#101a – Col. Philip St. George Cocke

23 09 2008

Report of Col. Philip St. George Cocke, C. S. Army, Commanding Brigade

O.R.–SERIES I–VOLUME 51 Part 1 [S# 107] pp. 24-32

HEADQUARTERS FIFTH BRIGADE,

Camp near Suspension Bridge, [August 1, 1861]

GENERAL: The battle of 21st of July having been fought wholly within the position which had been assigned to and occupied by and which on the day of the battle was held by my brigade and the troops temporarily attached thereto, it becomes important that I should succinctly describe that position, the disposition made of the troops under my command for defending and holding that position, and the subsequent part which my command took in the great battle in which so large a part of your army participated, coming up as it did during the day from other positions. The position of this command, that of Stone Bridge (Avon) and Lewis’ farm (Portici), was the extreme left position of the Army of the Potomac along the line of Bull Run. The position of the army on Bull Run was the result of strategic movements which commenced with the recall of our more advanced forces, and which finally ended in the great battle of the 21st of July. By your general order of the 8th of July it was directed that “if attacked by a superior force of the enemy the three brigades of the Army of the Potomac serving in Fairfax will retire in the following manner and order: The whole of the Fifth Brigade on the Bull Run Stone Bridge, and the adjacent fords, making a stand if practicable at the Suspension Bridge across Cub Run.” Accordingly I issued brigade orders on the 12th instant, and on the 17th I recalled, united, and withdrew my entire command to the position assigned to it in perfect order and without any loss or accident whatsoever, the enemy moving the same day to occupy Fairfax CourtHouse in great strength.

Topographical description of the position of my command and of the battle-field.

Beginning near our left at Stone Bridge, over which passes the turnpike road from Alexandria to Warrenton, a flat of some 400 or 500 yards wide extends west of the bridge on either side of the turnpike back to the hills, which rise with some abruptness from the flat to the height of thirty to sixty feet. A dense forest of oaks at one time masked the bridge from view looking from these hills, but the trees had been felled to open the view for firing upon the enemy as he should approach the bridge, and the felled timber served to obstruct his passage over the flat except by the defile of the bridge and road, which last had been only partially obstructed near the foot of the hill. Westward of the crest overlooking the bridge, and in the direction of our left, rear, and right about the Stone Bridge, the country is broken into hill and valley, and this uneven surface covered by bodies of original forest, copses of pine, interspersed with hedges and fences, offering a field of uneven and diversified surface, all of which was availed of to the utmost by the skill and bravery of our officers and men who met and fought the enemy on that field. From a short distance below the Stone Bridge toward the right of my position, and throughout the entire extent of Lewis’ farm (Portici), the hills of Bull Run recede from the stream, of which the banks are generally low, and a long, open plain slopes from the run up to Lewis’ house, and to the right and left throughout my entire position in that direction. At Lewis’ Ford a road crosses Bull Run leading from the turnpike about half a mile in advance of Stone Bridge, diagonally toward and immediately in front of Lewis’ house, through a dense thicket of old-field pines extending nearly to the ford, and from that ford to the house half a mile distant over a gentle, open, or unwooded slope from the creek, rising almost uniformly to the house, which stands upon an eminence commanding a view of the surrounding country, the open inclined plane of the farm itself, the course of Bull Run, of the fords crossing the same, of the position of Stone Bridge, as also many of the enemy’s approaches through the woods on the opposite side of the creek. On our extreme right of Lewis’ farm, three-quarters of a mile below Lewis’ Ford, is Ball’s Ford, where the old public road passing from Alexandria to Warrenton crosses Bull Run, a trace of which road is still distinct and the road quite passable, although disused for public purposes since the construction of the turnpike passing over the Stone Bridge. To our right of this old road on the western side of Bull Run a heavy forest of oak extends from the creek backward nearly to the crest of the hill southward of Lewis’ house. The bank of the creek along Lewis’ farm is generally low and easy to be passed, and bordering as it does the extensive open inclined plane above described rendered this part of the position one without military strength and everywhere open to the attack of an enterprising enemy except at or near Lewis’ Ford, where for a few hundred yards on either side a precipitous bank of some twenty feet rises from the water of the creek and commands the flat or level on the opposite side of the creek. At Ball’s Ford the creek bank on our side is flat and wholly untenable for about 500 yards above in the direction of Lewis’ Ford, whilst a wooded eminence rising to an elevation of from sixty to seventy feet on the eastern or enemy’s side of the creek and stretching from opposite that ford the whole length of Lewis’ farm in the direction of Stone Bridge, thus giving the enemy, if in possession of those heights with his artillery the absolute command of the entire plain of Lewis’ farm in every direction as far back as the crest of the hill upon which the house is situated and rendering untenable by our troops under such circumstances of any position upon that plain in front of the enemy’s batteries so commandingly established. On the eastern or enemy’s side of Bull Run a narrow belt of low ground of irregular width, ranging from 50 to 100, and in some places 150 to 200 yards, stretched along the banks of the creek throughout the extent of the Portici (Lewis’) farm, from Ball’s Ford on our right to Stone Bridge on our left, and from the edge of the meadow at the foot of the hill a dense skirting of second-growth or old-field pine covers the slope of the hill toward its summit, succeeded by a large growth of oak or original forest, clothing a part of the slope and the entire top of the ridge, and continuing on that side of the creek from opposite Ball’s Ford to the turnpike road on our left.

Perceiving the impracticability of holding Ball’s Ford by troops placed on its flat and uncovered bank in front of a forest and eminence such as those just described, if once allowed to fall into the hands of the enemy, it became necessary to place the troops intended for the defense of that pass upon the eminence and in the forest on the eastern side of Bull Run and on either side of the old road crossing at that ford. Accordingly Withers’ regiment, Eighteenth Virginia, was ordered to occupy the wood to our left of the road, and Preston’s regiment, Twenty-eighth Virginia, the forest on our right of the road, and to oppose the enemy in whatever force he might advance by guerrilla fight from every position, from every corner, from every tree, and if still overpowered by numbers and forced to yield ground, to continue the fight through the forest flanking our right of Lewis’ farm toward the crest of the hill south of Lewis’ house, or until they could be supported by other troops coming to their relief Preston’s regiment (Twenty-eighth) also covered the approaches to the Island Ford, and one other ford below the Island Ford on my extreme right, and this was practicable in consequence of a bend of the creek to the rear of the right of that regiment (see map).

Position of the troops of the command.

