#72 – Col. R. C. W. Radford

15 03 2009

Report of Col. R. C. W. Radford, Thirtieth Virginia Cavalry, of Operations of Cavalry Brigade, July 17 to 20

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp. 457-458

CAMP GREGG, VIENNA, July 27, 1861

CAPTAIN: In accordance with special order dated headquarters First Brigade, Camp Beauregard, Army of Potomac, July 23, 1861, I have the honor to report that at early dawn on the 17th instant I was informed of the approach of the enemy on Fairfax Court-House. Captain Ball’s company was sent out to watch their movements, and remained out until the main body of our forces had taken up the line of retreat, in consequence of which he was compelled to abandon a portion of his baggage. A squadron, composed of the companies of Captains Wickham and Flood, was ordered to report to Colonel Kershaw, to form a part of the rear guard of the advanced forces.

A squadron under Colonel Munford and three companies under my own command were stationed in central positions, so as to operate as might be deemed necessary. Lieutenant-Colonel Munford acted during the retreat with Colonel Bacon’s regiment, and the companies under my own command with Colonel Cash’s regiment.

The only loss sustained by the cavalry during the retreat was of Privates William Mallow and John Mays, of the company under Captain Pitzer, who were on picket duty on a very advanced post, and are supposed to have been taken prisoners by the enemy. The retreat was conducted in perfect order and to my entire satisfaction, bringing off everything, with the exception of the articles left by Captain Ball. At Centreville a halt of several hours was made, when Captains Payne and Powell were ordered with their companies to watch the movements of the enemy. Two strong pickets, under command of Lieutenants Halsey and Brocker, were also sent on the roads occupied by the enemy. A detail of five men was also made to go, during the night of the 17th instant, with Colonel Lipscomb to reconnoiter on the cross-roads leading into the Braddock road.

While making the reconnaissance this party was fired into by a scouting party of the enemy, and Private William Walton’s horse shot under him, in consequence of which he was forced to leave him with all his equipage. The party returned without further accident, and my command left Centreville at midnight for Mitchell’s Ford, on Bull Run, and took a position immediately in rear of General Bonham’s headquarters.

On the 18th instant the cavalry under my command were under fire from the enemy’s cannon for two hours, and were then ordered to occupy the position between the brigades of Generals Cocke and Bonham. After the firing had ceased I was ordered, with my command, to examine all of the fords on Bull Run and to scour the country. We continued to watch the fords until the morning of the 21st instant.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. C. W. RADFORD,

Colonel Virginia Volunteers, Comdg. Cavalry, First Brigade

Captain STEVENS,

Asst. Adjt. Gen., First Brigade, Army of the Potomac





#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

HDQRS. EIGHTH REGIMENT SOUTH CAROLINA VOLS.,

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

HDQRS. EIGHTH REG’T SOUTH CAROLINA VOLS.,

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.

JNO. W. HENAGAN,

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

HDQRS. SEVENTH REG’T SOUTH CAROLINA VOLS.,

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.

THOS. G. BACON,

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,

J. H. WILLIAMS,

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

HDQRS. SECOND PALMETTO REG’T, SOUTH CAROLINA VOLS.,

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

HDQRS. FIRST BRIG., FIRST CORPS, ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

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,

M. L. BONHAM,

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

MANASSAS, JULY 18, 1861

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.

Respectfully,

THOMAS JORDAN,

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.

THOMAS JORDAN





#64 – Gen. G. T. Beauregard

22 02 2009

Reports of General G. T. Beauregard, Commanding Confederate Army of the Potomac, of Operations from July 17 to 20

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp. 439-448

MANASSAS, July 17, 1861

JEFFERSON DAVIS,

President of the Confederate States:

The enemy has assailed my outposts in heavy force. I have fallen back on the line of Bull Run, and will make a stand at Mitchell’s Ford.If his force is overwhelming I shall retire to the Rappahannock Railroad Bridge, saving my command for defense there and future operations. Please inform Johnston of this, via Staunton, and also Holmes. Send forward any re-enforcements at the earliest possible instant and by every possible means.

