#71 – Col. E. B. C. Cash

13 03 2009

Report of Col. E. B. C. Cash, Eighth South Carolina Infantry, of Operations July 18 and 19

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, p. 457


Camp Victory, July 31, 1861

In obedience to orders from the general commanding the First Brigade, Army of the Potomac, I beg leave to submit the following report of the operations of the Eighth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers during the 18th, 19th, and 20th July instant:

Having sufficiently recovered from a serious attack of sickness I assumed command of my regiment on the morning of the 18th, and found it posted on the south side of Bull Run, on the extreme left, my right resting on the left of Colonel Williams’ Third Regiment South Carolina Volunteers. On the 18th there was heavy cannonading to the right of my position, and occasionally balls and shells were thrown very near my lines. On the 19th and 20th my position was strongly fortified by voluntary labor from my regiment. On the 19th Colonel Kershaw’s regiment was posted upon my left, and with it Captain Kemper’s battery of light artillery. I have the honor to be, general, your obedient servant,

E. B. C. CASH,

Colonel Eighth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers

Brig. Gen. M. L. BONHAM

#70 – Lieut. Col. J. W. Henagan

12 03 2009

Report of Lieut. Col. J. W. Henagan, Commanding Eighth South Carolina Infantry, of Operations July 17 and 18

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp. 455-457


Camp Victor, Vienna, July 29, 1861

In obedience to General Orders, No.–, from headquarters First Brigade, Army of the Potomac, I ask leave to report the operations of the Eighth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers from the morning of the 17th to the 18th instant, inclusive, during which time, in consequence of the illness of Colonel Cash, the command devolved upon me.

At a very early hour on the morning of the 17th repeated and rapid discharges of artillery and musketry were reported at a distance of from two to three miles to my right. This proved to be an attack by the advance guard of the enemy’s columns upon pickets stationed on the Falls Church and Alexandria roads. These pickets having been driven in, orders from brigade headquarters required me to take position behind the intrenchments which had been thrown up at a distance of three hundred yards in front of my camp on both sides of the road leading from Germantown towards the Flint Hill school-house, and known as the Old Georgetown road. A gun from Captain Shields’ howitzer battery had been previously placed in position on the right of this road, and was in charge of Lieutenant McCarthy. For the protection of this piece I threw Company G, Captain Harrington, into the trenches on the right, and detailed Company C, Captain Coit, to operate as skirmishers in the woods on the extreme right of the earthworks. Company D, Captain Miller, was deployed at a distance of one hundred and fifty yards in front and on the left of my position. Company A, Captain Hoole, was on picket at a barricade one and a quarter miles in advance, on the Flint Hill road, and Captain Hough, of Company B, with part of his command, was on picket at a point on the Fox Mill road about one mile to the left of Captain Hoole. The remainder of Company B, under Lieutenant Johnson, was stationed at a stone bridge one and a quarter miles from Germantown, on the Little River turnpike, in the direction of Centreville. These pickets had been placed overnight, and received orders at a very early hour from brigade headquarters to dispute every inch of ground if driven in during the day.

The firing which had been first heard upon the right gradually inclined towards the left, indicating a movement towards my front. A few minutes before 8 o’clock the enemy appeared in large force, advancing upon the barricade behind which Captain Hoole was stationed–his skirmishers beating the woods on both sides and far to the left. Captain Hoole retired upon the nearer approach of the column, and fell back upon the line of skirmishers in my front. The noise of axes at the barricades and the words of command given by those who were in charge of the party by whom it was cut away were distinctly heard by Captain Coit at his advanced position. I had as yet received no orders to draw in my pickets, although the enemy could now be plainly seen deploying across the road at a distance of four hundred to five hundred yards in front of my line. The delay on the part of the enemy in advancing immediately upon my position led me to suspect a flank movement was intended upon my left, and this, if successful, would have necessarily involved the sacrifice of Captain Hough’s command. My surmise was soon confirmed by the rapid movement of the enemy’s skirmishers to the left in squads of four or five, while his advance still bore slowly down on my front.