In placing the troops, dispersed, as they necessarily were, and at positions most of them so disadvantageous for defense and but partially aided by intrenchments, it was deemed highly expedient to conceal as much as possible from the enemy a knowledge both of our numbers and strength, and even of the positions of the troops and batteries, until they were actually brought into action; and to effect these highly important objects it was decided that the troops should give up their tents, send back their wagon trains and baggage a few miles in rear toward Manassas, and bivouac in their positions. To the exposure and hardships of the bivouac the men and officers yielded without a murmur and they remained uncovered from the time of taking position on the 17th of July until after the battle, which took place on Sunday, July 21. Having indicated the position of the Eighteenth and Twenty-eighth Regiments, covering the approaches to Ball’s Ford, on my right, the Nineteenth Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Strange, was placed on the high bank on either side of Lewis’ Ford to oppose the passage of the enemy at that point. This regiment intrenched itself throughout its entire front, which intrenchment, by direction of Captain Harris, of the Engineers, was rendered quite effective. Between the two left companies of Lieutenant-Colonel Strange’s regiment one piece of Latham’s battery, placed in position by Captain Harris, of the Engineers, commanded the road leading to the ford through the meadow and pines in front of the ford. Next beyond the flank of the Nineteenth Regiment, along the high bank of Bull Run, was placed in position selected by Captain Harris, concealed from the enemy by a copse or undergrowth, one other gun of Latham’s battery. To the left of this second gun of Latham’s battery was placed Captain Schaeffer’s command, two companies on this side of the creek and part of one company on the opposite side of Bull Run, availing themselves of the natural formation of the bank as a breast-work from behind which to fire upon the enemy. To the left of a gorge penetrating Captain Schaeffer’s position, a section of Rogers’ battery was stationed on an eminence to command the approaches to this gorge and the gorge formed by Young’s Branch running in from our side. These guns were also placed in position by Captain Harris, of the Engineers, the bluff bank of the creek terminating at Young’s Branch near the position or gorge just above Rogers’ guns, and giving place to low banks above that point, with a growth of large trees along the bank. Just here a portion of Col. William Smith’s three companies was posted, commanded by him in person, to dispute the passage of the enemy at the gorge on Young’s Branch, which intersected our line as above described. The other part of Colonel Smith’s three companies was held in reserve (in a sheltered position), to be used as occasion might require, and ordered to charge the enemy if he succeeded in crossing Bull Run. This pass of Young’s Branch being deemed one of the most inviting for the enemy, it was thought necessary to hold in still further reserve to dispute his passage the entire regiment of Col. Eppa Hunton, which was therefore placed near by in a covered position, with orders to support Colonel Smith’s battalion in case of need. One section of Rogers’ battery, commanded by himself, and three troops of cavalry were held in reserve and placed under cover in the hollow or depression beyond the crest and to the north of Lewis’ house. From Young’s Branch toward Stone Bridge and beyond the position was covered by the troops attached to my brigade, under the immediate command of Major Evans. Two pieces of Latham’s battery, under Lieutenant Davidson, commanded from the hill the approach to Stone Bridge and the road through the felled timber described in the first part of this report. To the left of the Stone Bridge were the troops under the command of Major Evans, whilst his sharpshooters skirted the two edges of the forest bordering upon the felled timber on our side of the bridge. The cavalry of Evans’ command were engaged–some in scouting in the direction of Sudley’s Mill to give notice of the enemy’s approaches in that direction and others held in reserve.

Sudley’s Mill is on the branch of Bull Run called Catharpin, near its mouth, three miles northwest of Stone Bridge. At Sudley’s Mill a branch road crosses from the direction of Leesburg, passing directly toward Manassas, intersecting the turnpike at right angles at a stone house one mile and a quarter west, or in our rear of the Stone Bridge. It was this road of which the enemy availed himself to turn our left and to get on our flank and rear at Stone Bridge in his boasted march for Manassas. His plans were well arranged and skillfully conducted, for whilst he threatened our entire front from Stone Bridge to below Lewis’ Ford by a force estimated at from 12,000 to 15,000 men, and kept a large portion of my brigade engaged by this force in their front of treble their number, backed by batteries of artillery at several points opposite our front, and by skirmishers advanced in front of our lines, he meanwhile marched his main column of 25,000 or 30,000 men by Sudley’s Mill to take the whole position in flank and rear. I shall endeavor briefly to show in what manner he was met by my command both in our first position and subsequent movements.

The battle.

The enemy having taken up his position in our front early in the morning, fired his first gun about 5.30 a.m. This seemed to be a signal gun, as it was answered from Mitchell’s Ford, four miles below, and where also on that day he made an attack, and this gun might also have been a signal to the column marching by Sudley’s Mill on our left. The batteries in our front along Bull Run continued firing on Stone Bridge, on Lewis’ house, and on our position at Lewis’ Ford until a late hour in the day. The battery in front of Lewis’ Ford was responded to with marked effect by Captain Latham’s first section, aided by the section of Rogers’ battery, commanded by Lieutenant Heaton, skirmishers occasionally making their appearance, emerging from the dense growth of pines covering the main body of the enemy. Whilst this was going on in our front the enemy, having arrived to threaten Major Evans’ left flank, with overwhelming numbers of his main column marched by Sudley’s Mill. The major promptly and heroically turned to meet him with his entire force, having necessarily to abandon the former front of his position at Stone Bridge. Never perhaps in the history of modern warfare was there so unequal a contest as now ensued. With his small but heroic numbers Major Evans advanced to fight the head of a column of 25,000 men, amongst which were some of the best regiments of the Federal army, strengthened by numerous batteries of well-appointed artillery of the most modern improved kind. For more than an hour this contest was maintained without assistance, the other troops of my command being held to their positions by the strong demonstrations in their front, which positions, if they had been abandoned at this stage of the battle, would have opened the way to an advance of the enemy also on this side, and thus inevitably have caused us the loss of the day. As soon, however, as I perceived the first movement of Major Evans I dispatched the reserved section of Rogers’ battery at full speed to cover the approaches to the Stone Bridge. This section got into position in good time to fire into a column of the enemy attempting to pass the Stone Bridge and drove it back.

In the meanwhile General Bee and Colonel Bartow, the first to come up to our support, the general reporting to the on Lewis’ hill, were informed by me of the progress of the battle on Major Evans’ left, and those gallant commanders, without halting their commands, marched directly to the scene of action and soon commenced their glorious part in the battle. Colonel Hampton with his legion came next. To him, too, I indicated the progress of events, and he promptly marched with his command to the battle. General Jackson followed next with his brigade, and from time to time other brigades pushed on as they arrived to the deadly conflict. About this time, the contest having become very close and warm and the enemy appearing to gain ground forward and also on our flank, and a stream of wounded men pouring through the gorge of Young’s Branch near the command of Col. William Smith (as subsequently reported by Captain Harris, of the Engineers, then and there present), upon suggestion of Captain Harris, the section of Rogers’ battery under command of Lieutenant Heaton, stationed at that point, and Colonel Smith’s command, were ordered to change front in order to meet an advance of the enemy, which it was thought might be made in that direction. General Beauregard, perceiving this movement, sent an order to these troops to advance, which they promptly did, Captain Harris proceeding with them, and subsequently placing the section of Rogers’ battery in effective position near Captain Imboden’s battery, from whence the section fired with effect upon the enemy until the ammunition was exhausted. Colonel Smith from this position soon took part in the battle, having many of his officers and men killed or wounded and his own horse wounded. (For further particulars see his report.(1))

The removal of these troops from their position on Young’s Branch uncovered a portion of my front line, and thus left that line exposed, to be penetrated by the enemy; but I am satisfied that the movement of our troops was unperceived by him, as the position was covered by a thicket of willows and other trees skirting the edge of Bull Run at this point. Closely observing from my own central and elevated position on the hill north of Lewis’ house (a position, nevertheless, over which a cross fire of most of the enemy’s batteries continued to throw shot and shell for hours, in the midst of which I necessarily stood observing)–I say from this position the various movements of our own troops I anxiously watched for the moment when I might withdraw the greater portion of the brigade not then actually engaged from the front line, without inviting disaster in that quarter, in order to throw it forward to the support of our men so hotly pressed on our left. General J. E. Johnston appearing near my position about this time, I called his attention to the state of my command on the front and right of Lewis’ farm, and referred for his decision the expediency of risking the abandonment of that front, and of immediately ordering forward the whole of the balance of my command to take part in the battle now raging and becoming critical as to its issue on our left. It was decided to make the movement., and I immediately dispatched my aides to order up at double-quick the regiments of Withers, Preston, and Strange, and the battery of Latham, and proceeding myself to meet those regiments, I advanced with them rapidly to the most active scene of the conflict. Hunton’s regiment, being in advanced position, was first in the battle, but as I led on the other regiments to other positions it was separated from me, and for the part which it took in the battle I must refer to Colonel Hunton’s report, hereafter to be made. Colonel Hunton since the battle having been ordered to Leesburg with his regiment, I have neither seen him nor been able to obtain any report.(2)

