The plan of operations adopted the day before was now, apparently, made impracticable by the enemy's advance against our left.
It was abandoned, therefore, and another adopted-suggested by General Beauregard
This was, a change of front to the left, and a vigorous attack on the left flank of the troops assailing our left, by the six brigades of our centre and right, while Cocke
's, and Bee
's brigades, and Hampton
's legion, were meeting their assault.
The orders for this, like those preceding them, were distributed by General Beauregard
's staff-officers, because they were addressed to his troops, and my staff knew neither the positions of the different brigades, nor the paths leading to them.
Want of promptness in the delivery of these orders frustrated this plan-perhaps fortunately.
Scouts, sent forward in the mean time by Generals Longstreet
and D. R. Jones
, reported strong bodies of Federal troops on the wooded heights in front of their brigades.
From their reports it seemed to be as probable that McDowell
was forming his main force in front of our
main body, as that he was directing it against our left.
At nine o'clock, Captain Alexander
, of the Engineer Corps, who was also chief signal-officer, reported that large bodies of Federal troops could be seen from one of his signal-stations, crossing the valley of Bull Run
, about two miles above our extreme left.
When these troops were first observed, the head of the column had passed the open ground, in which they were visible.
Their number, consequently, could not be estimated.
He called our attention, soon after, to a heavy cloud of dust, such as the marching of an army might raise,