action report that is not in The Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies or any other printed collection, as far as I know; and has not been used in any history of the battle, as far as I know.  I have to transcribe it, since what I received is a photocopy of the handwritten report.  First I’ll post a short article on how I came by this document (a couple of people to thank for that), then I’ll post the report to the Resources.  Readers are what make a project like this work, and I couldn’t do it without you guys.





#6a – [USA] Casualties, July 21, 1861 – Regimental

31 03 2009

O.R.–SERIES I–VOLUME LI/1 [S# 107], pp. 17-19

6ap17vol51pt1

6ap18vol51pt1

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#121 – [CSA] Casualties, July 21, 1861

30 03 2009

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, p 570

121p570

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#4a – Col. Thomas A. Davies

27 03 2009

Report of Col. Thomas A. Davies, Sixteenth New York Infantry, Commanding Second Brigade, Fifth Division, of Skirmish at Fairfax Court-House, July 17

O.R.–SERIES I–VOLUME LI/1 [S# 107], pp. 19-20

HEADQUARTERS SECOND BRIGADE, FIFTH DIVISION,

July 17, 1861

Agreeably to General Orders, No. 9, the Second Brigade, commanded by me, consisting of the Sixteenth, Eighteenth, Thirty-first, and Thirty-second Regiments, and Company G, Second Artillery (Greene’s light battery), took the advance of the Fifth Division, moving on Fairfax Court-House by way of the old Braddock road south of the turnpike road. I found the road very difficult for heavy artillery and barricaded by trees felled across the road as often as once in a quarter of a mile, requiring the constant use of the pioneer corps. After passing very many of these barricades we came to a blind barricade directly across the road and evidently intended for artillery.  After making reconnaissance we found a small picket posted behind it, when my advanced pickets were ordered to charge and fire upon them, which they did, dispersing it under a running fire. No one on our side was injured, and we never turned aside to ascertain whether any of the enemy were killed or not; the pickets reported, however, seeing several men fall.  This running fire and reconnaissance was continued to within one mile of the Fairfax Court-House, the enemy continuing retreating and firing upon our advancing pickets at every convenient opportunity.  After the exchange of fires a reconnaissance was made, discovering many abandoned masked batteries, and at last quite an extensive temporary fortification about one mile and a half from Fairfax Court-House, out of which we drove the enemy, who left their camp equipage, clothing, swords, and the like. We then pressed on to the encampment of the Fifth Alabama Regiment, which fled before us, leaving many valuable articles, guns, camp equipage, tents, corn, stores, and their hospital sick, taking the road, as we understood, to Centerville and Manassas Junction.  At this point, having received information that General McDowell had taken possession of Fairfax Court-House, the Fifth Division encamped, partly on the ground of the Fifth Alabama and the balance in the vicinity of the cross-roads. I have to report to you that we had three men wounded–one in the leg, one in the side, and one through the hand. We did not stop to examine the effect of shots which we made, but it is reported to me that as many as fifteen to twenty were seen to fall in the woods. I have to report to you further the energetic manner in which Lieutenant-Colonel Young, of the Eighteenth Regiment, in charge of the advance guard, performed his duty, and further that not a single man of any regiment fell back for an instant, but, on the contrary, the most determined bravery was displayed by every man who came in contact with the enemy.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

THOS. A. DAVIES,

Colonel, Comdg. 2d Brig., 5th Div., Troops Northeastern Virginia

Colonel MILES,

Commanding Fifth Division





#79 – Lieut. C. W. Squires

24 03 2009

Report of Lieut. C. W. Squires, Washington Artillery, of Action at Blackburn’s Ford

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp. 467-469

CAMP LOUISIANA, August 1, 1861

SIR: I have the honor to make the following report:

Early on the morning of the 18th ultimo the three pieces of artillery under my command were ordered to march in the direction of Blackburn’s Ford with Col. Jubal A. Early’s brigade. On reaching McLean’s farm house we were joined by two more pieces of our battalion, under command of Lieut. J. B. Whittington and L. A. Adam. We were directed by the commanding officer (Colonel Early) to form one battery and act together. We were ordered to take position behind a piece of woods within a short distance of Bull Run, and place the command in such a position as would enable us to move in any direction. We had not been in this position ten minutes before the enemy began firing rifled shell and round shot at the hospital which was on our right, but did little or no execution. Soon after we heard the firing of our infantry, which was apparently returned by the enemy with musketry and cannon. We now received orders to take our battery to an open ground within a half mile of Blackburn’s Ford, where we were again halted, with instructions to follow behind the Seventh Louisiana Regiment with two rifled cannon, holding one rifled and two 6-pounders in reserve with Colonel Kemper’s volunteer regiment. The guns were detached under Lieutenant Richardson, assisted by Capt. B. F. Eshleman, of the Fourth Company, who had been with us during the morning. We were now joined by Lieut. J. J. Garnett with a section which was attached to General Longstreet’s brigade.

Hearing firing, and supposing it to be our rifled cannon under Lieutenant Richardson, I left the five pieces under command of Lieutenant Garnett, and rode in that direction to see if my battery of five pieces in the rear could be used, and get orders to bring them on the field. I found the guns in battery firing through a thick piece of woods, and appeared to have done good execution, as the enemy were now driven back and nothing could be seen of them. Lieutenant Garnett in the mean time received orders to join us, which he did. The guns were ordered to form in battery on the left, which order was promptly obeyed. Orders came to cease firing, as the enemy had retreated. We rested about fifteen minutes, when a courier came, stating that the enemy had rallied and the infantry were marching in column of companies to attack our battery on the right flank. We then received orders to find out their position and commence firing, which order was obeyed.

We at first directed our fire against the infantry, whose bayonets we could see over the tree tops, but had not fired five rounds before the enemy brought a battery in position on a high hill directly in front of us and opened their fire. I immediately gave orders to the gunners to fire a little below the point from whence the smoke of the enemy’s guns came. The firing now became general on both sides, the enemy firing at first over our heads, but gradually getting our range. We returned their fire, and were informed by General Longstreet that we were doing great execution. The enemy’s guns ceased firing for a few minutes, and it appeared that something had happened. Our battery in the mean time kept up rapid firing. The enemy soon opened again, their shells bursting in the very midst of our battery, wounding Capt. Eshleman, Privates H. L. Zebel, J. A. Tarleton, and G. W. Muse, of First Company, and Privates H. Tully and A. Baker, of Third Company; also Lieutenant Richardson’s horse, the lieutenant himself barely escaping with his life. G. W. Muse died of his wound during the night.

At this point Lieutenant Garnett brought orders from the general commanding to advance by hand to the front, which was no sooner executed than a shower of shell, spherical case, and round shot flew over our heads. One of our guns was disabled, the vent having been enlarged, which rendered it useless. Seeing that our men could not stand the work much longer I sent Lieutenant Garnett to General Longstreet, commanding him to state our condition. He brought an order to withdraw piece by piece from the left, leaving one piece to return the fire of the enemy, gun for gun. It was evident that the enemy was retiring, as his shots were few and long intervals between each discharge. At this juncture we were ordered to fire the last gun at the retreating foe.

To Lieutenants Richardson, Garnett, and Whittington I would call your especial attention, all having behaved well. To Sergeants E. Owen, J. M. Galbraith, and J. M. Brewer, and Corporals Ruggles, Payne, Fellows, and Ellis, and to all the cannoneers and drivers I am much indebted for coolness and obedience to all my orders. I would recommend most highly to your kind attention Sergeants Edward Owen and John M. Galbraith. They behaved gallantly through the whole engagements, reporting at every moment the different positions of their guns and every little item of interest connected therewith.

We fired three hundred and ten rounds during the engagement, had one horse killed and five wounded.

Very respectfully, major, your obedient servant,

C. W. SQUIRES,

First Lieutenant, Battalion Washington Artillery

Maj. J. B. WALTON,

Commanding Battalion Washington Artillery