Withers’ Eighteenth Regiment Virginia Volunteers was the next in order taking part in the battle. Colonel Withers’ report is full, and clearly shows the gallant and distinguished part which it enacted in achieving the great victory of the day.(3) Latham’s battery followed Withers’ regiment. This battery being now full, the four pieces having come together and replenished their ammunition chest, was, under the guidance of Captain Harris, of the Engineers, advanced to a position to the left of the road leading from Lewis’ house toward Stone Bridge, from which position it fired with effect upon the head of a column advancing from toward the turnpike, and together with the fire of another battery succeeded in driving back the column. (For further particulars see Captain Latham’s report.(4)) Whilst Latham’s battery was taking position I was advancing with Preston’s regiment toward our then left flank, which the enemy was pressing and threatening to turn. About 500 yards beyond the left of Latham’s battery, as placed in position and near the fence extending toward our left in a thicket of pines, and whilst I was immediately upon the flank of the regiment, it was fired upon by the enemy advancing in the thick forest. The fire was returned, and the enemy giving way, this regiment advanced still farther toward the left. Whilst thus advancing Colonel Preston came upon and captured with his own hands Colonel Willcox, of the Federal army, whilst a captain and other prisoners were taken at the same place. The report of Colonel Preston, to which I beg leave to refer, will show the further important part he took in the battle.(5)

In the meantime, continuing to advance with Strange’s regiments Nineteenth Virginia Volunteers, and guided by the firing, I endeavored to turn the extreme right of the enemy. Coming athwart an intense fire, and not being able to see friend or foe through the pines, the regiment was caused to lie down whilst Colonel Strange and myself sought a view of the enemy. Entering the Sudley road on the left, I ordered the regiment to be marched by flank in that direction, and proceeded diagonally forward and ]left through the wood skirting our left of the road following a firing heard in that direction. Emerging from the wood into the open field, the regiment was led by a path toward Chinn’s house, near to which a battery was firing upon the enemy. By the time it got up the enemy was retreating, and on the hill beyond Chinn’s house (overlooking the turnpike), falling in with some of the regiments of Colonel Early, the Nineteenth Regiment continued the pursuit of the enemy. Crossing the meadow toward the turnpike and proceeding by Dogan’s house, followed the track of the retreating column toward Bull Run below Sudley’s Mill and crossed the run below and in sight of the mill. The enemy now being out of sight and pursued by the cavalry in advance of us, and night coming on I determined to recross Bull Run at Sudley’s Mill, and ordered the regiment to march back to Lewis’ farm. Finding numbers of prisoners and wounded at the church near the mill, one company was left in charge of the prisoners and wounded, the balance of the regiment continuing its march to Lewis’ farm. It would thus appear, general, that in consequence of the disposition made of the troops, the firm and gallant manner in which they acted along my whole front line of three miles in extent (which front, although threatened throughout the day, was nevertheless held in the face of greatly superior numbers, several assaults repelled, and the enemy effectually prevented from passing that line at any point, which if he had done would have been disastrous to our cause), this command forced the enemy to rely for victory solely upon his great column which turned the left of our entire position by the way of Sudley’s Mill; that the skillful and heroic struggle of Evans on my left, after he had been turned and taken in flank by overwhelming numbers, with his Spartan band led by himself, and by that true and tried soldier Major Wheat, and the brave Colonel Sloan, and backed by men who showed themselves not only insensible to fear, but actually inspired with superhuman daring and power, carried death and dismay into the ranks of the enemy, the fight thus continuing for more than an hour unsupported, and until the re-enforcements of Generals Bee and Bartow and others came to the relief; and finally, when the critical moment had arrived and the imminent result seemed trembling in the balance, it was promptly determined to abandon my entire front line along Bull Run and to throw forward the troops which had so gallantly defended it, to add their entire numbers and their valorous deeds to those of other corps struggling in the hottest fight, all of which contributed to turning the scale of victory in our favor, and in not only defeating the enemy, but in ultimately routing, disorganizing, and demoralizing him to a degree unprecedented in the history of modern warfare.

Of the greater part of these events and scenes you yourself, general, were an eyewitness. Many of the troops of my command fought by your side and in several instances received orders directly from you whilst acting as they necessarily did in detached bodies and in various parts of the wide field of conflict. Highly appreciating, general, the marked confidence reposed in me ever since I joined your army, as manifested by the extensive command and the responsible strategic positions assigned to me, I feel conscious of having acted with a mind and purpose single and a devotion absolute and unreserved in the righteous and patriotic cause in which we are all engaged; and in this spirit I trust my command have so far shown that they, too, have acted. Where so many have acted well their parts it would appear almost invidious to mention the names of any. Nevertheless, I deem it proper to state that the conduct of Majors Evans and Wheat is above all praise. That Capt. David B. Harris, of the Corps of Engineers, has rendered the most valuable services during the whole time he has served with my command. His science and skill, his cool and calm presence of mind in the midst of danger, his untiring efforts under the most trying circumstances, all prove him to be an officer worthy of filling a higher rank in that highest corps of the army to which he belongs.

Colonel Withers has the honor of having captured with his regiment (the Eighteenth Virginia Volunteers) a battery of eight guns, and of holding the same, a battery which had been twice previously during the day captured and recovered by the enemy. Col. Robert T. Preston and his Twenty-eighth Regiment of Virginia Volunteers rendered distinguished services. Col. William Smith with his command was in the hottest of the fight and had several officers and men wounded and killed and his own horse wounded. The Nineteenth Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Strange, having been longest held to its intrenched position at Lewis’ Ford, which it bravely defended in presence of the enemy’s batteries and infantry in great strength, was thus brought last into the more active field of battle. But it came up in time to produce by its presence an effect upon the then wavering enemy and to take part in the pursuit of his retreating columns which soon ensued. Captains Latham and Rogers, of the artillery, and Lieutenants Davidson and Heaton acted with distinguished bravery and skill. Surgeon Chancellor and Assistant Surgeons Braxton and Powell, of the Nineteenth Regiment, rendered very prompt and valuable relief to the wounded men, both to our own men and those of the enemy. To Lieut. John B. Cocke, acting assistant adjutant-general of the Fifth Brigade, and to T. J. Randolph, both acting as my aides-decamp during the battle, and who were both with me or bearing orders, often through the hottest fire, I owe my acknowledgments for the prompt and efficient manner in which they both discharged their duties. I would take this occasion to express my thanks to the whole command, to the brave and patriotic men and officers composing it, for the soldier-like manner in which they have submitted to necessary discipline, undergone hardships, and otherwise to operated in fulfilling the responsibility of the command.

And finally, trusting that this command has fulfilled its duties and that impartial history will do justice to the important part taken by it in achieving the late glorious victory,

I remain, general, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

PHILIP ST. GEO. COCKE,

Colonel, Commanding Fifth Brigade, Army of Potomac

General BEAUREGARD,

Commanding Army of the Potomac

NOTE.–The Fifth Brigade proper consisted of the Nineteenth, Eighteenth, and Twenty-eighth Regiments of Virginia Volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel Strange, Colonels Withers and R. T. Preston commanding; Latham’s battery of artillery, four brass 6-pounder guns, and Captains Terry’s and Langhorne’s troops of cavalry. Whilst at Centerville, prior to the battle of the 21st of July, Major Wheat’s Louisiana First Special Battalion was added to my command and stationed at or near Frying Pan Church, and Captain Alexander’s troop of cavalry also added to Terry’s at the same place. Subsequently Major Evans was ordered from Leesburg with Sloan’s Fourth Regiment of South Carolina Volunteers to Frying Pan Church, with orders to report to me and act as a part of my command stationed at that place. With this force I marched under general orders on the 17th of July to take position at or near the Stone Bridge. Between the 17th and 19th Col. Eppa Hunton with his command arrived at Lewis’ farm (Portici), with orders to report for duty with my command, bringing with him his regiment of Virginia volunteers, Captain Rogers’ battery of 4-pounder brass cannon, and three troops of cavalry. To this command was also added three companies under Captain Schaeffer, which had previously been stationed at the Stone Bridge, and three companies of Fauquier volunteers, part of Col. William Smith’s Forty-ninth Regiment Virginia Volunteers.