Although I had been advised of the original purpose of the commanding general to fall back upon Centreville and Bull Run, the apparent impossibility of now withdrawing in safety from the immediate presence of a largely superior force led me to suppose that there had been a change in the plan of operations, and that it was expected a stand should be made in our present position. I communicated this supposition to the men of my command, and it is due them to say that the degree of alacrity with which they assumed the positions assigned them severally and the coolness with which they prepared to meet the overwhelming numbers immediately opposing them entitle them to most honorable mention. At this critical juncture, and as he was on the point of opening fire upon the advancing enemy, Lieutenant McCarthy received orders to withdraw his gun from position and rejoin his battery. My command was thus left unsupported, while I was every instant expecting my skirmishers to engage those of the enemy. The distance between the enemy’s advance and my skirmishers was reduced to less than one hundred yards before I received orders to withdraw my command and take position in the retreating column. I immediately dispatched two of the mounted staff to the relief of the skirmishers and pickets, and filed out of the trenches, retiring in good order through Germantown to the Centreville road, where the column had been halted and awaited my coming. I was for some time fearful that the detached companies which I had been compelled to leave on duty would be cut off before they could rejoin the regiment, and this would certainly have been the case but for the personal exertions of Col. R. D. Howard, volunteer aide-de-camp to the colonel, and Capt. J. C. McClenaghan, regimental quartermaster, who at the imminent peril of their own safety sought and conducted across the fields the skirmishing parties and pickets, and overtook the column near Centreville. Two shots were fired upon Captain Hough’s command as it passed through Germantown, but without effect.

At Centreville the column was halted, and my regiment assigned to position on the crest of the hill on the left of the road leading to Fairfax Court-House and behind the Brown Church. Here I was ordered to remain in line of battle, with my right next the road and fronting the approach from Fairfax Court-House. I detailed Company H, Captain Singletary, to take position as picket in the woods about one mile in front of my line, and Companies I, Captain Stackhouse, and G, Captain Harrington, were deployed as skirmishers at a distance of two hundred yards in front, extending from the turnpike to the Chantilly road.

At 12 o’clock p.m. my picket came in and reported the presence of the enemy in the woods near their late position. This was communicated to brigade headquarters, and at 1 o’clock I was ordered to draw in my outposts and join the column retiring towards Manassas. This was quietly done, my skirmishers reporting the sound of the tramp of men in the woods immediately in their front. At daybreak the column reached Bull Run. I left two companies, K, Captain S, and D, Captain Miller, on the north side of the run, to picket the Centreville road until the rear guard should come in, and, crossing at Mitchell’s Ford, I was ordered into position on the extreme left, my right resting on Colonel Williams’ Third Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, and my left extending to the distance of one mile above the ford. The regiment still occupying this position, Colonel Cash appeared in the lines early on Thursday and resumed command.

Respectfully submitted.


Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Eighth S.C. Volunteers

#69 – Col. T. G. Bacon

10 03 2009

Report of Col. T. G. Bacon, Seventh South Carolina Infantry, of Skirmish at Mitchell’s Ford

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp. 454-455


August 2, 1861

GENERAL: In obedience to an order received from headquarters First Brigade, Army of the Potomac, of this date, issued pursuant to an order of August 1, received from Manassas as, I have the honor to submit the following report:

Early on the morning of the 18th July the enemy appeared on a high hill about twelve hundred yards from the intrenchments in which the Seventh South Carolina Regiment was placed, on the northwest side of the road leading from Mitchell’s Ford over Bull Run to Centreville. By 9 a.m. of that day they had located their batteries, and forthwith commenced firing upon the embankments behind which we were situated, throwing both shot and shell. Random firing was kept up during the day against this and adjacent points until the close of the battle fought by General Longstreet’s brigade, situated below and to the right of the Seventh Regiment. The batteries were rifled and 6-pounder cannon, throwing 6-pound round shot and 12-pound conical shell. No injury was received by the Seventh Regiment from any of the shots, nor did anything occur further worthy of mentioning.(*)

Respectfully submitted.


Colonel, Commanding Seventh Regiment S.C. Volunteers

Brig. Gen. M. L. Bonham,

Commanding First Brigade, &c.

