road we were occupying, opened on us with a heavy fire of shells and round and grape shot. To avoid the effects of this as much as possible, I ordered the men to fall back into the woods on each side of the road, and was presently reinforced by two guns of Ayres's battery, under Lieutenant Ransom, which passed to the head of the road. A brisk cannonading was then opened, but a very unequal one, on account of the superior force and metal of the enemy. While this continued, I left my horse and passed through the wood, and remained some time by our guns, to be satisfied whether we were making any impression upon the enemy's work. I soon found that it was not thus to be carried, and such also was the opinion of the officer in charge of the guns. Retiring, I found that the most of my two regiments in the rear had fallen back out of range of the hot and constant lire of the enemy's cannon, against which they had nothing to oppose. The suffering from this fire was principally with the Second New York, as they were in the line where most of the shell and shot fell that passed over the heads of the Second Ohio. Taking with me two companies of the Second Ohio which were yet in the woods maintaining their position, I returned to cover and bring away Ransom's guns. It was just at this place and point of time that you visited yourself the position we were leaving. I must not omit to speak with commendation of the admirable manner in which these guns of ours were handled and served by the officers and men having them in charge. And I may notice the fact, also, that as we were withdrawing from this point we saw another heavy train of the enemy's guns arrive, and move up the stream on the other side of their battery with which we had been engaged, along what I supposed to be the road from Manassas, towards where the battle was raging with our troops on the right. My three regiments being all called in, then retired and rested in good order, at the centre of the front, near the turnpike. Here I was informed by Col. McCook that you had crossed the run above, with other portions of our division, and left with him an order for me to remain with my infantry in that position, supporting Carlisle's battery, which was posted close to the road on the right. This was 1 P. M. Capt. Carlisle, while we thus rested, was playing with much apparent effect upon the enemy's works across the run, with his two rifled pieces, as was also Lieut. Haines with the large Parrott gun. Soon after, having successive and cheering reports, confirmed by what we could observe, of the success of our army on the other side of the run, I discovered that bodies of the enemy were in motion probably retreating, to their right. To scatter these and hasten their flight, I ordered into the road towards the bridge, the two rifled guns, and several rounds fired with manifest severe effect. This, however, drew from the enemy's batteries again a warm and quick fire of shell, and with rifled cannon on our position on the road, which continued afterwards and with little intermission, with loss of some lives again in my New York regiment, until the close of the fight. While this was going on, Capt. Alexander, of the Engineer Corps, brought up the company of pioneers, or axe-men, which, with its officers and sixty men, had been entirely detailed from the regiments of my brigade, to open a communication over the bridge, and through the heavy abatis which obstructed the passage of troops on our front beyond the run. To support him while thus engaged I brought up, and placed in the road towards the bridge, McCook's and Tompkins's regiments, detailing also, and sending forward to the bridge, a company of the Second New Yorkers, to cover the men while cutting through the enemy's abatis. A second company from Lieut.-Col. Mason's command was also brought forward with axes, afterwards, to aid in clearing the obstructions, and thus, in a short time, Capt. Alexander succeeded in opening a passage. Capt. Carlisle's battery was now posted on the hillside, in the open field, to the left of the road towards the bridge. Very soon after, some reverses of fortune appearing to have taken place with our troops on the other side, who were falling back up the run, it was discovered and reported to me that a large body of the enemy had passed over the stream below the bridge, and were advancing through a wood in the low ground at our left with an evident purpose to flank us. To intercept this movement, I ordered forward into the road, still lower down, two of Carlisle's brass howitzers, a few rounds from which, quickly served, drove the rebels from the woods and back to the other side of the stream. It was not long after this that the unpleasant intelligence came of our army being in retreat from the front across the ford above, and the order was received to fall back on Centreville. The retreat of my Brigade, being now in the rear of our Division, was conducted in the reverse order of our march in the morning, the Second New York moving first, and being followed by the Second and First Ohio, the two latter regiments preserving their lines in good degree, rallying together, and arriving at Centreville with closed ranks, and sharing comparatively little in the panic which characterized so painfully that retreat, and which seemed to be occasioned more by the fear of frightened teamsters and of hurrying and excited civilians, (who ought never to have been there,) than even by the reckless disorder and want of discipline of straggling soldiers. Near the house which was occupied as a hospital for the wounded, about a mile from the battle ground, a dashing charge was made upon the retreating column by a body of the rebel cavalry, which was gallantly had repelled, and principally by two companies of the Second Ohio, with loss on both sides. Here, also, in this attack, occurred some of the
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Table of Contents:
Battle of Bull Run .
Doc . 4 .- N. Y. Tribune narrative.
Doc . 59 : a Virginian who is not a traitor: response of Lieut. Mayo , U. S. N. , to the proclamation of Gov. Letcher .
Doc . 65 -speech of Galusha A. Grow , on taking the Chair of the House of Representatives of the United States , July 4 .
Doc . 135 .- Virginia ordinance, prohibiting citizens of Virginia from holding office under the United States , passed July , 1861 .
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