PHILIP ST. GEO. COCKE,

Colonel, Commanding Fifth Brigade

(1) See Vol. II, p. 551

(2) But see Vol. II, p. 545

(3) See Vol. II, p. 546

(4) See Vol. II, p. 553

(5) See Vol. II, p. 549





#124 – Capt. Edgar Whitehead

23 08 2008

Report of Capt. Edgar Whitehead, Radford’s Rangers, of Pursuit July 22

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, p.573

CENTREVILLE, July 28, 1861

SIR: On the morning of the 22d instant I was ordered by General Longstreet to accompany Colonel Terry, of Texas, and pursue the enemy, and find out their exact position. On reaching Centreville we found the main body had fled, and we pursued the stragglers, taking twenty-five or thirty prisoners on the route to Fairfax Court-House, where Colonel Terry shot down the United States flag and placed the stars and bars on the top of the court-house. The large flag sent back by him was intended, we learned, to be put up at Manassas. Another was taken from the Court-House, and the third one, to which you probably refer, was taken from some soldier by Private R. L. Davies, of my company, who had it in a haversack–no doubt to be raised on the first captured battery taken. It had no staff, but was carried carefully wrapped in the haversack.

Very respectfully,

EDGAR WHITEHEAD,

Captain Company E, Radford’s Rangers

Col. THOMAS JORDAN,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Manassas

For particulars in regard to horses, wagons, guns, and ready-made clothing, see Colonel Terry’s note to General Longstreet.(*)

*Not Found





Order of Battle – CSA Cavalry

19 08 2008

CONFEDERATE CAVALRY AT FIRST MANASSAS +

1st Regiment Virginia Cavalry:  Col. J.E.B. Stuart

  • Co. A, Newtown Light Dragoons:  Capt: J.H. Drake
  • Co. B, Berkeley Troop:  Capt. J.B. Hoge  (Attacked 11th NY)
  • Co. C, Rockbridge Dragoons:  Capt. M.H. White
    • Pvt William Z. Mead (PC)
  • Co. D, Clarke Cavalry:  Lt. William Taylor
  • Co. E, Valley Rangers:  Capt. Wm. Patrick
  • Co. F, Shepherdstown Troop:  Capt. J.Reinhart
  • Co. G, Amelia Light Dragoons:  Capt. C.R. Irving
  • Co. H, Loudoun Light Horse:  Capt. R.W. Carter  (Attacked 11th NY)
  • Co. I, Harrisonburg Cavalry:  Capt. T.L. Yancey
  • Co. K, River Rangers:  Capt. E.S. Yancey
  • Co. L, Washington Mounted Rifles:  Capt. Wm. E. Jones  (Pvt. J.S.Mosby)
  • Co. M, Howard Dragoons:  Capt. G.R. Gaither

(Note:  Only Companies A, B, C, D, H, L, & M were present at First Manassas.)

HQs Escort, Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard

  • Little Fork Rangers:  Capt. R.E. Utterback
  • Powhatan Troop:  Capt. J.F. Lay

Ewell’s Brigade

  • Lt.Col. Walter H. Jenifer’s Battalion
    • Governor’s Mounted Guard:  Capt. J.G. Cabell
    • Goochland Light Dragoons:  Capt. J. Harrison
    • Rappahannock Cavalry:  Capt. J.S. Green

D.R. Jones’ Brigade

  • Appomattox Rangers*:  Capt. J.W. Flood

Longstreet’s Brigade

  • Amherst Mounted Rangers*:  Capt. Edgar Whitehead

Bonham’s Brigade

  • Col. Radford’s Squadron, 30th Va. Cavalry:
    • Radford Rangers*:  Capt. W. Radford
    • Botetourt Dragoons*:  Capt. A.L. Pitzer (Lt. Breckinridge)
    • Hanover Light Dragoons*:  Capt. Wm. C. Wickham
    • Fairfax Cavalry*:  Capt. E.B. Powell
  • Lt. Col. Munford’s Squadron, 30th Va. Cavalry
    • Black Horse Troop*:  Capt. Wm. H. Payne
    • Chesterfield Light Dragoons*:  Capt. Wm. B. Ball
    • Franklin Rangers*:  Capt. G.W.H. Hale

Cocke’s Brigade

  • Wise Troop*:  Capt. J.S. Langhorne
    • Lt. Charles Minor Blackford (PC, M)

Evans’ Brigade

  • Clay Dragoons*:  Capt. Wm. Terry
  • Campbell Rangers*:  Capt. J.D. Alexander

Holmes’s Brigade

  • Albemarle Light Horse: Capt. Eugene Davis/Major John Scott (joined pursuit)

Unattached Independent Companies

  • Prince William Cavalry:  Capt. Wm.W. Thornton  (at Mitchell’s Ford)
  • Madison Cavalry:  Capt. Wm Thomas  (No documentation)
  • Loudoun Cavalry:  Capt. Wm. W. Mead  (joined in pursuit)

*  Attached to the 30th Va. Cavalry, Col. R.C.W. Radford cmdg.

+ This Order of Battle compiled by and provided courtesy of Ranger Jim Burgess, Manassas National Battlefield Park





Reader Contributions

3 07 2008

 

Thanks to reader Terry Johnston, former editor of North & South magazine.  Terry sent me some great contemporary articles from the Scottish American Journal on the 79th NY (Cameron Highlanders) and their experiences at Bull Run.  If any of you are inclined to pass along any similar info you may have gathered up on your regiments or people of interest, I’m runnin’ a post and wide open.





Society of (Mostly) Civil War Historians Part III

3 07 2008

Continued from here.

Tuesday, the third and final day of the conference, began with Conscription and Consequences.  The panel was chaired by Robert Kenzer of the University of Richmond, who also commented on the papers.  This could have been a subset of the Beleaguered Cincinnatus panel from the day before.  First up was Christine Dee with “Now is a Time when Strange Men and Strange Things are in Vogue”:  The Provost Marshal’s Agents and the Meaning of Local Resistance in Northern Communities.  In this Dee detailed the processes by which communities resisted conscription and the provost marshals’ attempts to enforce it.  Attempts by provost marshals to “embed” themselves in communities were resented by residents, and sometimes violence resulted, prompted by both citizens and the PMs.  Also complicating enforcement were ethnic differences and contested citizenship.  PMs during the war deputized locals and formed paramilitary bands to gather up deserters and evaders, and bounties were awarded.  Even after the war, the PMs continued their activities in communities, not only in collecting deserters and evaders but also others who committed crimes against the military. 

John Sacher’s paper, titled Confederate Substitutes and Principals: A Preliminary Analysis, covered a topic that is rarely discussed, that of the policy of the hiring of substitutes by men (principals) drafted into the Confederate army.  While the policy was outlawed and all principals were subsequently ordered into the army, Sacher argues that the use of compliance of principals with the order as a sign of Confederate loyalty is a slim reed.  Rockingham County, VA is the focus of Sacher’s study.  (An interesting tidbit – at one point newspapers encouraged women to mail petticoats to principals.)