G. T. BEAUREGARD

—–

HDQRS. FIRST CORPS, ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

Manassas, August –, 1861

GENERAL: With the general results of the engagement between several brigades of my command and a considerable force of the enemy in the vicinity of Mitchell’s and Blackburn’s Fords, at Bull Run, on the 18th ultimo, you were made duly acquainted at the time by telegraph, but it is my place now to submit in detail the operations of that day.

Opportunely informed of the determination of the enemy to advance on Manassas, my advanced brigades, on the night of the 16th of July, were made aware from these headquarters of the impending movement, and in exact accordance with my instructions (a copy of which is appended, marked A), their withdrawal within the lines of Bull Run was effected with complete success during the day and night of the 17th ultimo, in face of and in immediate proximity to a largely superior force, despite a well-planned, well-executed effort to cut off the retreat of Bonham’s brigade first at Germantown and subsequently at Centreville, whence he withdrew by my direction after midnight without collision, although enveloped on three sides by their lines. This movement had the intended effect of deceiving the enemy as to my ulterior purposes, and led him to anticipate an unresisted passage of Bull Run.

As prescribed in the first and second sections of the paper herewith, marked A, on the morning of the 18th of July, my troops, resting on Bull Run from Union Mills Ford to the stone bridge, a distance of about eight miles, were posted as follows:

Ewell’s brigade occupied a position in vicinity of the Union Mills Ford. It consisted of Rodes’ Fifth and Seibels’ Sixth Regiments of Alabama, and Seymour’s Sixth Regiment Louisiana Volunteers, with four 12-pounder howitzers of Walton’s battery, and Harrison’s, Green’s, and Cabell’s companies of Virginia Cavalry.

D. R. Jones’ brigade was in position in rear of McLean’s Ford, and consisted of Jenkins’ Fifth South Carolina and Burt’s Eighteenth and Featherston’s Seventeenth Regiments of Mississippi Volunteers, with two brass 6-pounder guns of Walton’s battery, and one company of cavalry.

Longstreet’s brigade covered Blackburn’s Ford, and consisted of Moore’s First, Garland’s Eleventh, and Corse’s Seventeenth Regiments Virginia Volunteers, with two 6-pounder brass guns of Walton’s battery.

Bonham’s brigade held the approaches to Mitchell’s Ford. It was composed of Kershaw’s Second, Williams’ Third, Bacon’s Seventh, and Cash’s Eighth Regiments South Carolina Volunteers; of Shields’ and Del. Kemper’s batteries, and of Flood’s, Radford’s, Payne’s, Ball’s, Wickham’s, and Powell’s companies of Virginia Cavalry, under Colonel Radford.

Cooke’s brigade held the fords below and in the vicinity of the stone bridge, and consisted of Withers’ Eighteenth, Lieutenant-Colonel Strange’s Nineteenth, and R. T. Preston’s Twenty-eighth Regiments, with Latham’s battery, and one company of cavalry, Virginia Volunteers.

Evans held my left flank, and protected the stone bridge crossing, with Sloan’s Fourth Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, Wheat’s special battalion Louisiana Volunteers, four 6-pounder guns, and two companies of Virginia Cavalry.

Early’s brigade, consisting of Kemper’s Seventh and Early’s Twenty-fourth Regiments Virginia Volunteers; Hays’ Seventh Regiment Louisiana Volunteers, and three rifled pieces of Walton’s battery–Lieutenant Squires–at first were held in position in the rear of and as a support to Ewell’s brigade, until after the development of the enemy in heavy offensive force in front of Mitchell’s and Blackburn’s Fords, when it was placed in rear of and nearly equidistant between McLean’s, Blackburn’s, and Mitchell’s Fords.

Pending the development of the enemy’s purpose, about 10 o’clock a.m. I established my headquarters at a central point (McLean’s farmhouse), near to McLean’s and Blackburn’s Fords, where two 6-pounders of Walton’s battery were in reserve, but subsequently during the engagement I took post to the left of my reserve.

Of the topographical features of the country thus occupied it must suffice to say that Bull Run is a small stream, running in this locality nearly from west to east to its confluence with the Occoquan River, about twelve miles from the Potomac, and draining a considerable scope of country from its source in Bull Run Mountain to a short distance of the Potomac at Occoquan. At this season habitually low and sluggish, it is, however, rapidly and frequently swollen by the summer rains until unfordable. The banks for the most part are rocky and steep, but abound in long-used fords. The country on either side, much broken and thickly wooded, becomes gently rolling and open as it recedes from the stream. On the northern side the ground is much the highest, and commands the other bank completely. Roads traverse and intersect the surrounding country in almost every direction. Finally, at Mitchell’s Ford the stream is about equidistant between Centreville and Manassas, some six miles apart.

On the morning of the 18th, finding that the enemy was assuming a threatening attitude, in addition to the regiments whose positions have been already stated, I ordered up from Camp Pickens as a reserve, in rear of Bonham’s brigade, the effective men of six companies of Kelly’s Eighth Regiment Louisiana Volunteers and Kirkland’s Eleventh Regiment North Carolina Volunteers, which, having arrived the night before en route for Winchester, I had halted in view of the existing necessities of the service. Subsequently the latter was placed in position to the left of Bonham’s brigade.

Appearing in heavy force in front of Bonham’s position, the enemy, about meridian, opened fire with several 20-pounder rifled guns from a hill over one and a half miles from Bull Run. At the same time Kemper, supported by two companies of light infantry, occupied a ridge on the left of the Centreville road, about six hundred yards in advance of the ford, with two 6-pounder (smooth) guns. At first the firing of the enemy was at random, but by 12.30 p.m. he had obtained the range of our position, and poured into the brigade a shower of shot, but without injury to us in men, horses, or guns. From the distance, however, our guns could not reply with effect, and we did not attempt it, patiently awaiting a more opportune moment.

Meanwhile a light battery was pushed forward by the enemy, whereupon Kemper threw only six solid shot, with the effect of driving back both the battery and its supporting force. This is understood to have been Ayres’ battery, and the damage must have been considerable to have obliged such a retrograde movement on the part of that officer. The purposes of Kemper’s position having now been fully served, his pieces and support were withdrawn across Mitchell’s Ford to a point previously designated, and which commanded the direct approaches to the ford.

About 11.30 o’clock a.m. the enemy was also discovered by the pickets of Longstreet’s brigade advancing in strong columns of infantry with artillery and cavalry on Blackburn’s Ford. At meridian the pickets fell back silently before the advancing foe across the ford, which, as well as the entire southern bank of the stream for the whole front of Longstreet’s brigade, was covered at the water’s edge by an extended line of skirmishers, while two 6-pounders of Walton’s battery, under Lieutenant Garnett, were advantageously placed to command the direct approach to the ford, but with orders to retire to the rear as soon as commanded by the enemy.

The northern bank of the stream in front of Longstreet’s position rises with a steep slope at least fifty feet above the level of the water, leaving a narrow berme in front of the ford of some twenty yards. This ridge formed for them an admirable natural parapet, behind which they could and did approach under shelter in heavy force within less than one hundred yards of our skirmishers. The southern shore was almost a plain, raised but a few feet above the water for several hundred yards; then rising with a very gradual, gentle slope and undulations back to Manassas. On the immediate bank there was a fringe of trees, but with little if any undergrowth or shelter, while on the other shore there were timber and much thick brush and covering. The ground in rear of our skirmishers and occupied by our artillery was an old field, extending along the stream about one mile, and immediately back for about half a mile to a border or skirting of dense second-growth pines. The whole of this ground was commanded at all points by the ridge occupied by the enemy’s musketry, as was also the country to the rear for a distance much beyond the range of 20-pounder rifled guns by the range of hills on which their batteries were planted, and which it may be further noted commanded also all our approaches from this direction to the three threatened fords.

Before advancing his infantry the enemy maintained a fire of rifled artillery from the batteries just mentioned for half an hour; then he pushed forward a column of over three thousand infantry to the assault, with such a weight of numbers as to be repelled with difficulty by the comparatively small force of not more than twelve hundred bayonets with which Brigadier-General Longstreet met him with characteristic vigor and intrepidity. Our troops engaged at this time were the First and Seventeenth and four companies of the Eleventh Regiments Virginia Volunteers. Their resistance was resolute, and maintained with a steadiness worthy of all praise. It was successful, and the enemy was repulsed. In a short time, however, he returned to the contest with increased force and determination, but was again foiled and driven back by our skirmishers and Longstreet’s reserve companies, which were brought up and employed at the most vigorously-assailed points at the critical moment.

It was now that Brigadier-General Longstreet sent for re-enforcements from Early’s brigade, which I had anticipated by directing the advance of General Early with two regiments of infantry and two pieces of artillery. As these came upon the field the enemy had advanced a third time with heavy numbers to force Longstreet’s position. Hays’ regiment, Seventh Louisiana Volunteers, which was in advance, was placed on the bank of the stream under some cover to the immediate right and left of the ford, relieving Corse’s regiment (Seventeenth Virginia Volunteers). This was done under a heavy fire of musketry with promising steadiness. The Seventh Virginia, under Lieutenant-Colonel Williams, was then formed to the right, also under heavy fire, and pushed forward to the stream, relieving the First Regiment Virginia Volunteers. At the same time two rifled guns brought up with Early’s brigade were moved down in the field to the right of the road, so as to be concealed from the enemy’s artillery by the girth of timber on the immediate bank of the stream, and there opened fire, directed only by the sound of the enemy’s musketry.

Unable to effect a passage, the enemy kept up a scattering fire for some time. Some of our troops had pushed across the stream, and several small parties of Corse’s regiment, under command of Captain Marye, met and drove the enemy with the bayonet; but as the roadway from the ford was too narrow for a combined movement in force, General Longstreet recalled them to the south bank. Meanwhile the remainder of Early’s infantry and artillery had been called up; that is, six companies of the Twenty-fourth Regiment Virginia Volunteers, under Lieutenant-Colonel Hairston, and five pieces of artillery, one rifled gun, and four 6-pounder brass guns, including two 6-pounder guns under Lieutenant Garnett, which had been previously sent to the rear by General Longstreet. This infantry was at once placed in position to the left of the ford, in a space unoccupied by Hays, and the artillery was unlimbered in battery to the right of the road, in a line with the two guns already in action. A scattering fire of musketry was still kept up by the enemy for a short time, but that was soon silenced.

It was at this stage of the affair that a remarkable artillery duel was commenced and maintained on our side with a long-trained professional opponent, superior in the character as well as in the number of his weapons, provided with improved munitions and every artillery appliance, and at the same time occupying the commanding position. The results were marvelous, and fitting precursors to the artillery achievements of the 21st of July. In the outset our fire was directed against the enemy’s infantry, whose bayonets, gleaming above the tree-tops, alone indicated their presence and force. This drew the attention of a battery placed on a high, commanding ridge, and the duel began in earnest. For a time the aim of the adversary was inaccurate, but this was quickly corrected, and shot fell and shells burst thick and fast in the very midst of our battery, wounding in the course of the combat Captain Eshleman, five privates, and the horse of Lieutenant Richardson. From the position of our pieces and the nature of the ground their aim could only be directed at the smoke of the enemy’s artillery. How skillfully and with what execution this was done can only be realized by an eye-witness. For a few moments their guns were silenced, but were soon reopened. By direction of General Longstreet, his battery was then advanced by hand out of the range now ascertained by the enemy, and a shower of spherical case, shell, and round shot flew over the heads of our gunners. But one of our pieces had become hors de combat from an enlarged vent.

From the new position our guns fired as before, with no other aim than the smoke and flash of their adversaries’ pieces, renewed and urged the conflict with such signal vigor and effect, that gradually the fire of the enemy slackened, the intervals between their discharges grew longer and longer, finally to cease, and we fired a last gun at a baffled, flying foe, whose heavy masses in the distance were plainly seen to break and scatter in wild confusion and utter rout, strewing the ground with castaway guns, hats, blankets, and knapsacks as our parting shell were thrown among them. In their retreat one of their pieces was abandoned, but from the nature of the ground it was not sent for that night, and under cover of darkness the enemy recovered it.

The guns engaged in this singular conflict on our side were three 6-pounder rifled pieces and four ordinary 6-pounders, all of Walton’s battery, Washington Artillery, of New Orleans. The officers immediately attached were Captain Eshleman, Lieuts. C. W. Squires, Richardson, Garnett, and Whittington. At the same time our infantry held the bank of the stream in advance of our guns, and the missiles of the combatants flew to and fro above them, as cool and veteran-like for more than an hour they steadily awaited the moment and signal for the advance.

While the conflict was at its height before Blackburn’s Ford, about l o’clock p.m., the enemy again displayed himself in force before Bonham’s position. At this time Colonel Kershaw, with four companies of his regiment (Second South Carolina) and one piece of Kemper’s battery, were thrown across Mitchell’s Ford to the ridge which Kemper had occupied that morning. Two solid shot and three spherical case thrown among them with a precision inaugurated by that artillerist at Vienna effected their discomfiture and disappearance, and our troops in that quarter were again withdrawn within our lines, having discharged the duty assigned.

At the close of the engagement before Blackburn’s Ford I directed General Longstreet to withdraw the First and Seventeenth Regiments, which had borne the brunt of the action, to a position in reserve, leaving Colonel Early to occupy the field with his brigade and Garland’s regiment.

As a part of the history of this engagement I desire to place on record that on the 18th of July not one yard of intrenchments nor one rifle pit sheltered the men at Blackburn’s Ford, who, officers and men, with rare exceptions, were on that day for the first time under fire, and who, taking and maintaining every position ordered, cannot be too much commended for their soldierly behavior.

Our artillery was manned and officered by those who but yesterday were called from the civil avocations of a busy city. They were matched with the picked light artillery of the Federal Regular Army–Company E, Third Artillery, under Captain Ayres, with an armament, as their own chief of artillery admits, of two 10-pounder Parrott rifled guns, two 12-pounder howitzers, and two 6-pounder pieces, aided by two 20-pounder Parrott rifled guns of Company G, Fifth Artillery, under Lieutenant Benjamin. Thus matched, they drove their veteran adversaries from the field, giving confidence in and promise of the coming efficiency of that brilliant arm of our service.

Having thus related the main or general results and events of the action of Bull Run, in conclusion it is proper to signalize some of those who contributed most to the satisfactory results of that day. Thanks are due to Brigadier-Generals Bonham and Ewell and to Colonel Cocke and the officers under them for the ability shown in conducting and executing the retrograde movements on Bull Run directed in my orders of the 8th of July–movements on which hung the fortunes of this Army.

Brigadier-General Longstreet, who commanded immediately the troops engaged at Blackburn’s Ford on the 18th, equaled my confident expectations, and I may fitly say that by his presence at the right place at the right moment among his men, by the exhibition of characteristic coolness, and by his words of encouragement to the men of his command, he infused a confidence and spirit that contributed largely to the success of our arms on that day.

Colonel Early brought his brigade into position and subsequently into action with judgment, and at the proper moment; he displayed capacity for command and personal gallantry.

Colonel Moore, commanding the First Virginia Volunteers, was severely wounded at the head of his regiment, the command of which subsequently devolved upon Major Skinner, Lieutenant-Colonel Fry having been obliged to leave the field in consequence of a sun-stroke.

An accomplished, promising officer, Maj. Carter H. Harrison, Eleventh Regiment Virginia Volunteers, was lost to the service while leading two companies of his regiment against the enemy. He fell, twice shot, mortally wounded.

Brigadier-General Longstreet, while finding on all sides alacrity, ardor, and intelligence, mentions his special obligations to Colonels Moore, Garland, and Corse, commanding severally regiments of his brigade, and to their field officers, Lieutenant-Colonels Fry, Funsten, Munford, and Majors Brent and Skinner, of whom he says, “They displayed more coolness and energy than is usual among veterans of the old service.” General Longstreet also mentions the conduct of Captain Marye, of the Seventeenth Virginia Volunteers, as especially gallant on one occasion, in advance of the ford.

The regiments of Early’s brigade were commanded by Colonel Harry Hays and Lieutenant-Colonels Williams and Hairston, who handled their commands in action with satisfactory coolness and skill, supported by their field officers, Lieutenant-Colonel De Choiseul and Major Penn, of the Seventh Louisiana, and Major Patton, of the Seventh Virginia Volunteers.

The skill, the conduct, and the soldierly qualities of the Washington Artillery engaged were all that could be desired. The officers and men attached to the seven pieces already specified won for their battalion a distinction which I feel assured will never be tarnished, and which will ever serve to urge them and their corps to high endeavor. Lieutenant Squires worthily commanded the pieces in action. The commander of the battalion was necessarily absent from the immediate field, under orders in the sphere of his duties, but the fruits of his discipline, zeal, instruction, and capacity as an artillery commander were present, and must redound to his reputation.

On the left, at Mitchell’s Ford, while no serious engagement occurred, the conduct of all was eminently satisfactory to the general officers in command.

It is due, however, to Col. J. L. Kemper, Virginia forces, to express my sense of the value of his services in the preparation for and execution of the retreat from Fairfax Court-House on Bull Run. Called from the head of his regiment, by what appeared to me an imperative need of the service, to take charge of the superior duties of the quartermaster’s department with the advance at that critical juncture, he accepted the responsibilities involved, and was eminently efficient.

For further information touching officers and individuals of the First Brigade, and the details of the retrograde movement, I have to refer particularly to the report of Brigadier-General Bonham, herewith No. 66.

It is proper here to state that while from the outset it had been determined on the approach of the enemy in force to fall back and fight him on the line of Bull Run, yet the position occupied by General Ewell’s brigade, if necessary, could have been maintained against largely superior force. This was especially the case with the position of the Fifth Alabama Volunteers, Colonel Rodes, which that excellent officer had made capable of a resolute protracted defense against heavy odds. Accordingly, on the morning of the 17th ultimo, when the enemy appeared before that position, they were checked and held at bay with some confessed loss in a skirmish in advance of the works, in which Major Morgan and Captain Shelley, Fifth Regiment Alabama Volunteers, acted with intelligent gallantry, and the post was only abandoned under general, but specific, imperative orders, in conformity with a long-conceived established plan of action and battle.

Capt. E. P. Alexander, Confederate States Engineers, fortunately joined my headquarters in time to introduce the system of new field signals, which under his skillful management rendered me the most important service preceding and during the engagement.

The medical officers serving with the regiments engaged were at their proper posts and discharged their duties with satisfactory skill and zeal, and on one occasion at least, under an annoying fire, when Surgeon Cullen, First Regiment Virginia Volunteers, was obliged to remove our wounded from the hospital, which had become the special target of the enemy’s rifled guns, notwithstanding it was surmounted by the usual yellow hospital flag, but which, however, I hope for the sake of past associations was ignorantly mistaken for a Confederate flag. The name of each individual medical officer I cannot mention.

On the day of the engagement I was attended by my personal staff, Lieut. S. W. Ferguson, aide-de-camp and my volunteer aides-de-camp, Colonels Preston, Manning, Chesnut, Miles, Chisolm, and Hayward, of South Carolina, to all of whom I am greatly indebted for manifold essential services in the transmission of orders on the field and in the preliminary arrangements for the occupation and maintenance of the line of Bull Run.

Col. Thomas Jordan, assistant adjutant-general; Capt. C. H. Smith, assistant adjutant-general; Col. S. Jones, chief of artillery and ordnance;  Major Cabell, chief quartermaster; Capt. W. H. Fowle, chief of subsistence department; Surg. Thomas H. Williams, medical director, and Assistant Surgeon Brodie, medical purveyor, of the general staff, attached to the Army of the Potomac, were necessarily engaged severally with their responsible duties at my headquarters at Camp Pickens, which they discharged with an energy and intelligence for which I have to tender my sincere thanks.

Messrs. McLean, Wilcoxen, Kinchelo, and Brawner, citizens of this immediate vicinity, it is their due to say, have placed me and the country under great obligations for the information relative to this region, which has enabled me to avail myself of its defensive features and resources. They were found ever ready to give me their time without stint or reward.

Our casualties, in all sixty-eight killed and wounded, were fifteen (including two reported missing) killed, and fifty-three wounded, several of whom have since died. The loss of the enemy can only be conjectured. It was unquestionably heavy. In the cursory examination, which was made by details from Longstreet’s and Early’s brigades, on the 18th of July, of that part of the field immediately contested and near Blackburn’s Ford, some sixty-four corpses were found and buried. Some few wounded and at least twenty prisoners were also picked up, besides one hundred and seventy-five stand of arms, a large quantity of accouterments and blankets, and quite one hundred and fifty hats.

The effect of this day’s conflict was to satisfy the enemy he could not force a passage across Bull Run in the face of our troops, and led him into the flank movement of the 21st of July and the battle of Manassas, the details of which will be related in another paper.

Herewith I have the honor to transmit the reports of the several brigade commanders engaged and of the artillery; also a map of the field of battle.(*)

The rendition of this report, it is proper to say in conclusion, has been unavoidably delayed by the constantly engrossing administrative duties of the commander of an army corps composed wholly of volunteers, duties vitally essential to its well being and future efficiency, and which I could not set aside or postpone on any account.

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

G. T. BEAUREGARD,

General, Commanding

General S. COOPER,

Adjutant and Inspector General, C. S. Army

[Inclosure A.]

Special ORDERS, No. 100

HDQRS. ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

Manassas Junction, July 8, 1861

Paragraph IV, of Special Orders, No. 51, from these headquarters, dated June 20, 1861, is revoked, and if attacked by a superior force of the enemy, the three brigades of the Army of the Potomac, serving in Fairfax County, will retire in the following manner and order:

I. The First Brigade on Mitchell’s Ford, of Bull Run, by way of Centreville.

II. The whole of the Fifth Brigade on Bull Run stone bridge, and adjacent fords, making a stand, if practicable, at the suspension bridge across Cub Run.

III. The Second Brigade, except Colonel Rodes’ regiment, will fall back via the railway and adjacent roads on Union Mills Ford and the railroad bridge across Bull Run, burning the bridges on their way.

The Fifth Regiment Alabama Volunteers, Colonel Rodes, will retire by way of Braddock’s old road and the nearest side roads to McLean’s Ford, on Bull Run, or Union Mills Ford, as most practicable. These brigades, thus in position, will make a desperate stand at the several points hereinbefore designated on the line of Bull Run, and will be supported as follows:

I. The Third Brigade will move forward to McLean’s Ford.

II. The Fourth Brigade will repair to Blackburn’s Ford.

III. The Sixth Brigade will be advanced to Union Mills Ford.

IV. Major Walton’s battery will repair to McLean’s farm-house by the shortest practicable route, with which he shall at once make himself and his officers thoroughly acquainted. At said farm-house he will await further orders.

Should the enemy march to the attack of Mitchell’s Ford via Centreville the following movements will be made with celerity:

I. The Fourth Brigade will march from Blackburn’s Ford to attack him on the flank and center.

II. The Third Brigade will be thrown to the attack of his center and rear towards Centreville.

III. The Second and Sixth Brigades united will also push forward and attack him in the rear by way of Centreville, protecting their own right flanks and rear from the direction of Fairfax Station and Court-House.

IV. In the event of the defeat of the enemy, the troops at Mitchell’s Ford and stone bridge, especially the cavalry and artillery, will join in the pursuit, which will be conducted with vigor but unceasing prudence, and continued until he shall have been driven beyond the Potomac.

V. The garrison of Camp Pickens and all existing guards and pickets inside of the lines of Bull Run and the Occoquan River will remain in position until otherwise ordered.

VI. The chiefs of the several staff corps attached to these headquarters will take all necessary measures to secure an efficient service of their respective departments in the exigency.

By order of Brigadier General Beauregard:

THOMAS JORDAN,

Acting Assistant Adjutant General

[Indorsement]

The plan of attack prescribed within would have been executed with modifications affecting First and Fifth Brigades to meet the attack upon Blackburn’s Ford but for the expected coming of General Johnston’s command, which was known to be en route to join me on the 18th of July.

G. T. BEAUREGARD,

General, Commanding

(*) Map not found.





#4 – Col. Israel B. Richardson

17 02 2009

Report of Col. Israel B. Richardson, Second Michigan Infantry, of Action at Blackburn’s Ford

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp 312-314

CAMP 4TH BRIG., 1ST DIV., GENERAL McDOWELL’S CORPS,

In Front of Blackburn’s Ford, on Bull Run, July 19, 1864

GENERAL: I have the honor to report that I left the camp at Germantown at an early hour yesterday morning, my brigade consisting of the Second and Third Michigan Regiments, the First Massachusetts Regiment, and Twelfth New York. A battalion of light infantry, consisting of forty men from each regiment, one hundred and sixty in all, and commanded by Capt. Robert Brethschneider, of the Second Regiment of Michigan Infantry, moved in front of the brigade some five hundred yards in advance, and threw pickets still farther in advance on the road. A section of 20-pounder rifled guns, commanded by Lieutenant Benjamin, of the Second Artillery, moved in rear of the light battalion. The march of the column was slow, so as to prevent surprise.  No enemy appeared at Centreville, three miles from camp, he having abandoned his intrenchments the night before.

On advancing one mile in front of Centreville, I came to a halt near some springs to procure water for the brigade, and General Tyler and myself left with a squadron of cavalry and two companies of infantry, for the purpose of making a reconnaissance to the front, which, on arriving one mile in front of Blackburn’s Ford, proved that the enemy had a battery in rear of the run, so as to enfilade the road. He had also strong pickets of infantry and skirmishing parties occupying the woods and houses in front of his position. The battalion of light infantry was now ordered to deploy five hundred yards in front of the eminence upon which this camp is situated, and a position at once taken by the rifled guns, which now opened their fire. This fire was not answered by the enemy until several rounds had been fired, and I pushed forward the skirmishers to the edge of the woods, they driving in those of the enemy in fine style, and then brought up the First Massachusetts Regiment to their support, the skirmishers still advancing into the woods.

Captain Brackett’s squadron of the Second Cavalry, and two 12-pounder howitzers, commanded by Captain Ayres, Fifth U.S. Artillery, now moved up into an opening in the woods in support. The enemy also opened another battery, more to our left, so as to cross-fire with the other upon the road. I ordered up at this time the Twelfth New York Regiment, Colonel Walrath, to the left of our battery, and it being formed in line of battle, I directed it to make a charge upon their position, the skirmishers still pushing forward and drawing the enemy’s fire, but keeping themselves well covered. I now left the position of the Twelfth New York Regiment, to place upon the right of the battery the Massachusetts and Second and Third Michigan Regiments, when a very heavy fire of musketry and artillery was opened by the enemy along his whole line. On moving towards our left, I found that the Twelfth New York Regiment had fallen back out of the woods in disorder, only parts of two companies, some sixty men in all, remaining in line, and retreating. The howitzers and also the cavalry had been withdrawn. Our left was thus exposed, although the skirmishers still held the ground in the woods, and the three remaining regiments on the right remained firm and determined.

I now reported to General Tyler that the main body of the New York regiment had fallen back in confusion, and I proposed to make a charge with the three remaining regiments for the purpose of carrying the enemy’s position. The general replied that the enemy were in large force and strongly fortified, and a further attack was unnecessary; that it was merely a reconnaissance which he had made; that he had found where the strength of the enemy lay, and ordered me to fall back in good order to our batteries on the hill, which we did, the enemy closing his fire before we left the ground, and not venturing to make an effort to follow us.

Our batteries on the hill now opened fire, sustained by the Second Michigan Regiment on the right, in close column by division, the other two regiments forming line of battle on the left. The New York regiment after some time formed under cover of the woods in rear. In this affair our skirmishers advanced so close to the enemy’s works and batteries that two mounted officers were killed inside the breastworks, and one of our men was shot through the shoulder with a revolver by one of the enemy’s officers, and one of their cannoneers was bayoneted by one of our men while the former was engaged in loading his gun. Our skirmishers also, in falling back, had several of their wounded bayoneted, by order of one of the enemy’s officers.

The enemy’s intrenchments and batteries appeared to be in rear of a creek called Bull Run. The batteries on the extreme right of their line were on high ground, and fired over the heads of their infantry in front. At night we fell back to Centreville for water and rations, and this morning have again occupied our ground upon the hill in front of the enemy, they being in large force, and having their pickets and skirmishers in the woods and in front of them, as yesterday. I have the honor also to inclose a statement of our loss incident to this affair.

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

 I. B. RICHARDSON,

Colonel, Commanding Fourth Brigade, First Division

Table - [USA] Casualties at Blackburn’s Ford [July 18, 1861]








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