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Chapter 16: second Manassa's.

The battle of Cedar Run was but the prelude to a more bloody struggle, which was destined, by a strange coincidence; for the historic plains of Manassa's. General Jackson had scarcely returned to his encampment near Gordonsville, when the gathering of the hostile masses in larger volume began. General Lee, convinced that McClellan was incapable of farther aggression, and that the surest way to remove him finally from the peninsula would be to threaten Washington more violently, began to remove the remainder of his army from Richmond to the Rapid Ann, August 13th; proposing to leave only a small force for observation upon his lines there, until the success of his experiment was verified. On that day, General Longstreet commenced his march for Gordonsville, and the remainder of the troops were moved in the same direction, the division of General D. H. Hill bringing up the rear, near the end of the month. Halleck, the new Federal generalissimo, was also eagerly dictating the same movement to McClellan. He found the “Grand army” divided into two widely separated fragments, and trembled before the activity of Jackson, and the danger of his Capital. McClellan accordingly broke up his camps at Berkeley on the 17th of August, and with sore reluctance shipped the decimated remains of his troops to Aquia Creek on the Potomac. Disease had: been carrying on the work which the sword had begun, And [510] the fever and dysentery of the country had fearfully thinned his ranks. But meantime, General Burnside had brought his corps from North Carolina, and landing it at the same spot on the Potomac, had marched it to the support of General Pope in Culpepper.

That commander now had his forces tolerably concentrated along the line of the Orange Railroad. But ignorant of the first principles of strategy and possessed with the vain conceit of crossing the Rapid Ann nearer its source, and thus turning Jackson's left wing, he had extended his right toward Madison. He did not advert, seemingly, to the fact that this manoeuvre gave him a line of operations nearly parallel to his adversary's base, and thus exposed his own left and his communications, to a more mortal thrust from him. The course of the Rapid Ann, which had now manifestly become Jackson's temporary base, is north of east; while the curvature of the Orange Railroad is such that its course, eastward of Culpepper Court House, is parallel to that river, or even brings its stations near the Rappahannock, nearer to it than at the Court House. Thus the Confederates, without exposing their own communications, had it in their power to strike those of Pope at Brandy Station by a march shorter than that which would fetch the Federal advance back to that place. So obvious an advantage could not escape any one except the doughty Pope. Jackson of course seized it upon the instant. Upon an elevated hill which is called Clarke's Mountain, east of Orange Court House, he had established a signal station. From this lofty lookout, all the course of the Rapid Ann and the plains of Culpepper, white with the enemy's tents toward Madison, were visible. As soon, therefore, as the troops from Richmond began to arrive, General Jackson left Gordonsville, and on the 15th of August, marched to the eastern base of Clarke's Mountain, where he carefully masked his forces [511] near the fords of the Rapid Ann. His signal officer upon the peak above, reported to him that the enemy were quiet, or even extending their right still farther up the country, unconscious of their danger. The Commander-in-Chief, who was now upon the ground, appointed the morning of the 18th at dawn of day, for the critical movement; but the dilatoriness of a part of his subordinates disappointed the completeness of his combinations, and overruling the eagerness of Jackson, he postponed it until the 20th. He again issued orders for that day, that all the troops should be prepared to advance in light marching order, with three days rations, and throw themselves that afternoon upon the enemy's rear. Jackson was to cross the stream at Somerville's ford, so as to occupy the left, supported by the division of General Anderson; while Longstreet passed below, at Raccoon ford, and formed the right. General Stuart, now Major-General of cavalry, was to cross with his two brigades of Robertson and FitzHugh Lee, and his flying artillery, at Morton's ford, march direct for the Rappahannock bridge, destroy it, and then turning back along the enemy's line of communication, destroy his trains, and fill every place with panic, until he connected with the infantry of Longstreet upon the extreme right. It was hoped that by these skilful dispositions, the enemy, cut off from his line of retreat, and fiercely attacked upon his left, would be routed, insulated and destroyed.

But the issue showed the importance of that element of strategic combinations, which Jackson so keenly estimated, time. The propitious moment was already forfeited by delay. On the night of the eighteenth of August, the day when the movement should have been made, a handful of fugitive negroes reached the army of Pope, and revealed to him enough of the movements of the Confederates, to open his eyes to his danger. On the nineteenth, as the Commander-in-Chief stood upon his lookout [512] on Clarke's Mountain, the encampments of the enemy farthest west were seen to disappear, and as. the day advanced, the rest vanished from view like a fleeting vision. Pope was in full retreat, eager to place the Rappahannock between himself and his adversary. This was his first lesson upon the soundness of his maxim, that a conquering General should leave his communications to take care of themselves; and he was destined to receive others still ruder. General Lee hastened to pursue, and put his army in motion on an early hour of the 20th of August, according to the plan already arranged. General Jackson, crossing the Rapid Ann at Somerville's ford, marched rapidly toward Brandy Station, while General Longstreet, crossing simultaneously below, pressed toward Kelley's Ford on the Rappahannock. No Federal infantry awaited their approach; before their arrival, all had crossed the latter stream. But their cavalry still occupied the Culpepper bank, and were driven across by the brigades of Stuart. One of these, the brigade of Robertson,, formerly the lamented Ashby's, under the eye of its Major-General, had a brilliant combat with the enemy's horse near Brandy Station, and drove them across the river with loss. Pope's whole army was now found massed upon the northern bank of the Rappahannock, with a powerful artillery prepared to dispute the passage of General Lee. He therefore formed the plan of striking his rear at a point still farther north, and thus dislodging him, and fighting a general battle. But the conditions under which the second movement must be made, were far less favorable than those of the one projected from the Rapid Ann; and the results could not be expected to be so great. The Rappahannock, which was then in Pope's rear, and would have been a fatal obstacle to the retreat of his defeated army, was now in his front, and was' his defence. His communications were no longer exposed to a direct blow, but could only be [513] reached by a dangerous, arduous, and circuitous march. And when the battle was fought and won, the beaten army would be within a day's march of its place of refuge, the lines of Arlington. Yet the vigor and courage of Jackson were trusted to effect this difficult enterprise. It was determined to march up the Rappahannock River, until a practicable crossing was found; and then to throw the corps of Jackson, which, being on the left, became the front in this movement, by forced marches to Manassa's Junction; and when his threatening presence there had called Pope away, to follow with the remainder of the army.

The first essay in pursuance of this plan was made on the 21st of August. General Jackson, leaving the hamlet of Stevensburg, where he had bivouacked, crossed the railroad, and approached the river above it, at Beverly's ford. A lodgement was effected here by a regiment of cavalry, upon the northern bank, which was held until the evening; but the enemy was approaching in such force, that it was deemed inexpedient to make the passage in their presence, and the advanced party was withdrawn. The artillery of General Longstreet had meantime engaged that of the enemy at the railroad crossing, a few miles below, with such success as to compel them to withdraw to their works on the north side, and then to burn the bridge and desert the position. The morning of August 22nd witnessed a renewal of the same proceedings : the two armies advanced slowly up the Rappahannock, upon its opposite banks, contesting with each other every available crossing, by fierce artillery duels; and attempting upon each other such assaults as occasion offered. The corps of Jackson having passed the Hazel River, a tributary of the Rappahannock near its mouth, left its baggage train parked there, under the protection of Brigadier-General Trimbler of Ewell's division; while the main force pressed on to secure [514] the bridge leading from Culpepper to Warrenton. The cupidity of the enemy was excited by this tempting prize, and they crossed to seize it, capturing a few ambulances. These were almost immediately regained, and Trimble, upon receiving the support of General Hood, who formed the van of Longstreet's corps, attacked the intruders, and drove them with loss to the north bank, filling the stream with their floating corpses. A similar enterprise attempted on the other hand, by the Confederate General Stuart, on this day, was as much more successful than the Federals, as it was more audacious. Crossing the Rappahannock, above the enemy's outposts, with a brigade of cavalry, he pressed on through the village of Warrenton, and struck the rear of their army at Catlett's Station after nightfall. Finding here a detachment of troops, with an extensive encampment, in the midst of a furious thunder-storm and Egyptian darkness, they dashed into it with a yell, scattering the astounded occupants to the winds, and capturing a great spoil, with a number of prisoners. This encampment was found to contain the headquarters of General Pope; and the baggage, clothing, horses, and money of his Staff, as well as his own, rewarded the boldness of the assailants. Great exertions were also made to destroy the important railroad bridge spanning a large creek near by; but the deluge of rain had saturated the timbers beyond the possibility of ignition, and the rising freshet underneath, with the intense darkness, forbade the men to ply their axes with success. Stuart therefore, gathering up his spoils and prisoners, returned the way he came, leaving the enemy confounded by his seeming ubiquity. Pope thus learned, in a second hard lesson, that the communications of an army are worthy of its commander's attention. The gravest loss which he experienced in this capture, was that of his letter book, which contained copies of his confidential despatches to Washington, and thus revealed [515] to General Lee the most intimate secrets of his. numbers, his plans, and his pitiable embarrassments.

General Jackson, reaching the Warrenton road the afternoon of the 22nd, found the bridge destroyed, and other evidence that the enemy were in close proximity. But they were not yet prepared to dispute his passage. Opposite to him, on a beautiful hill, rose the buildings of a watering place, known as tho Warrenton Springs, or Fauquier White-Sulphur; while to his right, a mile below, stretched a forest which clothed the ridge overlooking the river on that side. He sent the 13th Georgia from Lawton's brigade across, to occupy the Springs; while Early's brigade, supported by two batteries, was passed over on a ruinous mill-dam a mile below, and occupied the wooded ridge. But now the darkness of the approaching night and storm arrested the passage of other troops; the floods descended, and the current was speedily swollen so as to become impassable. This accident placed the command of Early in extreme peril. The advanced parties of the Federalists were hovering around him in'the darkness, and he had nothing to expect but to be crushed at the dawn of day by the whole weight of their army, within sight of his friends, but beyond their reach. But his own skill, with the wise and firm support of Jackson, rescued him without the loss of a man. When the morning came, the latter sent word to General Early to associate the 13th Georgia with his own brigade, and form the whole across the highlands near the watering place, with his left upon the river, and his right upon a creek, now equally swollen and impracticable, which here approached from the north to mingle its waters with the Rappahannock. He urged forward, meantime, the construction of a temporary bridge; and, in the afternoon, passed the remainder of Lawton's brigade to the support of Early. But the freshet which had protected his right was now receding. into its banks, [516] and the whole army of Pope was manifestly at hand. Yet Early so adroitly concealed his force in the woods, and held his foes at bay with his artillery, that they were able to make no decisive attack before nightfall. During the darkness he retired safely to the southern bank, with his batteries, leaving not a man nor a trophy behind. The deliverance of Early was scarcely completed before the dawn of the 24th. The troops of Longstreet had now arrived, and relieved those of Jackson in the afternoon of that day. A fierce cannonade was kept up across the river, chiefly by the guns of A. P. Hill, by which the enemy was occupied, while Jackson retired a few miles from the river-bank to the village of Jeffersonton, relinquishing to Longstreet the task of amusing Pope by the appearance of a crossing at the Springs.

While the enemy was thus deluded with the belief that the race up the Rappahannock was ended, and that he now had nothing more to do than to hold its northern bank at this place, General Jackson was preparing, under the instructions of the Commander-in-Chief, for the most adventurous and brilliant of his exploits. This was no less than to separate himself from the support of the remainder of the army, pass around Pope to the westward, and place his corps between him and Washington City, at Manassa's Junction. To effect this, the Rappahannock must be passed on the upper part of its course, and two forced marches made through the western quarters of the county of Fauquier, which lie between the Blue Ridge and the subsidiary range of the Bull Run Mountains. Having made a hasty and imperfect issue of rations, Jackson disembarrassed himself of all his trains, save the ambulances and the carriages for the ammunition, and left Jeffersonton early on the morning of August 25th. Marching first westward, he crossed the two branches of the Rappahannock, [517] passed the hamlet of Orlean, and paused at night, after a march of twenty-five miles, near Salem, a village upon the Manassa's Gap Railroad. His troops had been constantly marching and fighting since the 20th; many of them had no rations, and subsisted upon the green corn gathered along the route; yet their indomitable enthusiasm and devotion knew no flagging. As the weary column approached the end of the day's march, they found Jackson, who had ridden forward, dismounted, and standing upon a great stone by the road-side. His sun-burned cap was lifted from his brow, and he was gazing toward the west,. where the splendid August sun was about to kiss the distant crest of the Blue Ridge, which stretched far away, bathed in azure and gold; and his blue eye, beaming with martial pride, returned the rays of the evening with almost equal brightness. His men burst forth into their accustomed cheers, forgetting all their fatigue at his inspiring presence; but, deprecating the tribute by a gesture, he sent an officer to request that there should be no cheering, inasmuch as it might betray their presence to the enemy. They at once repressed their applause, and passed the word down the column to their comrades: “No cheering, boys; the General requests it.” But as they passed him, their eyes and gestures, eloquent with suppressed affection, silently declared what their lips were forbidden to utter. Jackson turned to his Staff, his face beaming with delight, and said: “Who could not conquer, with such troops as these?” His modesty, ever attributing his glory to his brave men rather than to himself, caused him to forget that it was his genius which had made them such soldiers as they were.

On the morning of the 26th, he turned eastward, and passing through the Bull Run Mountains, at Thoroughfare Gap, proceeded to Bristoe Station, on the Orange Railroad, by another equally arduous march. At Gainsville, he was joined by Stuart [518] with his cavalry, who now assumed the duty of guarding his right flank, and watching the main army of Pope, about Warrenton, As the Confoderates approached Bristoe Station, about sunset, the roar of a railroad train proceeding eastward, was heard, and dispositions were made to arrest it, by placing the brigade of Hays, under Colonel Forno, across the track. The first train broke through the obstructions placed before it, and escaped. Two others which followed it were captured, but were found to contain nothing. The corps of Jackson, had now marched fifty miles in two days. The whole army of Pope was interposed between it and its friends. They had no supplies whatever, save those which they might capture from the enemy. But they were between that enemy and his capital, and were cheered by the hope of inflicting a vital blow upon him before he escaped. This movement would be pronounced wrong, if judged by a formal and common-place application of the maxims of the military art. But it is the very prerogative of true genius to know how to modify the application of those rules according to circumstances. It might have been objected, that such a division of the Confederate army into two parts, subjected it to the risk of being beaten in detail; that while the Federal commander detained and amused one by a detachment, he would turn upon the other with the chief weight of his forces, and crush it into fragments. Had Pope been a Jackson, this danger would have been real; but because Pope was but Pope, and General Lee had a Jackson to execute the bold conception, and a Stuart to mask his movement during its progress, the risk was too small to forbid the attempt. The promptitude of General Stuart in seizing the only signal station whence the line of march could possibly be perceived, and the secrecy and rapidity of General Jackson in pursuing it, with the energy of his action when he had reached his goal, ensured the success of the movement. [519]

The first care of the General, after he reached Bristoe, was to secure the vast stores accumulated at the Junction, four miles North. He determined not to postpone this essential measure until the morning, lest the enemy should be able to destroy them; and he therefore accepted the offer of Brigadier-General Trimble, with the 21st North Carolina and 21st. Georgia regiments, to volunteer for this service. Major-General Stuart was ordered to support the attack with a part of his cavalry, and as the superior officer in rank, to command the whole detachment. The two regiments of General Trimble had already marched twentyfive miles, and the additional distance to the Junction made them thirty; but they set out with an eagerness which emulated that of the cavalry. Stuart, having unmasked the enemy's pickets in front of the fortifications of Manassa's, and having sent the regiment of Wickham to the north, in order to arrest the retreat of the garrison, Trimble placed his regiments in line right and left of the railroad, and advanced steadily to the attack. The night was rayless, and the artillery of the place opened upon them at short. range. They knew not what force awaited them in the darkness, but dashing forward, they surmounted the works, and seized two batteries of field guns, with all their men and horses, almost without loss to themselves. The whole entrenchments now fell into their hands without farther resistance, with vast spoils. This gallant attack was a happy illustration of the success which may usually be expected from bold and rapid movements. The place was found crowded with stores for Pope's army, all of which, with three hundred prisoners, eight field-pieces, and two hundred and fifty horses, fell into the hands of the victors, besides two miles of burden cars, laden with army stores and luxuries. The store-houses were found filled with bacon, beef, flour. and ammunition. Everything was here which the Confederates needed. The confessions of Pope show that [520] the loss of these stores was a chief element of his subsequent disasters. It discouraged and intimidated his men, and compelled them to enter the arduous struggle of the three bloody days without adequate rations or ammunition.

On the morning of August 27th, the two regiments of General Trimble, who had been under arms all night were relieved by General Jackson's arrival from Bristoe. He brought with him the divisions of A. P. Hill and Taliaferro, leaving that of Ewell at Bristoe to watch for the approach of Pope, with orders to make head against him as long as practicable; but when pressed by his main force, to retire and join him at Manassa's. Scarcely had General Jackson come upon the ground, when a shot from a distant battery upon the left, announced the purpose of the Federalists to contest it with him, and a brigade made its appearance advancing along the railroad from Alexandria. This was the detachment of Brigadier-General Taylor, of New Jersey, sent out by Halleck to re-open Pope's communications, and to brush away what they supposed was a mere inroad of cavalry. They advanced with all the confidence of ignorance, until they found themselves almost enveloped in the toils. The captured guns were turned against them by Stuart and Trimble; the batteries of Poague and Carpenter poured destructive volleys upon them in front, and the infantry of A. P. Hill threatened them on both sides. General Jackson now pitying their desperate situation, rode toward them alone, waving a white handkerchief as a signal of truce, inviting them to accept quarter. Their answer was a volley of rifle balls. Seeing his compassion thus requited with treachery, he hastened back to his troops and commanded them to let loose their full fury against their foes. In a moment the detachment was routed, their commander slain, and the fugitives, pursued. by Hill and Stuart, were cut to pieces and scattered. [521]

The General now gave the wearied troops a respite, to recompense themselves with the spoils, for their labors. Knowing that means of transportation would be utterly wanting to remove the larger part, he allowed the men to use and carry away whatever they were able to appropriate. And now began a scene in ludicrous contrast with the toils of the previous forced march. Dusty Confederates were seen loading themselves with new clothing, boots, hats, and unwonted luxuries. The men who had for days fed on nothing but green apples and the roasted ears of Indian corn, now regaled themselves with sardines, potted game, and sweetmeats. For several hours the troops held carnival.

General Ewell was not allowed to remain unmolested at Bristoe all the day. In the afternoon, heavy columns of Federalists were seen approaching on the west of the railroad, from the direction of Warrenton. The 6th and 8th Louisiana regiments of Hays' brigade, with the 60th Georgia, were posted to receive them, masked in the edge of the pine thickets, and supported by several batteries. Two heavy columns of the enemy advanced against them, each consisting of not less than a brigade; but almost at the first volley, they broke and fled in confusion, many of them throwing away their arms. Fresh columns, however, speedily supplied their places, and it was evident that Pope's main force was at hand. General Ewell therefore gave the word to retire, in order to join his friends at Manassa's. This retreat, which must be conducted in the face of a superior force actually engaged with them, was a most delicate and difficult work; but was effected in perfect order, and without loss. As the three regiments which had received the enemy's first attack were withdrawn, the brigade of Early took their places, and held — the enemy in check, with so much steadiness and adroitness, that the stream which separated Bristoe from Manassa's was crossed [522] safely without the capture of a single man. The Federalists then halted at the former point, and left Ewell to pursue his way unmolested, his rear covered by the cavalry regiments of Munford and Rosser. The Railroad bridge across Broad Run was now burned, and after all the troops had supplied their wants from the captured stores, the remainder was destroyed. This task was committed to the division of Taliaferro, which devoted to it the early part of the night, and then retired toward Sudley Church, across the battle-field of July 21st, 1861. There they were joined, on the morning of the 28th of August, by the division of A. P. Hill, which had marched northward to Centreville, and then returned across the Stone Bridge, and by the division of Ewell, which had crossed Bull Run and marched up its north bank until it fell into the same route. The cavalry, which had scoured the country as faY as Fairfax Court Horse, also assembled on the flanks of the infantry, and the concentration of the corps was completed.

General Jackson had now successfully executed the first part of the task entrusted to him. He had pierced the enemy's rear, destroyed his supplies, and secured a position between him and his Capital. But in doing this, he had drawn upon himself the whole of the Federal army, and until the remainder of General Lee's forces should arrive, he must either bear the brunt of their attacks with his single corps, reduced by straggling and casualties to eighteen thousand men; or he must retire again toward his friends, leaving Pope's operations unobstructed, and thus surrender the larger part of the advantages of his brilliant movements. Jackson was not the man to do the latter; he therefore selected a position where he could hope to stand successfully at bay, and prevent Pope's retreat, until sufficient forces arrived to deal with him successfully. One alternative was to remain at Manassa's Junction within the old Confederate entrenchments, [523] but to this there were many conclusive objections. The direct turnpike road from Warrenton, where Pope's army was massed, to Alexandria ran five miles northwest of the Junction, and would be still left open: an avenue more valuable to that General than the railroad, since its bridges and trains were destroyed. The Junction, moreover, was a post of limited extent, ill furnished with water, situated in a champaign every way favorable to the operations of the force having the numerical superiority, and denuded of all cover, by the presence of provious armies. The other alternative was to retire to the north side of the Wavsenton and Alexandria turnpike, nearer to Thoroughfare Gap through which Longstreet was expected to advance, and there occupy the stronger ground, with the advantage of retreat upon the Confederate reserves in case of disaster. From this position, although the road was not directly obstructed, yet the passage of Pope was forbidden; for his army could not expose itself by marching past such a leader as Jackson, who sat, with eighteen thousand men, ready to pounce upon its exposed flanks.

If the reader will recall the description of the battle-field of the first Manassa's he will have before him the position assumed by Jackson. The Warrenton turnpike, running due cast toward Alexandria, is crossed at right angles, a mile and half before it passes the Bull Run at the stone bridge, by the country road which proceeds northward from the Junction to Sudlcy ford, at which the Federal right first crossed the stream on the morning of July 21st, 1861. At this ford, Jackson now rested his left wing, protected by the cavalry brigade of Robertson, while his right stretched eastward across the hills, in a line oblique to the course of Bull Run, toward the road by which Longstreet was expected from Thoroughfare Gap. His front was nearly parallel to the Warrenton turnpike, and distant from it, between one [524] [525] and two miles. The division of A. P. Hill formed his left, that of Ewell his centre, and that of Taliaferro, strengthened by the remainder of the cavalry and the horse artillery of Pelham, his right.

Scarcely had these dispositions been completed, when the enemy was found to be advancing along the Warrenton turnpike in heavy masses, as though to force his way back to Alexandria. Mid-day had now arrived. The second brigade of Taliaferro's division, under the temporary command of Colonel Bradley T. Johnson, which had been detached to watch the turnpike, was directed to skirmish with the front of the Federal column, and obstruct their advance. The remainder of the division of Taliaferro, supported by that of Ewell, was marched by its right flank and toward the turnpike, to attack the enemy in flank. He, perceiving this movement, and the obstruction in his front, at first attempted to file his masses across the open country toward Manassa's Junction, as though to seek some passage over Bull: Run below the stone bridge. But Jackson now threw forward his line with so much energy as to compel him to relinquish this movement, and make a stand. The batteries of Wooding, Carpenter, and Poague were advanced to an elevated hill upon the left and rear of Taliaferro's line of skirmishers, whence they delivered so effective a fire of shell and solid shot upon the dense lines of the Federalists, that their numerous batteries were halted, and placed in position to reply. The Confederate artillery was then promptly removed to another position upon Taliaferro's right, whence they were enabled to enfilade the Federal guns; and the infantry line was again pressed forward, with its front parallel to the Warrenton turnpike, and within a hundred yards of it. Sunset was now near at hand, when, struggle commenced unprecedented in its fury. On Taliaferro's right, the partial screen of an orchard and a cluster of farm-buildings separated [526] him from the highway, which was occupied by the Federal infantry. But, on his left, his line occupied the open field, .and received and returned their volleys at the distance of a hundred yards. Until nine o'clock at night, the first, third, and fourth brigades maintained a stubborn contest upon this ground with successive lines of the enemy, when the latter sullenly retired, and gave up the field. On the left of Taliaferro, Ewell, with a part of his forces, waged a contest of almost equal fury, and with the same results, when the darkness closed the battle, and the Confederates remained masters of the field. In this bloody affair, both the Commander's of the divisions engaged, with many field-officers, were wounded, Taliaferro painfully, and Ewell severely. The latter was struck upon the knee by a rifle-ball, and the joint was so shattered that amputation was necessary to save his, life. During the remainder of Jackson's career he was unable to return to the field, and the General was deprived of his valued co-operation. The first of the three bloody days was now closed, and Jackson stoutly held his own. With one more struggle his safety would be assured; for the Commander-in-Chief, with the corps of Longstreet, leaving the neighborhood of Jeffersonton on the afternoon of the 26th, and following the route of Jackson through upper Fauquier, was now at the western outlet of Thoroughfare Gap, preparing to force his way through, the next morning, and come to the relief of the laboring advance. On the morning of the 29th this pass was forced; and the coTps of Longstreet, stimulated by the sound of the distant cannon, which told them that Jackson was struggling with the enemy, hurried along the road to Gainesville, where they entered the Warrenton turnpike. Before they reached that village, the indefatigable Stuart, with his cavalry, met them, opened their communication with Jackson's right wing, and informed the Commander-in-Chief of the posture of affairs. [527]

But the narrative must return to the lines of General Jackson. Anxiously did that General watch the distant road which led from Thoroughfare Gap down to the Warrenton turnpike, on the morning of the 29th. His little army was now manifestly confronted by the whole Federal host, which, concentrating itself more toward his left, was preparing to force him back from Bull Run, and to crush him before his supports could arrive. His lines, exhausted by their almost superhuman exertions, thinned by battle, and pallid with hunger, stood grimly at bay; but the stoutest hearts were anxious, in view of the more terrible struggle before them. In the early morning, clouds of dust arising along the Thoroughfare road had mocked their hopes; but they were raised by the Federalists, who, having occupied that pass the day before to obstruct the march of Longstreet, were now retiring upon their masses toward Bristoe Station. As the day verged toward the meridian, other and denser clouds again arose, along the same highway; and soon the couriers of Stuart came, with the welcome news, that it was the corps of Longstreet, advancing to connect with the right of Jackson. Already the Federalists, warned of the shortness of their time, had begun the attack by a heavy cannonade upon that part of his position, at ten o'clock. The batteries of Taliaferro's division now commanded by the brave General Starke, replied. But the head of General Longstreet's column was now at hand, and threatened to insinuate itself behind the Federal left. They therefore shifted their demonstration to Jackson's left, opening upon that part of his position with a furious cannonade, and preparing vast masses of infantry to force it. While Longstreet deployed his line across the Warrenton turnpike, and fronting toward the east, Jackson's corps was now disposed at right angles to it, along the excavations and embankments of an unfinished railroad, which, crossing Bull Run a half mile below Sudley, ran westward, parallel to the [528] Warrenton turnpike. This work had been begun to connect the city of Alexandria directly with the Manassa's Gap road near Thoroughfare. Running across the hills and vales of an undulating country, and presenting now an elevated embankment and anon a cut, it offered to the Confederates almost the advantages of a regular field-work. Here General Jackson had arranged his infantry in two lines of battle, with the artillery chiefly posted upon eminences in the rear. A. P. Hill formed his left, Ewell his centre, and Starke his right. An interval between his right and the left of Longstreet was occupied by a large collection of the artillery of the latter, posted upon a large hill, whence they assisted, by their fire, in the repulse of the enemy on either hand. Pope, now contenting himself with showing a front against Longstreet, began, at two o'clock, P. M., to hurl his infantry with fury and determination against the lines of Jackson. Especially did the storm of battle rage in front of the left, occupied by the division of A. P. Hill. In defiance of his deadly fire, delivered from the shelter of the railroad embankments, line after line was advanced to close quarters, only to be mowed down, and to recoil in confusion. Soon the second line of Hill was advanced to the support of the first. Six times the Federalists rushed forward in separate and obstinate assaults, and as many times were repulsed. At an interval between the brigade of Gregg, on the extreme left, and that of Thomas, the enemy broke across in great numbers, and threatened to separate the former from his friends, and surround him. But two regiments of the reserve, advancing within ten paces of the triumphant foe, poured such volleys into their dense masses that they were hurled back before this murderous fire, and the lines re-established. The brigade of Hays from the division of Ewell, now commanded by General Lawton, was first brought to the support of Gregg. The struggle raged until the [529] cartridges of the infantry were in many places exhausted. When Hill sent to the gallant Gregg to ask if he could hold his own, he answered, “Tell him I have no ammunition, but I will hold my position with the bayonet.” In several places, the Confederate lines, without a single round of cartridges, lay in the railroad cuts, within a few yards of their enemies, sternly defying their nearer approach with the cold steel, while the staff-officers from the rear sent in a scanty supply of ammunition, by the hand of some daring volunteer, who ventured to run the gantlet of a deadly fire to reach them. In other parts the men, laying aside their empty muskets, seized the stones which lay near, and with them beat back the foe. When the bloody field was reviewed, not a few were found whose skulls were broken with these primitive weapons. But the strength of the extreme left was now exhausted by seven hours of strife; nature could do no more; and General Jackson ordered Early, with his brigade and the 8th Louisiana and 13th Georgia, to relieve Gregg and Hays. The enemy had by this time occupied a considerable tract of the railroad, and the woods in front of it. Early advanced upon them, drove them out of the thickets and across the excavation with fearful slaughter, and pursued them for a distance beyond it, when he was recalled to the original line. With this magnificent charge, the struggle of the day closed. It had raged in similar manner along the centre, where that sturdy veteran, Brigadier-General Trimble, was severely wounded. But the carnage upon the left was most ghastly. Here might be seen upon the fields, the black lines of corpses, clearly defining the positions where the Federal lines of battle had stood and received the deadly volleys of the Confederates; while the woods and railroad cuts were thickly strewn for a mile with killed and wounded. In the division of Hill the loss was also serious; and among the severely wounded were two [530] brigade commanders, Field and Forno. During the heat of the battle, a detachment of Federal troops had penetrated to Jackson's rear, near Sudley Church, and captured a few wounded men and ambulances. The horse artillery of Pelham, with a battalion of cavalry, under Major Patrick, speedily brushed the annoyance away, and recovered the captures. But this incident cost the army the loss of one of its most enlightened and efficient officers, the chivalrous Patrick, who was mortally wounded while pursuing the fugitives.

While this struggle was raging along Jackson's lines, the corps of Longstreet continued to confront the observing force of Federalists before them, and the batteries of his left engaged those of the enemy in a severe cannonade. As the afternoon advanced, Stuart reported to him the approach of a heavy column of the enemy upon his right and rear, from the direction of Bristoe. This was indeed a corps of the army of McClellan from the peninsula, which, landing on the Potomac, had been pushed forward to support Pope. Against this new enemy Longstreet showed a front, while Stuart, raising a mighty dust along the road near Gainsville, by causing a number of his troopers to drag bundles of brushwood along the highway, persuaded him that some heavy mass of fresh Confederate troops was advancing from Thoroughfare to meet his assault upon Longstreet's right. The Federal commander therefore recoiled, after a feeble demonstration; and, passing by a circuit to the eastward, sought to unite himself with the forces in front of Jackson. Longstreet now advanced several brigades to the attack, with those of Hood in the van, and until nine o'clock at night, drove back the enemy before him with great vigor, capturing a number of prisoners, a cannon, and three colors. Darkness then closed the bloody day, and the Confederates on every side withdrew to lie upon their arms upon their selected lines of combat. From this respite, [531] the boastful Pope took the pretext to despatch to his masters a pompous bulletin of victory, claiming that the Confederates were repulsed on all hands With a stupidity equal to his impudence, he concealed from himself the fact that this lull in the tempest was but the prelude to its final and resistless burst. The mighty huntsman now had the brutal game secure in his toils, and only awaited the moment of his exhaustion to despatch him.

As Jackson gathered his officers around him in the darkness, at the close of this second act of the tragedy, and prepared to lie down for a short repose under the open sky, their triumph wore a solemn hue. A week of marching and fighting, without any regular supply for their wants, had worn down their energies to a grade where nothing but a determined will could sustain them. Many of the bravest and best had fallen, and the sufferers and the dead were all around them. The Medical Director, Doctor McGuire, recounting the many casualties which he had witnessed, said, “General, this day has been won by nothing but stark and stern fighting.” “No,” said Jackson, “It has been won by nothing but the blessing and protection of Providence.” It was strong evidence of the devout spirit of the patriot troops, that amidst all these fatigues and horrors, they yet found time for acts of devotion. The Chaplains, after spending the day in attentions to the wounded, at nightfall returned to their regiments, and. gathered such groups in the woods as could be spared from the watches, where they spent a season in prayer and praise. Many were the brave men who joined in these strange and solemn prayer-meetings, whose next worship was offered in the upper sanctuary.

The advance of Longstreet at nightfall, upon the Confederate right had disclosed the fact that the Federalists were posted, in heavy masses, upon a position of great natural strength. The [532] choice offered to General Lee now was, to leave the favorable ground which he had chosen, and taking the aggressive, to dislodge them at a great cost: or else to await their attack, with the prospect of turning their retreat into a disaster if they attempted to cross Bull Run in his immediate front and retire without fighting. He well knew that Pope would scarcely be so rash as to attempt the latter expedient; for the two armies were now at such close quarters, that there was no room for either to turn away without a deadly side blow from the other; and the Federal commander had been so obliging, as to manoeuvre himself into a position which had the stream immediately in its rear, with two practicable crossings for artillery, of which one was a stone arch which a few well directed round shot might have dismantled. General Lee, therefore, calmly awaited the final strugple, standing on the defensive in his previous lines. These formed a vast, obtuse fourchette, presenting its concavity toward the enemy. The left of Longstreet did not touch the right of Jackson at the angle; but a space of half a mile between the two was occupied by an elevated ridge, which commanded the fonts of both wings. This hill was now crowned with the artillery battalions of Shumaker of Jackson's corps, and S. D. Lee of Longstreet's, making an aggregate of thirty-six pieces. From this arrangement it resulted, first, that the troops of Pope, operating within the jaws of the Confederate army, would naturally become more densely massed than their opponents, and would thus afford a more certain mark for their accurate fire; which no force on earth could ever face in close order, without murderous loss. The second result was, that the superior momentum of the Federal masses must yet result only in a bloody failure, when hurled against either wing of the Confederates, because they could be enfiladed from the other wing. By these dispositions, the battle was decided before it was fought. The only gleam of [533] good sense which the ill starred Federal leader showed, was in delaying the decisive hour until the late afternoon; so that the friendly darkness might speedily supervene upon the disaster which was destined to follow, and save him from utter destruction. The forenoon of Saturday, August 30th, was therefore spent in a desultory cannonade, addressed first to one, and then to another part of the Confederate lines, with irregular skirmishes interspersed. He was employed in disposing his infantry, under cover of the woods and valleys, chiefly in Jackson's front; for against him he again destined his main attack. The infantry of the latter was still posted along the unfinished railroad, in two lines, the first sheltered, where the ground was favorable, by the excavations and embankments, and the second massed upon the wooded hills above. At half past 3 o'clock, the enemy made a show of attack along the lines of Longstreet. But scarcely had this begun, when they advanced, without preliminary skirmishing, in enormous masses, against Jackson. Three lines of battle surged forward like mighty waves, and rolled up to the Confederate position. As one recoiled before their fire, another took its place, with a dogged resolution, as though determined to break through by sheer weight of numbers. The Federal flags were planted sometimes within twenty paces of the excavations which contained the opposing line; and again the Confederates, after exhausting their ammunition, resorted to the stones of the field to beat back their assailants. When this furious struggle had raged for half an hour, and the wearied lines of Jackson was yielding at some points, he sent word to Longstreet to move for his relief. But his desire was already anticipated; the artillery in the centre was advanced, and wherever the attacking lines of Federalists exposed themselves before Jackson's front, it showered a crushing and enfilading fire upon them. The third and second lines were first broken, and the woods in which they [534] attempted to rally searched with shells. Meantime, the artillery of Ewell's and Hill's divisions, from Jackson's rear and left, joined in the melee as position offered. Before this fire in front and flank, the Federal lines wavered, broke, and resolved themselves into huge hordes of men, without order or guidance. General Jackson now ordered the advance of his whole line of infantry; and the Commander-in-Chief, seeing that the moment for the final blow had come, sent a similar order to his right wing. But its energetic leader had divined his wishes, and had already begun the movement. Over several miles of hill and dale, of field and forest, the two lines now swept forward, with a terrible grandeur, closing upon the disordered masses of the enemy like the jaws of a leviathan; while Jackson upon the left, and Stuart upon the right, urged forward battery after battery at a gallop, to sieze every commanding hill whence they could fire between the gaps, or over the heads of the infantry, and plough up the huddled crowds of fugitives. But at many points, these did, not yield without stubborn resistance. The brigades of Jackson dashed at them with fierce enthusiasm, and such scenes of close encounter and murderous strife were witnessed, as are not often seen on fields of battle. The supreme hour of vengeance had now come; in the expressive phrase of Cromwell, the victors “had their will upon their enemies.” As they drove them for two miles toward Bull Run, they strewed the ground with slaughter, until fury itself was sated and fatigued with the carnival of blood. And now, night again closed upon the third act of the tragedy, black with a double gloom of the battle smoke and a gathering storm; but still the pursuers plied their work with cannon shot and fierce volleys, fired into the populous darkness before them. At ten o'clock they ceased their pursuit, for they found that amidst the confusion of the field, and the obscurity, friend could no longer be [535] distinguished from foe. The army then lay down to rest upon the ground they had won; while all night long, the broken fragments of the Federalists were stealing across the stream, and retreating to the heights of Centreville.

In this three days battle, the Confederate loss was heavy, but that of their enemies was frightful. Compared to it, the carnage of the Chickahominy was child's play. The bloody field told the story of the disproportion for itself, and when the Federal surgeons came upon it under a flag of truce, such was the multitude of the wounded lying helpless upon it, that days were exhausted in collecting them, while many wretches perished miserably of neglect during the delay. This disproportionate carnage was due to the masterly handling of the Confederate troops, to their advantageous position, to the density of the enemy's masses, and especially to the terrible moment of the rout, when the work of destruction was pursued, for a time, without resistance. The Sabbath morning dawned upon a scene in most fearful contrast with its peace and sanctity. The storm which had gathered during the night was descending in a comfortless rain, drenching the ghastly dead, the miserable wounded, and the weary victors. The soldiers of Jackson arose from the ground stiffened with the cold, and after devoting a few hours to refreshment, resumed the march, while those of Longstreet remained to bury the dead and collect the spoils. Stuart had reported that he found the enemy rallied upon the heights of Centreville, commanding the Warrenton turnpike, where General Joseph E. Johnston had constructed a powerful line of works, the first winter of the war, which were capable of defence either in front or rear. Here the fragments of Pope, supported by large reinforcements from the army of McClellan, again showed a front against the pursuers. Jackson was therefore directed to turn this position, and compel the retreat of the enemy from it [536] without a battle. To effect this, he crossed the Bull Run at Sudley, and marching northward by a country road, came the next day into the Little River turnpike, which leads eastward, and intersects the Warrenton road at Fairfax Court House, far in the rear of Centreville. No sooner was this movement perceived by the enemy, than they resumed a hasty retreat. But as their crowded column approached Fairfax Court House, they found Jackson at hand, prepared to strike their line of march from the side. They therefore detached a strong force to make head against him, and posted it upon a ridge near the little hamlet of Germantown. As soon as Jackson ascertained the position of this force, he threw his infantry into line of battle, Hill on the right, Ewell in the centre, and his old division on the left, and advanced to the assault. The enemy, knowing that the salvation of their army depended upon them, made a desperate resistance, and the combat assumed a sudden fury in the front of Hill, equal to that of any previous struggle. The enemy were encouraged by a momentary success in breaking Hayes' brigade, but his lines were immediately reinstated by the reserves, and after a short but bloody strife, the battle died away as suddenly as it had begun, and the enemy retired in the darkness. This affair, which was known as the battle of Ox Hill, closed the evening of September 1st. Its thunders were aggravated by those of a tempest, which burst upon the combatants just before the battle was joined, and the Confederates fought under the disadvantage of the rain, which was swept by a violent wind directly into their faces. Two Federal Generals fell here, in front of Hill's division, Kearney and Stephens, and their death doubtless completed the discouragement of their troops. The next morning, the Federalists were within reach of their powerful works before Washington, and the pursuit was arrested. The Commander-in. Chief now purposed to transfer the strife to a new arena. [537]

The total loss of the Confederate army in this series of battles was about seven thousand five hundred, of whom eleven hundred were killed upon the field. Of this loss, nearly five thousand fell upon the corps of Jackson; out of which number eight hundred and five officers and men were killed. The captures from him, in the whole of the long struggle, amounted to only thirtyfive. The excessive loss in his command is explained by the fact that it was always the advance, and that the enemy continually directed the chief fury of his attacks upon him. The results of the battle of Manassa's were the capture of seven thousand prisoners, in addition to two thousand wounded left in the hands of the Confederates; with twenty thousand small arms, thirty pieces of artillery, numerous colors, and a large amount of stores; and the deliverance of Northern Virginia from the footsteps of the invader, save where he still clung to a few miles along the Potomac included within his works. General Jackson closed his Report of the Campaign with these words:--

“For these great and signal victories our sincere and humble thanks are due unto Almighty God. We should in all things acknowledge the hand of Him who reigns in Heaven, and rules among the armies of men. In view of the arduous labors and great privations the troops were called to endure, and the isolated and perilous position which the command occupied, while engaged with greatly superior numbers of the enemy, we can but express the grateful conviction of our mind, that God was with us, and gave us the victory; and unto His holy name be the praise.”

Few words are needed to point out the share which Jackson and his corps merited, in the glory of the second victory of Manassa's. To the rapidity of his march, the promptitude and skill of his action in seizing and destroying the Junction, the wisdom which guided his selection of a position, and the heroic tenacity [538] with which he held it against fearful odds until the arrival of General Lee, was the splendid result chiefly due. It was so ordered, as if to illustrate the superior prowess of the Confederate soldiery, that in this battle the positions of the combatants in July, 1861, were almost precisely reversed. The ground held by Jackson in the second battle, was that held by McDowell in the first; and the ground from which the Confederates drove Pope, at nightfall, the 30th of August, was that from which McDowell could not drive them, on the 21st of July; while the preponderance of numbers was still upon the Federal side.

The blunders of Pope in this short campaign,--which were almost as numerous as it was possible to make them,--are an instructive study to the commanders of armies. First, it was little short of lunacy to adopt, in Culpepper, a line of operations along the Orange Railroad, and even west of it, which was parallel to the Rapid Ann — the temporary base of the Confederates -in the presence of such masters of the art of war as Lee and Jackson. Instead of extending his right so far toward Madison, with the preposterous design of turning Gordonsville, upon the west, he should have directed the head of his column toward the lower course of the Rapid Ann, and perpendicular to it. He would thus have covered his own line of advance; and, if he succeeded in crossing that river, would have uncovered the communications of his adversary, which would then have been by the Central Railroad. Nothing but the delay of Lee's reserves in reaching Raccoon Ford, saved Pope here from a disaster far worse than that of Manassa's. Second: after retiring across the Rappahannock,--which was a measure dictated by so stringent a necessity that a fool could not err therein,--he repeated the old, but seductive folly, of attempting to hold a river as a defensive line, by extending his whole force along its immediate bank, to watch and resist the passage of his opponent. Although a [539] river is, to some extent, a barrier to the assailant attempting to cross it in the face of a force defending it; yet, if the latter consigns itself to the stationary defensive along its banks, the other is always enabled thereby to baffle his vigilance at some one point; or to mass at a single spot a preponderance of force, which will more than compensate him for the resistance of the natural obstruction, and break its way over it. Then the barrier, broken at one point, becomes useless, and must be forsaken at all. Such was the result here; the stream was passed above Pope's right, before he was in condition to prevent it. His next mistake was in the singular inefficiency of his cavalry, which seems to have been more busy in harrying the hen-roosts of the citizens, than in ascertaining whither the swift-footed Jackson was bent, when he disappeared to the northwest from his position before Warrenton Springs. Thus Pope was left in a shameful ignorance, even after his communications were cut at Bristoe Station, whether it was done by a serious force, or by an audacious incursion of horse. But on the evening of the 27th, at least, he was taught, in a bloody lesson by Ewell, that he had a formidable foe in his rear. The plainest deduction might have convinced him, that such a General as Lee would not have placed such a body of infantry and artillery, as he saw grimly confronting him across Broad Run at the close of that combat, so far from its base, without powerful supports.

From that moment the goal of safety for Pope should have been Centreville; and he should have lost no time in concentrating his whole army by forced marches, to strike the formidable obstruction from his rear, and secure his retreat thither. There he would have been front to front with his adversary once more, and within reach of the support of McClellan, by whose aid he might have advanced again, and quickly resumed his lost ground. But although it is but one march from Warrentcn, where his [540] headquarters were, to Manassa's, two and a half precious days were wasted, between the 26th, when Jackson struck Bristoe, and the 29th, when Longstreet reached his right; and neither was Jackson crushed, nor Thoroughfare Gap effectually held, nor the army safely transferred to Centreville. At mid-day, on the 29th, the arrival of Longstreet rendered his fortunes difficult enough; but, as though he were intent to make them desperate, when his left was incommoded by the appearance of Longstreet's column behind it, instead of retiring squarely from his antagonists, keeping his right upon Bull Run, until his. left met the support of the approaching column of Fitz-John Porter, from Aquia, he weakly sought to disengage his left, by manceuvring to his right, and again confining his onset to the lines of Jackson. These were skilfully retracted, to lead him into the trap; and the result was, that on the third and decisive day, he was com-r pelled to fight with the stream in his immediate rear, and with his whole army inclosed within the limits of the fatal fourchette. The Confederates might well pray that such leaders should ever command the armies of their enemies.

This chapter will be closed with a characteristic letter from General Jackson to his wife.

September 1st, 1862.
We were engaged with the enemy at and near Manassa's Junction Tuesday and Wednesday, and again near the battle-field of Manassa's on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday; in all of which God was with us, and gave us the victory. All Glory be to His holy name! May He ever be with us, is my earnest prayer, and we ever be His devoted people. It greatly encourages me to feel that so many of God's people are praying for that part of our forces under my command. The Lord has answered their prayers; and my trust is in Him, that He will still continue to do [541] so. God, in His providence, has again placed us across Bull Run; and I pray that He will make our arms entirely successful, and that the glory will be given to His holy name, and none of it to man.

God has blessed and preserved me through His great mercy.


Thus his soul dwelt habitually upon the plain and familiar promises of Gospel blessings, with a simplicity of faith like that of the little child. He did not entertain his mind with theological refinements and pretended profundities or novelties; but fed it with those known truths which are the common nourishment of all God's people, wise and simple, and which are, therefore, the greatest truths of redemption. The eminence of his Christian character was not in that he affected to see doctrines unknown or recondite to others; but in this: that he embraced the doctrines common to all, with a faith so entire and prevalent. This character of his religion often suggested to those less spiritually minded than himself the opinion, that his was a common-place understanding. They forgot that it is by receiving the kingdom of God as a little child that we must enter therein. When they met Jackson in council or in action, in his own profession, they soon learned their mistake, and recognized in him the original force and power of true greatness. [542]

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