The 10:30 session was to be chaired by Ethan Rafuse, whose misadventures resulting in his inability to attend can be found here.  Susannah Bruce, who was to comment, took on the additional duty of chairing The Influence of Military Operations on Politics and Policy in the Trans-Mississippi.  I took more notes during this session than in any other, perhaps because it dealt with the Trans-Miss theatre, with which I am least familiar.  Fellow blogger Drew Wagenhoffer would have been in heaven, I think.  Terry Beckenbaugh started things off with The Economics of Race: Major General Samuel Ryan Curtis’ Policies toward African-Americans and Native Americans in the Trans-Mississippi, 1862-1864.  Perhaps best known for his victory at Pea Ridge, Curtis was a Whig turned Republican who repudiated racial equality while at the same time believing that a person could not be property.  As his Army of the Southwest marched through Arkansas (cutting his supply line and living off the land well before the idea occurred to the likes of Grant and Sherman), Curtis freed slaves and gave them confiscated cotton, thus vesting their interest in Union victory.  Curtis believed that the possibility of being accused of inciting servile insurrection was worth the risk if his actions damaged the enemy.  Later, Curtis’ treatment of the Indians when he moved further west was very severe, giving John Chivington justification for the Sand Creek Massacre when he said there could be “no peace until the Indians suffer more”.  While contrabands were working toward the same end as Curtis – Union victory – the Indians were not; they were in the way.

Jeff Prushankin’s paper, Politics as War by Other Means: The Gray-Lewis Louisiana Congressional Campaign of 1864, examined yet another little discussed topic – the effect of the conduct of the war on political elections in the Confederacy.  The war didn’t last long enough for the effect to be realized on a national level, but the Gray-Lewis campaigns illustrate how it manifested on a smaller scale.  There was a good deal of conflict between Richard Taylor’s command in Louisiana and that of Edmund Kirby Smith’s in Arkansas – it would seem that Smith was behaving somewhat selfishly (I don’t know much about it, but imagine you can find out more in Jeff’s fine book which I have yet to read).  Orders were given and disobeyed, reenforcements withheld, arrests made.  Taking advantage of this Crisis in Confederate Command was Union general Nathaniel Banks.  It was no surprise that the Confederate public took sides with Taylor or Smith.  Two candidates for a vacant congressional seat emerged, with one being perceived to support Taylor (Henry Gray) and one Smith (John Langdon, though his camp denied any ties to Smith).  The election turned into a referendum on Smith and Taylor, with the Taylor candidate (Gray) winning.  Gray went to Richmond and presented evidence tying Smith to the illegal cotton trade, and the tide of public opinion turned decidedly against Smith across the Confederacy.

In Pressured on Every Side: Conflicts between Military and Civilian Priorities planning the Camden Expedition of 1864, Alfred Wallace (yet another Penn Stater) looked at the conciliatory policy practiced in Arkansas by Frederick Steele.  Steele encouraged his troops to fraternize with the residents of Little Rock, where in 1863 there seemed to be a significant Union sentiment.  While the ranks seemed to support Steele, his cavalry commander, Davidson, angry that Steele was breaking down his horses in frivolous races, claimed his conciliatory policy was folly and that only long-hidden Unionists were taking the loyalty oath.  The rumor soon spread that Daniel Sickles was headed to Arkansas to displace Steele.  While that didn’t come about, General James Blunt arrived in Fort Smith, found conditions unfavorable and began lobbying for Steele’s job.  All of these factors affected planning for the upcoming Camden Expedition.  Wallace seemed to feel much of the criticism of Steele was warranted.

 I went once again to McGillan’s for lunch, alone this time as Dana had left that morning and Tom and Angela were visiting Independence Hall.  After lunch I hit the book vendors once again, making four purchases at a hefty discount – it seems the booksellers were very anxious to move product as the conference came to a close.

For the final, 2:30 session of the conference I chose Gearing Up for the Civil War Centennial in the High School Classroom, chaired by Andrew Slap with coments by Ronald Maggiano of West Springfield High School in Virginia.  This panel was organized by fellow blogger Kevin Levin, which makes this summary easy: his presentation is posted by him here, and he briefly recapped the conference here.  I’ll let Kevin speak for himself, and just add that his paper, Using Ken Burns’s The Civil War in the Classroom, was superbly delivered and well received.  James Percoco, whose book Summers with Lincoln I had just purchased upstairs, was next with Monumental Memories of the Sixteenth President.  His PowerPoint slide presentation was an encapsulation of his book: Percoco uses the stories of seven important sculptures to tell the larger tale of Lincoln, the Civil War, and emancipation.  After the session was over Mr. Percoco was kind enough to sign my copy of his book.

Afterwards I went out into the hallway and said my goodbyes.  I made sure to again thank Carol Reardon to hepping me to the shindig – I was really glad I went.  I took a quick circuit around the first and second floors one more time to get a last look at the fine artwork (I’ll talk about that and more in Part IV).  Just before leaving, I was checking out a plaque memorializing the nine regiments raised by the Union League during the war.  Kevin Levin crept up behind and whispered “Take a long look Harry; it’s probably the last time they’ll let us in this place.”  For the most part, he’s probably right, but the League is absorbing the old Civil War and Underground Railroad Museum collection into its own impressive holdings and will house the whole thing in their building, which will be accessible by the public.

I walked to meet my ride to the airport at The Locust Bar at 9th & Locust, had a couple of cold ones, and was off to catch my 8:00 PM flight for Pittsburgh.  It was a nice surprise to see Lesley Gordon sitting in the seat behind me, though that arrangement wasn’t conducive to much conversation.

All in all the Society of Civil War Historians first conference appeared to me a success, and I think I’ll keep my membership active with the intent to attend the 2010 conference in Richmond.  I hope to see many of you there.

Part I

Part II 

Part IV





#114 – Capt. John D. Alexander

29 06 2008

 

Report of Capt. John D. Alexander, Commanding Campbell Rangers

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp. 564-565

CAMP NEAR STONE BRIDGE, July, 1861

SIR: In obedience to your orders, on the morning of the 21st instant I reported with my company of cavalry to Major Wheat, who had been thrown forward with his battalion, and occupied a position upon our extreme left in the immediate vicinity of the enemy. By command of Major Wheat, I forthwith proceeded with my whole company to the front for the purpose of reconnoitering, and advanced in close proximity to the enemy’s lines. Having ascertained as precisely as possible his progress and position, I returned and reported the same to Major Wheat. I then by his direction took position a short distance in rear of his left wing, and held my command in reserve, ready to take advantage of any confusion in the enemy’s ranks or to perform any service that might be required. This post I occupied until Major Wheat’s command, with the Fourth South Carolina Regiment, under Colonel Sloan, having gallantly maintained the action for a considerable time, was forced at length to retire before the overwhelming numbers of the enemy and tremendous fire of his batteries. I fell back slowly and without the slightest confusion before the advancing line of the enemy, halting at short intervals and every available point, and holding my company ready for instant service. In this manner I retired, along with Captain Terry’s company, until we fell in with Colonel Radford’s command near Lewis’ house. Major Wheat having fallen from a severe wound received by him early in the action, I joined Colonel Radford’s battalion of cavalry and remained with him the rest of the day.

After the enemy was repulsed and forced back upon our left we received orders with Colonel Radford’s battalion to make a circuit of several miles to our right for the purpose of charging and intercepting the enemy on the turnpike in the direction of Centreville upon their retreat. This order was received by our men with enthusiasm, they having remained the whole day patiently under the enemy’s fire. We came out into the turnpike near the White House, about two miles from the stone bridge. Near this house, and about three hundred yards in rear of the point where we came into the turnpike, the enemy had planted a battery so as to command the road, and in the woods adjacent to the road on either side of the battery they were posted in considerable force. On the opposite side of the road the enemy was retreating rapidly and in great numbers. A portion of the battalion, and among them my company, charged up the turnpike towards the battery, when a tremendous fire was opened upon us from the battery, and also from the whole force stationed in its vicinity. By this fire I lost several horses, but no men. This was the last stand made by the enemy. After they were broken here the rout became general and irresistible. Some of my men joined in the pursuit and became somewhat scattered, but were all collected that night and reported to you the next morning at these headquarters.

I should perhaps mention in appropriate terms the conduct of the officers and men under my command. From the commencement of the action in the morning until late in the evening they were under the enemy’s fire and within point-blank range of their batteries, and at times almost enveloped in their musketry. They remained firm and unshaken, exhibiting an anxiety only to meet the enemy, and awaiting patiently an opportunity to strike an effective blow. I am gratified to inform you that my officers and men all escaped without personal injury. I received a slight wound in my leg, which did not disable me, and in the charge upon the enemy in the evening at the turnpike, which I have mentioned, Lieutenant Page’s horse was shot, and fell dead while in his proper place at the head of the company. During the day we lost four other horses either killed or permanently disabled. I commend the conduct of all my officers and men to your favorable consideration. It gives me pleasure to inform you that my company is now ready to take the field again and to perform effective service.

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

JOHN D. ALEXANDER,

Captain of Campbell Rangers

Brig. Gen. N. G. EVANS





Society of (Mostly) Civil War Historians Part II

28 06 2008

(Continued from here)

The sessions on Monday and Tuesday followed the same format: three two hour sessions ran simultaneously in the three Grant rooms on the first floor of the building, twice in the morning and once in the afternoon, with the sessions ending at 4:30 PM.  There was also a roundtable discussion on Monday evening at 7:30.  I’m only going to discuss the sessions I attended, but the schedule can (as of today) be found here.

At 8:30 Monday morning I joined Tom Clemens for Other Civil War Soldiers, chaired by Lesley Gordon of the University of Akron, who lives not far from me and with whom I had previously corresponded.  I’ve also heard her speak a few times at the Western Pennsylvania Civil War Roundtable.  The format of the panels consisted of the delivery of multiple papers, with a critique (usually by the chair) and then questions from the audience.  The panelists were Chris Walsh, Cowardice in the Union Army; Jonathon White, Copperheads in the Union Army; and Mark Stepsis, The Lost Years: Connecticut’s Disabled Soldiers (Mark’s title wisely employing the academically ubiquitous colon).

Chris Walsh’s paper dealt with the disciplinary consequences of cowardice by examining the records of JAG Joseph Holt, to whom a charge of cowardice was a very serious thing indeed.  Jonathon White examined voting records of soldiers in the presidential election of 1864, concluding that the results were a result of many choosing what they saw as the lesser of two evils, and repudiation not of the Democrat presidential candidate but of Democrats, their vice-presidential candidate (Pendleton) and Copperheads.  According to White, scholars’ conclusions that the results evidence support of Republican war aims have been overstated.  Mark Stepsis looked at records and statistics relative to the experiences of disabled Union veterans in Connecticut after the war.

In Lesley Gordon’s closing I learned that Illinois and Massachusetts did not allow its soldiers to vote in the election of 1864, and that the state of Maryland allowed all Union soldiers stationed there to vote.  The paper on cowardice, while it dealt with Union records, got me to thinking about some issues raised in Joseph Glatthaar’s General Lee’s Army (see here and here) about an inherent lack of discipline among males in Southern society and in the army.  If the notions of manhood differed north and south, did notions of cowardice differ as well?  While Glatthaar did attend the conference, I never got a chance to ask his opinion.

I also attended the 10:45 AM panel Beleaguered Cincinnatus: Problems of Mobilization and Demobilization in the Civil War Era”, chaired by Randall Miller, with comments by Paul Cimbala (whose new book I am reviewing in brief for the upcoming issue of America’s Civil War).  Colons abounded in these paper titles, and I think the audience breathed a collective sigh of relief.  Penn Stater Timothy Orr read “We are No Grumblers”: The Mutiny and Muster-Out of the Pennsylvania Reserve Division in 1864, which dealt with the SNAFU associated with differences between the state and Federal muster-in dates and the soldiers reactions to what they felt was a violation of their enlistment “contracts”.  James Broomall’s “I Can’t See What Will Become of Us”: Civilians and Soldiers during the Confederacy’s Collapse and Beyond examined the civil strife and confusion in the wake of Confederate demobilization.  Andrew Slap’s A More Common War: African American Soldiers and the Garrisoning of Memphis I found most interesting because it dealt with a topic with which I am relatively unfamiliar: African-American soldiers in the west.  Most black units served in the west in non-combat roles, but the bulk of studies concern combat troops in the east.  Slap’s study examines the 3rd US Colored Heavy Artillery, which garrisoned Memphis, was recruited in large part from the community, and experienced a very high desertion rate.

Lunch was on our own, and here I lucked out.  I was lucky enough to have lunch with my friend Dr. Carol Reardon of Penn State.  I’ve known Dr. Reardon for about nine years, having attended conferences conducted by her through Penn State.  I correspond with her a good bit, especially when I need to know how real, live military historians do things.  We had a nice lunch at McGillin’s Olde Ale House, and she filled me in on what she’s been working on and what’s in the works for her in the future (she’s already done a stint at West Point, and will be a visiting professor at The Citadel for a year).

After lunch I cruised the book vendor booths set up on the second floor of the club.  All the big university presses were represented, offering 30% discounts.  I didn’t buy anything right then, opting to collect flyers – the discounts are available to attendees until the middle of July, and there was another day for shopping.  It was interesting to watch prospective authors pitch their ideas to the press reps.  I was surprised to learn that quite a few books start off in just this way.

The 4:30 panel I attended was one of the highlights of the conference.  John Coski of the Museum of the Confederacy chaired Challenges for Museums and Public History in the 21st Century.  Speakers were John Hennessy of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania NMP, Paul Reber of Stratford Hall, and friend Dana Shoaf of Civil War Times and America’s Civil War magazines.  Hennessy’s paper, Devolution and Evolution: The Treatment of Civil War Battlefields in the Realm of Public History, covered the evolution of the NPS battlefields from their foundation in reconciliation to the current emphasis on telling the whole story of the Civil War including its causes.  On a Bull Run note, he pointed out that when the NPS accepted Manassas Battlefield from its then owners, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, the SCV insisted that the NPS interpretation of the site did not detract from the glory due the Confederates.  Paul Reber’s Everyman His Own Historian Reconsidered addressed various forces that have resulted in steadily declining museum attendance.  But one of the best presentations of the conference was Dana Shoaf’s Popular is not a Dirty Word, or You too can Learn to Love Stories without Footnotes, and I’m not just saying that because he’s a friend.  You gotta love a talk on how academics can better reach a wider audience that starts out with a story about The Sex Pistols’ 1978 US tour and their manager, Malcolm McLaren, who booked the band into various less-than-friendly southern venues, explaining You must go where you need to go to convert the masses.  It was catchy and altogether fitting.  Dana made a fine point that recent scholarship challenging long held beliefs about the Civil War is not reaching the masses for various reasons, including an unwillingness of academics to publish work in popular magazines.  These magazines reach a massive audience because of their relatively low cost, their focus on military aspects (though social history is not unheard of), and the absence of end or footnotes, which many readers find off-putting – they interfere with the apsirational aspects of reading an article by making the reader feel less than knowledgeable.  I think Dana gave many in attendance food for thought.

At 4:30 a group of about 30-40 met for a tour of the Union League that was so cool I’m going to cover it in Part IV of this series.

After the tour, Dana, Tom, Angela and I walked around the corner to McGillan’s (again, for me) for dinner, a couple of cold beverages, and some great conversation.  We were back in plenty of time for the 7:30 roundtable on The State of Civil War Military History.  The panelists were Gary Gallagher, Joseph Glatthaar, Carol Reardon, and Joan Waugh.  One of the first things pointed out was the fact that the SCWH was formed in response to a lack of discussion of military history in the Southern Historical Association, which was followed by the observation that the program for this conference offered very little in the way of discussion of military history.  Here again I think the highlight of this session was the observations of a friend, Carol Reardon.  She spoke of some of the things we discussed that day at lunch, arguing that a reexamination of what was going on here in the US before and during the war along the lines of tactical, operational, and strategic military theory is in order.

After the roundtable, I retired to one of the club’s bars and enjoyed a few drinks with Dana, Tom, Angela and Lesley Gordon – other bigshots were seated nearby but I didn’t meet any of them.  I spoke briefly with Terry Beckenbaugh of the US Army Command and General Staff College, to whom Jeff Prushankin had introduced me earlier in the day.  Terry alluded to some guest blogging he may be doing at Civil Warriors in the near future.  I had freeloaded off of Dana for lunch, and ended up a deadbeat again at the bar because only member numbers or room numbers are accepted as payment.  So now I owe both Dana and the Clemenses.

Part I

Part III

Part IV





Out, Damn’d Spot! Out, I Say!

13 05 2008

When it comes to First Bull Run, historians and other chroniclers of the battle have a lot in common with Lady MacBeth: they tend to see red where there is no red, or at least it’s not where they think it is.

I’m making my way through Joseph Glatthaar’s General Lee’s Army (see here).The first four chapters, while they have lots of really good information, were a real chore to read.  They remind me of George Rable’s Fredericksburg! Fredericksburg!, which also contains lots of good stuff but could have been just as, if not more, effective in about half or two thirds the length.  Perhaps Glatthaar grew so enamored of the anecdotes he turned up he was loathe to part with them, with the result being that the relative importance of the various points being made is blunted.  Anyone frustrated with the seemingly excessive “stuff” that infuses Russell Beatie’s books should be similarly irked with the first four chapters of General Lee’s Army.  They should be, anyway.

But let’s get back to The Scottish Play, and how it applies to Glatthaar’s book.  In chapter six, the narrative framework of the story of Lee’s army – actually, the forerunners of Lee’s army – gets us to First Bull Run.  On page 55 the author writes:

Men of the 13th Virginia jumped off the train [at Manassas Junction on July 21] and raced to the sound of gunfire.  A private reported that “the dust was so thick that we could not see a man five paces immediately in front of us.”  Choking on dirt and craving water to soothe parched mouths, they eagerly rushed onward nevertheless.  Stragglers and wounded called out to them to “pick off the red pants [11th New York Infantry (Zouaves) and 14th New York Infantry], that they had injured us more than any other part of the enemy.”  But to their great dismay, they never got the chance.  By the time they reached the main battlefield, their comrades had swept the field.  The only Yankees in red pants they met were prisoners of war.

And they were also only members of the 14th Brooklyn.  As discussed several times on Bull Runnings (most notably here), the 11th New York Fire Zouaves were not wearing red pants at Bull Run.  Most of their Zouave pants had worn to tatters by then, and the majority of the men sported standard issue blue trousers.  In addition, the 11th New York Zouave uniform consisted of gray jackets, gray pants and red firemen’s shirts.  Not red pants.  They never wore ’em.

It’s difficult to tell from the footnoting method (one note at the end of a long paragraph with a number of cites for the whole paragraph) whether Glatthaar used a participant’s identification of the regiments, or if he interpreted the description to apply to the 11th and 14th NY himself.  I really, really hate these footnotes.  But I’m willing to forgive them and the glacial pace of the first four chapters – and a disappointing, dismissive, pedestrian description of Joseph E. Johnston – because, like I said, there’s a lot of good stuff in General Lee’s Army.





#100 – Brig. Gen. James Longstreet

26 03 2008

 

Report of Brig. Gen. James Longstreet, C. S. Army, Commanding Fourth Brigade, First Corps

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp 543-544

HEADQUARTERS FOURTH BRIGADE, July 28, 1861

In obedience to the general’s orders of the 20th to assume the offensive, my command was moved across Bull Run at an early hour on the 21st. I found my troops much exposed to the fire of the enemy’s artillery, my front being particularly exposed to a double cross-fire as well as a direct one. Garland’s regiment, Eleventh Virginia, was placed in position to carry by assault the battery immediately in my front. McRae’s regiment, Fifth North Carolina, under Lieutenant-Colonel Jones, the colonel being sick, was posted in front of the battery on my right, and with same purpose in regard to this battery. Strong bodies of skirmishers were thrown out in front of each column, with orders to lead in the assault, and at the same time to keep up a sharp fire, so as to confuse as much as possible the fire of the enemy, and thereby protect the columns, which were not to fire again before the batteries were ours. The columns were to be supported, the first by the First Virginia Regiment, under Major Skinner, the second by the Seventeenth Virginia Regiment, under Colonel Corse. The Twenty-fourth Virginia Regiment, trader Colonel Hairston, was the reserve in column of division in mass, convenient to the support of either column. Arrangements being complete, the troops were ordered to lie down and cover themselves from the artillery fire as much as possible.

About an hour after my position was taken it was discovered by a reconnaissance made by Colonels Terry and Lubbock that the enemy was moving in heavy columns towards our left, the position that the general had always supposed he would take. This information was at once sent to headquarters, and I soon received orders to fall back upon my original position, the right bank of the run. Colonels Terry and Lubbock then volunteered to make a reconnaissance of the position of the enemy’s batteries. They made a very gallant and complete one, and a hasty sketch of his entire left. This information was forwarded to the commanding general, with the suggestion that the batteries be taken.

The general’s orders were promptly issued to that effect, and I again moved across the run, but some of the troops ordered to co-operate failed to get their orders. After awaiting the movement some time, I received a peculiar order to hold my position only. In a few minutes, however, the enemy were reported routed, and I was again ordered forward. The troops were again moved across the run and advanced towards Centreville, the Fifth North Carolina Regiment being left to hold the ford. Advancing to the attack of the routed column I had the First, Eleventh, Seventeenth, and Twenty-fourth Virginia Regiments, Garnett’s section of the Washington Artillery, and Whitehead’s troop of cavalry. The artillery and cavalry were at once put in pursuit, followed as rapidly as possible by the infantry.

General Bonham, who was pursuing on our left, finding it difficult to advance through the fields, &c., moved his command to the road, put it in advance of mine, and the march towards Centreville was continued about a mile farther. Night coming on, the general deemed it advisable to halt. After lying in this position about an hour the general directed that the troops should be marched back to Bull Run for water.

Early next day I sent Colonel Terry forward, under the protection of Captain Whitehead’s troop, to pick up stragglers, ordnance, ordnance stores, and other property that had been abandoned by the enemy. I have been too much occupied to get the names or the number of prisoners. As I had no means of taking care of them I at once sent them to headquarters.  Colonel Terry captured the Federal flag said to have been made, in anticipation of victory, to be hoisted over our position at Manassas. He also shot from the cupola of the court-house at Fairfax the Federal flag left there. These were also duly forwarded to the commanding general.

About noon of the 22d Colonel Garland was ordered with his regiment to the late battle-ground to collect and preserve the property, &c., that had been abandoned in that direction. Colonel Garland’s report and inventory of other property and stores brought in to headquarters and listed by Captain Sorrel, of my staff, and the regimental reports of killed and wounded are herewith inclosed.(*)

My command, although not actively engaged against the enemy, was under the fire of his artillery for nine hours during the day. The officers and men exhibited great coolness and patience during the time.

To our kind and efficient medical officers, Surgeons Cullen, Thornhill, and Lewis, Assistant Surgeons Maury, Chalmers, and Snowden, we owe many thanks. Lieut. F. S. Armistead, acting assistant adjutant-general, and Lieut. P. T. Manning were very active and zealous.

Volunteer Staff.–Colonel Riddick, assistant adjutant-general, North Carolina, was of great assistance in conveying orders, assisting in the distribution of troops, and infusing proper spirit among them. Cols. B. F. Terry and T. Lubbock were very active and energetic. When unoccupied, they repeatedly volunteered their services to make reconnaissances. They were very gallantly seconded by Capts. T. Goree and Chichester, who were also very useful in conveying orders. Capts. T. Walton and C. M. Thompson were very active and prompt in the discharge of their duties. Captain Sorrel joined me as a volunteer aide in the midst of the fight. He came into the battle as gaily as a beau, and seemed to receive orders which threw him into more exposed positions with peculiar delight.

I remain, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

JAMES LONGSTREET,

Brigadier-General

(*) Not Found, but see pp. 570, 571





#96 – Brig. Gen. David R. Jones

13 03 2008

 

Report of Brig. Gen. David R. Jones, Commanding Third Brigade, First Corps

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp 537-539

HDQRS. THIRD BRIGADE, ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

Camp near McLean’s Ford, on Bull Run, July 23, 1861

SIR: In compliance with orders from headquarters, I have the honor to submit the following statement of the operations of my brigade on the day of the 21st instant:

At 7.10 a.m. the following order was received, viz:

JULY 21, 1861

Brig. Gen. D. R. JONES,

Commanding Third Brigade:

GENERAL: General Ewell has been ordered to take the offensive upon Centreville. You will follow the movement at once by attacking him in your front.

Respectfully,

G.T. BEAUREGARD,

Brigadier General, Commanding

I immediately placed my brigade in readiness to advance, and dispatched a messenger to communicate with General Ewell, whose movement I was to follow. Not receiving a prompt reply, I crossed McLean’s Ford and took position with my artillery in battery on the Union Mills road, near the farm of Mr. E. W. Kincheloe and abreast of Grigsby’s, which the enemy held with a strong force of artillery, infantry, and cavalry. I here awaited the advance of General Ewell for about two hours and a half, at the end of which time I received a somewhat discretionary order, through Captain Ferguson, aide-de-camp, and a few minutes after the following positive order, through Colonel Chisolm, aide-de-camp, to return to my former position,-viz:

10.30 A.M.

General JONES:

On account of the difficulties in our front it is thought preferable to countermand the advance of the right wing. Resume your former position.

G. T. BEAUREGARD,

Brigadier-General, Commanding

In the execution of these orders the two Mississippi regiments of my brigade, while advancing to recross McLean’s Ford, were exposed to a dangerous and demoralizing fire of rifle shot and shell from the enemy’s batteries, placed at or near Grigsby’s barn. Upon reaching my intrenchments General Ewell sent me an order he had received from General Beauregard, upon which was the following indorsement, viz:

The general says this is the only order he has received. It implies he is to receive another. Send this to General Beauregard if you think proper.

FITZ. LEE,

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General

Shortly after this I was requested by General Longstreet to make a demonstration in his favor on my front, followed by an order from General Beauregard, borne by Mr. Terry, 11.30 a.m., to advance upon the enemy Up Rocky Run, co-operating with General Ewell on my right and General Longstreet on my left.

I recrossed the ford, my men much fatigued by the morning’s march, many just convalescing from the measles, and retraced my route to the position I had occupied in the morning, and thence endeavored to communicate with General Ewell. Failing in this, I notified General Longstreet that I was advancing to the assault, and proceeded westwardly through the woods to the eastern elevation of Rocky Run Valley. My regiments were pushed forward by a flank movement through a ravine in the northeastern corner of Croson’s field, with instructions to form into line after crossing the hollow in the following order, viz: Colonel Jenkins, Fifth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, on the right, his right wing resting on the woods; Colonel Burr, Eighteenth Regiment Mississippi Volunteers, on the left, and Colonel Featherston, Seventeenth Regiment Mississippi Volunteers, supporting my artillery, protected by a company of infantry and Captain Flood’s small troop of cavalry, to be posted on the brow of a hill well to the left–the only point from which it could be used at all–in order to distract the enemy’s fire from my advancing lines of infantry. This arrangement of my two pieces of artillery, I regret to state, was impracticable by a vigorous converging fire from the enemy’s rifled guns and an advance of his infantry before my infantry company could be thrown forward to protect the pieces, and I was compelled to withdraw them.

Colonel Jenkins’ regiment advanced through a galling fire and over exceedingly difficult ground across the hollow. The Mississippi regiment followed, but owing to the great difficulties of the ground, which were not apparent in my reconnaissance, and to the murderous shower of the shot, shell, and canister which was poured upon the brigade from a masked battery, as well as from that in front, faltered, and, with the exception of Captain Fontaine’s company, fell back. I rallied them in the woods to the rear at a point to which I had previously withdrawn the artillery and cavalry. While the Eighteenth Mississippi Regiment was endeavoring to form into line its right became lapped behind the left of the Fifth, upon which its fire told with fatal effect. The latter regiment (the Fifth), notwithstanding the heavy fire of the enemy in front and the unfortunate fire of friends in the rear, advanced to the opposite slope, and then formed into line of battle, prepared to make the charge. Being isolated by the falling back of the supporting regiments it maintained its position for nearly three-quarters of an hour, its two right companies in the mean time thrown into the woods with well-directed volleys, driving the already retreating foe precipitately from the field. After I had dispatched three separate orders to withdraw, there being no favoring demonstration from Blackburn’s Ford, it retired well formed and in good order from the field.

Although the main object of our attack–the possession of the battery–was not attained, the effect of our operations, I am glad to believe, was none the less important in working out the grand issues of the day. The enemy left in panic the strong position from which he completely commanded several fords of Bull Run and the adjacent country for miles around.

My men behaved well in making the advance, considering the great difficulties of the ground and the terrible nature of the fire, as the following statement will show: Fifth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, 3 killed, 23 wounded; Seventeenth Regiment Mississippi Volunteers, 2 killed, 10 wounded, Eighteenth Regiment Mississippi Volunteers, 9 killed, 29 wounded. Total, 14 killed, 62 wounded.

It affords me much pleasure to express the confidence with which the conduct of Captain Miller and Lieutenant Norcom, of the artillery, and Capt. J. W. Flood, of the cavalry, attached to my command, inspired me. I only regret that the circumstances of my position prevented me from deriving the full benefit of the assistance they were so ready and eager to give. Too much cannot be said in praise of the gallantry displayed by Colonel Jenkins and his regiment of South Carolinians. The daring advance in line, the unwavering determination and coolness with which he held his command in position after it was completely isolated, and the ready tact with which he advanced his right flank and scattered the foe, will challenge comparison, I venture to say, with any of the many exhibitions of gallantry that graced the signal victory of the day. To Captain Fontaine, Company H, Eighteenth Regiment Mississippi Volunteers, much praise is also due for the manner in which he kept his company in hand. Not only did he resist the backward pressure of the other companies of his regiment, but he gallantly maintained his ground in rear of the Fifth Regiment, and with it retired from the field.

For more detailed reports I beg leave to refer you to the accompanying reports of colonels commanding regiments of this brigade.

To the following-named gentlemen: Lieut. F. G. Latham, acting assistant adjutant-general, Capts. A. Coward, J. W. Ford, E. Taylor, J. R. Curell, and Lieut. O. K. McLemore, members of my staff, I am indebted for valuable assistance, and I am under especial obligations to Mr. E. W. Kincheloe, whose services as messenger, scout, and guide were truly valuable to me personally, as well as the cause in which we are engaged. I take pleasure also in acknowledging the valuable assistance of Colonel White and Mr. Davis, both independent volunteers, accompanying the Mississippi Volunteers under my command.

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

D. R. JONES,

Brigadier-General, Commanding

Lieut. Col. THOMAS JORDAN,

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General








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