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[12] of the enemy's infantry, which I observed with my glass, of at least 2,500 men, and soon after two other bodies of men, of at least a regiment each, who now occupied the lines on the other side of the run, which lines now appeared full to overflowing. Supposing now that they intended to make a push across our front in column, or would endeavor to turn our left, about 11 A. M. I began to fortify my position by throwing up an earthen parapet for three guns, with embrasures across the road, and commenced an abatis of timber, by felling trees, pointing outward, between this battery and the log house to the left. About this time the enemy on the opposite side appeared to be falling back in confusion from our right attack, which continued for some time, and then the tide changed, and they seemed to be returning in large masses. At the interval between these two extremes, I was ordered by Col. D. S. Miles to throw forward my skirmishers and feel the enemy, and accordingly two companies of the 3d Michigan regiment were sent forward and down the ravine, to cover our front and advance. These were supported by Capt. Brutchshmeider's light infantry battalion, which also advanced down the ravine, accompanied by Lieut. Prime, corps of United States Engineers, who went for the purpose of ascertaining the enemy's position — he volunteering his services for that particular purpose. Col. Davies also threw forward a company of skirmishers on his right. The enemy's skirmishers were in force in the woods in front, and covered themselves with trees and rifle-pits which had been thrown up before. Our two advance companies were driven back, the enemy pursued, and were in turn driven back by the spherical case-shot of Green's battery, and 1 ordered back the light infantry, and also the two companies, to the former position. The company in front of Col. Davies's command retired about the same time. By 5 P. M. I had the battery and the abatis nearly completed, making my defences as secure as the short time and few implements used would allow. No enemy appeared in force in my front with a disposition to assault, but about this time a heavy column of infantry appeared to the left of Colonel Davies, in a ravine, moving up to the attack. This brigade opened a heavy fire upon them and gallantly drove them back, as he informed me afterward. During this firing, which was shortly after 5 o'clock, I received orders from Col. Miles, through one of his staff, to retreat upon Centreville, and endeavor to hold that position. I immediately collected my brigade and put it in motion on the road towards Centreville, and was at the head of the 2d Michigan regiment in rear of the brigade, when a staff officer proposed to me to throw my regiment in line, face toward the enemy, between the house occupied the night before by Hunt's battery and the Union and Centreville road, upon which road the enemy was supposed to be advancing. I had gained a position near the desired point, when I was met by Col. Davies, who informed me that he had beaten the enemy handsomely in front. I told him that I had been ordered back to Centreville by Col. Miles; that the rest of my brigade had gone on, and that I had been directed to go to that point with my regiment for the purpose of facing the enemy there, which I had done, and Col. Davies went, as I supposed, to his brigade. Soon after this I was met by a staff officer of Gen. McDowell's, who told me to put my brigade in position on the left of the road from Centreville to Blackburn's Ford, and stretching toward the Union and Centreville road, facing the enemy. Other troops had also fallen back to this point — distant about a mile from Centreville — and about 6 o'clock P. M., Capt. Alexander, of the Corps of Engineers, directed me, by order of Gen. McDowell, to take the general arrangement of the troops at that point in my own hands, he suggesting, as a good line of defence, between a piece of woods on the right and one on the left, the line facing equally towards the enemy, who were supposed to be coming either on the Union or the Blackburn road. I immediately formed that line as best I could of the regiments nearest the position, placing the men in the ravines, and the artillery, as far as possible, on the hills in the rear of the infantry. Before Captain Alexander gave me this last direction I learned that Col. Miles had altered the position of some regiments which I had placed before, especially the 3d Michigan regiment, which I had ordered to form close column by division, to remain as a reserve, and await further orders from me. The officer in command of the regiment at that time, Lieutenant-Colonel Stevens, (Colonel McConnel being unwell, but on the ground,) immediately executed that order, and put his regiment in close column. I went to some other part of the field, and on returning found this regiment deployed in line of battle, and in another position. I immediately inquired of Colonel Stevens the reason of their position being altered. He told me that Colonel Miles had directed this movement. I asked him why? Col. Stevens replied, “I do not know, but he had no confidence in Col. Miles.” I inquired the reason why? Col. Stevens answered, “Because Col. Miles is drunk.” That closed the conversation. I sent Col. Stevens back with his regiment, to form close column by division, as at first. I then reported to Capt. Alexander that I had been interfered with in my disposition of the troops during the day, and I could not carry out Gen. McDowell's orders as long as I was interfered with by a drunken man. Capt. Alexander then answered that Gen.McDowell now vested the whole disposition of the troops with me, and that I must use my own judgment. I went to place another battalion in line, and I was met by Col. Miles, who ordered me to form that regiment in another direction. I replied that “I should obey no more orders that he might see fit to give me.” Colonel Miles

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D. S. Miles (8)
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