(*) See report No. 90, post

#68 – Col. J. H. Williams

9 03 2009

Report of Col. J. H. Williams, Third South Carolina Infantry, of Retreat from Fairfax Court-House and Skirmish at Mitchell’s Ford

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp. 453-454

CAMP GREGG, Vienna, Va., August 2, 1861

I have the honor to report that I occupied the advanced position on the main turnpike road leading from Fairfax Court House to Alexandria when the enemy appeared in movement on the morning of the 17th upon the advanced forces at Fairfax. My baggage train, which had been kept in readiness, was immediately forwarded in the direction of Bull Run, carrying everything of value. My two companies on picket at the barricade across the Alexandria turnpike road, three miles from camp, and therefore in danger of being cut off by the column of the enemy advancing along the Flint Hill road, were called in, and my regiment marched through Fairfax to a position on the right of the road in front of Colonel Bacon’s camp, the right wing of the battalion being stationed behind the intrenchments, the left wing drawn up under the hill to the left of the works. When the line of march was taken up I followed in rear of Colonel Withers as far as Centreville, and arriving at that place deployed my regiment on the right, occupying the village.  This position I held until ordered to Bull Run, following in rear of the artillery. Arriving there, I deployed along the right bank of the stream, my right resting on the left of the intrenched works, my left extending up the stream across the road which leads from Mitchell’s Ford along the right bank. My men, though much fatigued and in want of sleep, completed by 10 o’clock a.m. temporary breastworks of timber and brushwood, and awaited under arms the attack of the enemy, who soon after appeared in heavy force in our front and opened a brisk cannonade upon our whole line. One of my companies (Captain Jones’, on picket across the stream at Roberts’ house) received several well directed fires of the enemy, but retired under orders without loss. The enemy’s fire was kept up at intervals until 5 o’clock p.m., many of their missiles passing above and falling around us, but without doing any damage.

My regiment was not engaged in the musketry fire on the right in the afternoon of the 18th, being  in position in expectation of an attack upon the center of our general line.

I must here express my high appreciation of the soldierly qualities and bearing of the troops under my command exhibited in the march from Fairfax, which was certainly a dangerous and trying one, and of their conduct while under fire. Of their fortitude, courage, and the prompt execution of all orders under such unfavorable circumstances I cannot speak too highly. On every occasion I received the active cooperation of all the field and staff officers and all the officers and men under my command.

Very respectfully,


Colonel Third Regiment South Carolina Volunteers

Brig. Gen. M. L. BONHAM,

Commanding First Brigade, Army of the Potomac

#67 – Col. J. B. Kershaw

8 03 2009

Report of Col. J. B. Kershaw, Second South Carolina Infantry, of Retreat from Fairfax Court-House and Skirmish at Mitchell’s Ford

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp.451-453


Vienna, Va., July 26, 1861

GENERAL: In obedience to your order, as soon as I could obtain the proper materials, I proceed to report the operations of my command from the 17th to 21st instant, inclusive, in two separate reports:

In accordance with your orders I had prepared my command to cover the movement of the advance forces from Fairfax Court-House to Bull Run whenever it should be ascertained that the enemy were approaching our position in overwhelming force. On the morning of the 17th, at an early hour, the drums of the enemy announced their movement towards Fairfax Court-House, and soon after sunrise one of the pickets stationed on the road from Flint Hill to the Falls Church road, midway between the two points, was seen rapidly retreating across the field, having two pickets of fifty men each, consisting of Captain Haile’s company and a part of Captain Rhett’s, all under the command of Captain Haile, stationed on the Falls Church road, one-half under Lieutenant Canty, two miles distant from camp, the remainder about a mile farther at the barricades, under Captain Haile in person, whose orders required that they should engage the enemy when he appeared and fall back fighting.

I at once apprehended that they would be flanked and cut off, since their left was entirely uncovered by the retreat of the picket first mentioned. Accordingly, accompanied by Mr. A. E. Doby, of my staff, I visited the pickets, instructing them to fall back one upon the other, and both to retire together so soon as it was ascertained that the enemy had passed them to the left. Hearing firing in the direction of Flint Hill, I rode to the point whence the picket had retreated, and found the enemy’s skirmishers occupying the open ground, as far as could be seen in the direction of the Vienna road, with a heavy column occupying the woods in their rear, but not at that time advancing. I returned to Captain Haile’s picket, renewed my caution, caused a barricade to be erected at the position of my nearest picket, and ordered them forward to the intersection of the Flint Hill road, to support Captain Haile and to observe the approach of the enemy along that road. Having made these dispositions I returned to camp, and found my regiment drawn up on their parade ground, tents and baggage packed and sent off as far as transportation had been provided for them, and ready for movement.

At this time I received your order in person directing me to recall the pickets, and immediately dispatched Mr. Edward Wallace, of my staff, for that purpose. I posted the companies of Captains Hoke and Cuthbert in the woods to the right of the Falls Church road, Captain Casson in reserve in front of my camp upon the road, Captain Rhett, with the remainder of his company, in front in the log-house on the road, Captain Perryman’s rifles in a wood in front of the left of the trenches, Kemper’s battery, with two pieces, occupying the trenches. By this rime the enemy, after firing a few cannon shot, had deployed their line of battle directly in front and to the left of Captain Perryman’s position, and it was announced to me that the movement to Bull Run had already been commenced by the withdrawal of Colonel Williams from his original position on the Alexandria road. I placed in position at the entrance of them into Fairfax Court-House three companies of infantry, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Jones, and threw Captain Casson’s company on the hill on the left of the road at the hospital, placing a section of Kemper’s battery in position at the Court-House.

Receiving your orders to fall back, anxious for the safety of my picket, who had not yet returned, the enemy being now far in the rear of the position where the pickets had been posted, I went forward with Captain Hoke’s company and Captain Rhett’s to the hill near Wilcoxson’s, where I awaited their arrival. Shortly after they appeared, and my movement commenced. Withdrawing all the companies and Kemper’s battery from the Falls Church road, I occupied with them, alternating with the detachment of Lieutenant-Colonel Jones, each successive intrenchment from that point to the Germantown road as they were severally vacated by the regiments in charge of them, having in the mean time been re-enforced by the arrival of Captain Wickham’s squadron of cavalry, composed of his own and Captain Flood’s company.

Arrived at the fork of the road, I moved one battalion towards Germantown to replace Colonel Cash, and took position on the Centreville road on the hill commanding the village of Fairfax with two pieces of artillery and the other battalion, directing the other two pieces to take position in the rear at the intersection of the cross-road from Germantown, to which the first battalion had been directed to proceed. So soon as Colonel Cash had advanced sufficiently on his march I moved the whole command in good order to Centreville without interference, where we took position, much fatigued from the excessive heat of the day, at Artillery Hill.

At midnight I was informed that the march had been resumed to Bull Run, and so soon as all the troops had left the village of Centreville I put my command in motion in the following order: First, the cavalry; second, Kemper’s battery; third, infantry, with a small cavalry vedette a short distance in the rear. In this order we marched without interruption to Mitchell’s Ford, Bull Run, where my regiment resumed the position which they had occupied some weeks before in the intrenchments of their own construction. Two pieces of Kemper’s battery were placed in position in the trenches on the left of the road, the remaining two placed under direction on  Kemper’s Hill north of the run, also on the left of the road. The cavalry were directed to return to their regiment.

On the 18th instant Captain Wallace’s company was stationed at Butler’s, on the Centreville road, to observe the approach of the enemy. While there an officer of the enemy, or employe’ in their quartermaster’s department, O’Brien by name, rode up to Captain Wallace and asked for General McDowell. Immediately perceiving his mistake he drew his pistol and turned to make his escape, but was immediately killed by Captain Wallace’s men. Later in the day the enemy appeared in force, and Captain Wallace withdrew his company. Captains Perryman and Cuthbert were thrown out in the morning with their companies to support Kemper’s half battery on the hill, which was commanded by Captain Kemper in person.

About noon a heavy artillery fire was opened upon our lines from the enemy’s artillery posted near Rough’s, which continued for some time without response on our part; but the range of Captain Kemper’s position, having been ascertained by the enemy, and their fire becoming more threatening, Captain Kemper fired a half dozen apparently most effective shots and retired in safety to the trenches, covered by Captains Perryman’s and Cuthbert’s rifles. After a few shots at this retreating party the enemy turned their attention almost exclusively to the troops posted to the right of our brigade. During the day there were many narrow escapes in the trenches occupied by my regiment, and the bravery and spirit of my whole command was strikingly displayed in their contempt of the danger and their eagerness for a nearer approach of the enemy.

About 4 o’clock in the afternoon, by your direction, I detached the companies of Captains Hoke, Cuthbert, Casson, and Haile, and assuming the command myself, with one piece of Captain Kemper’s artillery, under his own command, reoccupied Kemper’s Hill. Reconnoitering with Messrs. Doby and Wallace, of my staff, it was ascertained that the enemy occupied in force the graveyard near Holden’s and the ravine between Holden’s and Robert’s house with skirmishers in the open field on their right. After three shots from Kemper’s battery, which produced evident confusion in the enemy’s ranks, I received an order from General Beauregard to return immediately, which was promptly obeyed. Soon after the enemy ceased firing and withdrew. About sunset, by your order, my regiment moved with Captain Kemper’s battery and took position on the left of your command, where we remained without incident until Sunday, the 21st instant.

One unpleasant feature of the abandonment of Fairfax Court-House was the loss of much private baggage, some tents, knapsacks, and camp kettles, and all the hospital stores, for the want of sufficient transportation, which this regiment has never had. The knapsacks of Captains Rhett’s and Haile’s companies were lost in consequence of those companies being on picket guard when the movement commenced, and time was not afforded them to recover them.

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

J. B. Kershaw,

Colonel Second Regiment South Carolina Volunteers

Brig. Gen. M. L. BONHAM

Commanding First Brigade, &c.

#66 – Brig. Gen. M. L. Bonham

5 03 2009

Report of Brig. Gen. M. L. Bonham, C. S. Army, Commanding First Brigade, of Retreat from Fairfax Court-House and Skirmish at Mitchell’s Ford

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp. 449-450


Camp Gregg, July 31, 1861

GENERAL: In making, in obedience to your orders, a report of the operations of my brigade on the 18th instant, I beg leave to make a brief statement of the events immediately preceding that day, and which are closely connected with it.

On the morning of the 17th instant, at Fairfax Court-House, the advance forces of the Army of the Potomac under my command consisted of the Second Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, Colonel Kershaw; Third, Colonel Williams; Seventh, Colonel Bacon; Eighth, Colonel Cash; the Eighteenth Virginia Volunteers, Colonel Withers, temporarily attached; part of Colonel Radford’s cavalry.; Captains Wickham’s, Ball’s, Powell’s, and Payne’s troops of cavalry, and the batteries of Captain’s Kemper and Shields. Early that morning I received from my scouts confirmation of what I had been hearing many hours previous, viz, that the enemy would probably advance upon me that morning by the Alexandria, Flint Hill, and, it was said, the Falls Church roads.

In obedience to your orders, which I had previously received, to fall back on the approach of an enemy to attack my position in “superior force,” I ordered my baggage and supply wagons to be put in immediate motion, and to be parked in rear of Bull Run, Mitchell’s Ford. This was promptly and successfully accomplished by Colonel Kemper, assisted by Lieutenant Washington, quartermaster, and Major Kennedy, commissary for the command, with but little loss.

Between 8 and 9 o’clock I heard the report and saw the smoke of the enemy’s artillery at Flint Hill, about two miles off, and learned at the same time that my pickets were being driven in. I immediately ordered the troops to their trenches, their places having been previously designated, which order was obeyed with the greatest alacrity and enthusiasm, the body of the troops not knowing that they were to fall back at all. My plan of falling back on Bull Run, based upon your instructions, I had previously explained to the commanding officers of corps, assigning each his position on the march at Centreville and at Bull Run in a confidential order, which I did not deliver till on the march.

Finding the enemy did not seem to be approaching by the Falls Church road, I ordered the pickets to be withdrawn from that road. About 9 o’clock the enemy made his appearance in large force on the Flint Hill slope, and, deploying his columns, moved down toward the Court-House, his lines extending a great distance across the open fields, stretching out from Flint Hill to the Court-House. I awaited his approach till a part of his force had arrived within a half mile of my works, to be satisfied that his force was such “superior force” as I had heard it would be and as came within the intent of your order.

Having satisfied myself that he was concentrating around me a force many times my number–in three columns, from Alexandria upon my right, upon my left at Germantown, from the same place, and having sent word to General Ewell that I was about to begin my movement–I ordered my regiments to take up the line of march according to my prearranged plan, and directed Kershaw’s regiment (which with Kemper’s battery and Wickham’s and Floyd’s troops of cavalry, constituted my rear guard) to file, as they retired, through the trenches as the preceding regiments filed out. The column thus fell back in perfect order to Centreville, the enemy not venturing to attack my rear guard. At dark our pickets were within a few hundred paces of each other.

At midnight, Major Rhett having returned from a personal interview with yourself, I resumed the march, in obedience to your orders, and at daylight put my command in position at Mitchell’s Ford, on Bull Run, the place previously assigned me, placing two pieces of Kemper’s battery six hundred yards in front of my center, on Kemper’s Hill, supported by two companies of light troops, in order to give the enemy’s advancing column a few shots before retiring to the position assigned those pieces behind the run. The Eleventh North Carolina Volunteers, Colonel Kirkland, and the Eighth Louisiana Battalion, Colonel Kelly, reported to me during the morning. The former, having been kept for a while in reserve, was placed on the extreme left; the latter was held in reserve in rear of the center of my position.

At about 12 m. the enemy, following up his movements of the day previous, opened a heavy cannonade on my position, which was kept up most of the day, throwing shell and shot into every portion of my command, but fortunately without injury to the troops. As the range of his guns and the weight of his metal were greater than my own, Captain Kemper’s two pieces, with the two supporting companies, were withdrawn to their position in the rear of the run, but not till some effective shots had been made at the enemy. In the course of a few hours he attacked the position of General Longstreet at Blackburn’s Ford, a short distance to my right, from which he was most gallantly repulsed. He then began to show his troops in some force in my front. By your leave I ordered Colonel Kershaw, with four companies of his regiment and one piece of Kemper’s battery, to move forward to Kemper’s Hill, and open fire upon that force. It was promptly and gallantly executed, three or four effective shots being thrown into the grove near Butler’s house, doing some execution and scattering the enemy in every direction.

I cannot too highly commend the conduct and bearing of all the officers and men under my command. Everything that characterizes gallant people prepared to perish before a superior force, if necessary, for the defense of their homes, was exhibited by them throughout the trying and fatiguing operations of the 17th and 18th of July. Inclosed I send reports of officers of my command as far as received.

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


Brigadier-General, Commanding

Brig. Gen. G. T. BEAUREGARD,

Commanding Army of the Potomac

#65 – Col. Thomas Jordan

3 03 2009

Reports of Col. Thomas Jordan, Assistant Adjutant General C. S. Forces, of Operations July 18 and 19

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp. 448-449


General S. COOPER,  Adjutant General:

The enemy began the action at 12 o’clock noon to-day at Mitchell’s Ford–subsequently at McLean’s Ford. Bonham’s and Longstreet’s brigades engaged. Firing very heavy and obstinate. Thus far we have maintained our positions, despite the great odds opposed. There is now a lull. Johnston is marching to our support by Ashby’s Gap and forced marches.



Colonel and Assistant Adjutant General


MANASSAS, July 19, 1861

General S. COOPER,  Adjutant General:

Enemy did not renew fight to-day. The ground they were driven from was strewn with guns, hats, swords, coats, &c. Late this afternoon their columns had been seen gathering as if for an attack to-morrow in great force, and we hear of a heavy force about Sangster’s. Johnston’s brigades are arriving. Jackson already here. Holmes is pushing up. McRae is here. The general is out on the line of Bull Run, watching reported movements.