previous next

[32] blocking up the road. I discovered, however, that Davies' brigade could be passed to the left and west, through fields, to Blackburn's Ford. Lieutenant Brinel, engineer officer, conducted the brigade, and as soon as possible it joined Colonel Richardson, before the crossing of this ford on Bull Run. Fire was then opened by Hunt's battery, supported by Richardson's brigade on the right. Edwards's twenty-pounder rifled guns were posted on the left, about six hundred yards from Richardson's position, and sustained by a portion of Davies' brigade. Blenker's brigade took position at Centreville, and commenced throwing up intrenchments--one regiment being located at the former work of the enemy, one to the west of the town on the Warrenton road, and two on the height towards Bull Run. With these last regiments were first placed Tidball's and Green's batteries-Green's afterwards being removed to Richardson's position, in consequence of notification being sent by that officer that about 2,000 of the enemy were about to attack him, and that he required more artillery. I may here remark that some difference existed in the order given Lieutenant Brinel and myself in regard to the defensive works to be thrown up, and also as to the quantity of tools he was to receive — my orders being, by the Lieutenant's advice, to intrench Centreville; his from Major Barnard, to throw up works at Blackburn's Ford. No tools came forward but the small amount Lieutenant Brinel had of his own. These he took to Richardson's position, commenced a battery and made several hundred yards of it. Blenker, with his pioneers, improved and extended the works at Centreville left by the enemy.

It was soon reported that the Fourth Pennsylvania regiment had left at its encampment a battery of field-guns. For this Colonel Blenker offered to organize a company of experienced European artillerists, which I accepted. The captain's name, I regret, I have forgotten, as I should recommend his having permanent command of the guns in question. He is an efficient officer. So soon as I completed my arrangements with Blenker, I visited Colonel Richardson; found him in proper position and effectively at work, Hunt's and Edwards's battery being in good position. There was no evidence of the enemy immediately about the ford until after the first opening of the fire, when he fled from barns and houses in the vicinity. Then, after ordering proper supports for the batteries, and placing a reserve force in position, returned to Centreville, finding all quiet, and the troopers at work. Remaining here some time I returned to Richardson, when it was surmised that there was no enemy at that place, and found the ammunition of the batteries rapidly diminishing. I ordered from the brigadier a few skirmishers to go forward and examine the ford, determined if I could cross to do so, and endeavor to cut the line of travel pursued by retreating and advancing detachments of the enemy. The line of skirmishers had barely entered the woods, when a large force of the enemy was discovered concealed by breastworks. He opened fire, which was handsomely returned. In this affair three of the Sixteenth New York Volunteers were wounded. The skirmishers report the force of the enemy greatly damaged by Green's battery. I made no other attempt on this ford, my orders being on no account to get into a general engagement. As I was again returning to Blenker's position, I received the notice to telegraph to Washington, which I found had been done by Lieutenant Wendell, topographical engineer in my staff, and was compelled by illness to remain at my Headquarters. It was at this time the order was received to put two brigades on the Warrenton turnpike, at the bridge. I without delay sent a staff officer to order forward Davies' brigade, but whilst this officer was executing my instructions Davies sent word he wanted a reserve regiment forward, that the enemy, some 3,000, was attempting to turn his flank. The staff officer, therefore, properly suspended the giving of my order, and immediately reported the fact to me, and this caused me to advance but the one brigade (Blenker's) to the position on the Warrenton turnpike. Blenker's advance to that point was soon impeded by fugitives from the battle-field. When these were passing my Headquarters I endeavored to rally them, but my efforts were vain.

The attack on Davies' position caused painful apprehension for the safety of the left flank of the army, and claiming it of the first importance that my division should occupy the strongest position, I sent instructions to Davies and Richardson to have their brigades fall back on Centreville. Then followed Blenker's brigade to see if it was in position, when I was informed the commanding general had passed. I then returned to Centreville, and found Davies and Richardson's brigades arriving, and commenced placing them in position — Richardson's brigade, with Green's battery, being placed about one-half mile in advance of Centreville Heights, his line of battle facing Blackburn's Ford. In rear of Richardson I posted two regiments behind fences, as a support for the first line, and still further in rear and on the heights I placed Hunt's and Edwards's batteries, two of Davies' regiments being in reserve to support them. I then followed Blenker, found Tidball's battery in admirable position, supported by the Garibaldi Guard; Blenker, with three regiments and the Fourth Pennsylvania battery, being in advance. Having great confidence in his judgment and troops, I returned to Centreville Heights to await events, when I found all my defensive arrangements changed. Not knowing who had done this, and seeing Col. Richardson giving different positions to my troops, I asked by what authority he was acting, when he told me he had instructions from my superior officer. I soon


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Centreville (Virginia, United States) (6)
Bull Run, Va. (Virginia, United States) (2)
Warrenton (Virginia, United States) (1)
Europe (1)

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
J. B. Richardson (12)
Louis Blenker (10)
Thomas A. Davies (8)
E. Hunt (3)
Neale Green (3)
C. L. Edwards (3)
Brinel (3)
Tidball (2)
Wendell (1)
George Washington (1)
J. G. Barnard (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: