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[541] to Groveton and Warrenton, and crossing Bull Run by the Stone Bridge; while the real or main attack was to be made by a column 15,000 strong, composed of the 2d (Hunter's) and 3d (Heintzelman's) divisions, which, starting from their camps a mile or two east and southeast of Centerville, were to make a considerable detour to the right, crossing Cub Run, and then Bull Run at a ford known as Sudley Spring, three miles above the Stone Bridge, thus turning the Rebel left, and rolling it up on the center, where it was to be taken in flank by our 1st division (Tyler's) crossing the Stone Bridge at the right moment, and completing the rout of the enemy. The 5th division (Miles's) was held in reserve at Centerville, not only to support the attacking columns, but to guard against the obvious peril of a formidable Rebel advance on our left across Blackburn's Ford to Centerville, flanking our flank movement, capturing our munitions and supplies, and cutting off our line of retreat. The 4th division (Runyon's) guarded our communications with Alexandria and Arlington; its foremost regiment being about seven miles back from Centerville.

The movement of our army was to have commenced at 2 1/2, o'clock A. M., and the battle should have been opened at all points at 6 A. M.; but our raw troops had never been brigaded prior to this advance, and most of their officers were utterly without experience; so that there was a delay of two or three hours in the flanking divisions reaching the point at which the battle was to begin. Gen. Tyler, in front of Stone Bridge, opened with his artillery at 6 1/2 A. M., eliciting no reply; and it was three hours later when Hunter's advance, under Col. Burnside, crossed at Sudley Spring; his men, thirsty with their early march that hot July morning, stopping as they crossed to drink and fill their canteens. Meantime, every movement of our forces was made manifest to Beauregard, watching them from the slope two or three miles west, by the clouds of dust that rose over their line of march; and regiment after regiment was hurried northward by him to meet the imminent shock. No strength was wasted by him upon, and scarcely any notice taken of, our feint on his right; but, when Burnside's brigade, after crossing at Sudley, had marched a mile or so through woods down the road on the right of Bull Run, and come out into a clear and cultivated country, stretching thence over a mile of rolling fields down to Warrenton turnpike, he was vigorously opened upon by artillery from the woods in his front, and, as he pressed on, by infantry also. Continuing to advance, fighting, followed and supported by Hunter's entire division, which was soon joined on its left by Heintzelman's, which had crossed the stream a little later and further down, our attacking column reached and crossed the Warrenton road from Centerville by the Stone Bridge, giving a hand to Sherman's brigade of Tyler's division, and all but clearing this road of the Rebel batteries and regiments, which here resisted our efforts,1 under the immediate command

1 Beauregard's official report of the battle, which was dated Manassas, August 26th, (after he had received and read all our official reports,) says of the state of the battle at this time:

Heavy losses had now been sustained on our side, both in numbers and in the personal worth of the slain. The 8th Georgia regiment had suffered heavily, being exposed, as it took and maintained its position, to a fire from the enemy, already posted within a hundred yards of their front and right, sheltered by fences and other cover. It was at this time that Lieut. Col. Gardner was severely wounded, as also several other Valuable officers; the Adjutant of the regiment, Lieut. Branch, was killed, and the horse of the regretted Bartow was shot under him. The 4th Alabama also suffered severely from the deadly fire of the thousands of muskets which they so dauntlessly fronted, under the immediate leadership of Bee himself. Its brave Colonel, E. J. Jones, was dangerously wounded, and many gallant officers fell, slain or horse de combat.

Now, however, with the surging mass of over 14,000 Federal infantry pressing on their front, and under the incessant fire of at least twenty pieces of artillery, with the fresh brigades of Sherman and Keyes approaching — the latter already in musket-range — our lines gave back, but under orders from Gen. Bee.

The enemy, maintaining their fire, pressed their swelling masses onward as our shattered battalions retired: the slaughter for the moment was deplorable, and has filled many a Southern home with life-long sorrow.

Under this inexorable stress, the retreat continued until arrested by the energy and resolution of Gen. Bee, supported by Bartow and Evans, just in the rear of the Robinson House, and Hampton's Legion, which had been already advanced, and was in position near it.

Imboden's battery, which had been handled with marked skill, but whose men were almost exhausted, and the two pieces of Walton's battery, under Lieut. Richardson, being threatened by the enemy's infantry on the left and front, were also obliged to fall back. Imboden, leaving a disabled piece on the ground, retired until he met Jackson's brigade, while Richardson joined the main body of his battery near the Lewis House.

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John Tyler (3)
David Hunter (3)
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John Sherman (2)
J. B. Richardson (2)
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S. P. Heintzelman (2)
Ambrose E. Burnside (2)
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