order for the battle to which I referred was, with slight modifications, literally conformed to; that the corps were brought over Bull Run in the manner proposed, and put into action as before arranged, and that up to late in the afternoon every movement ordered was carrying us successfully to the object we had proposed before starting — that of getting to the railroad leading from Manassas to time valley of Virginia, and going on it far enough to break up and destroy the communication and interviews between the forces under Beauregard and those under Johnston. And could we have fought a day or a few hours sooner, there is every thing to show how we could have continued successful even against the odds with which we contended. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, Your most obedient servant,
Irwin McDowell, Brigadier-General Commanding.
First Division. General Tyler's report.
Headquarters First Division, Department N. E. Va., Washington, July 27, 1861.General: In obedience to order No. 22, dated Centreville, July 20, Sherman's, Schenck's, and Keyes's brigades, of this division — Richardson's brigade having been left in front of Blackburn's Ford — moved at half-past 2 A. M., on the 21st inst., to threaten the passage of the Warrenton turnpike bridge, on Bull Run. I arrived in front of the bridge with Schenck's and Sherman's brigades, and Ayres's and Carlisle's batteries, about six A. M., Keyes's brigade having been halted by your order to watch the road coming up from Manassas, and about two miles from the run. After examining the position, and posting Sherman's and Schenck's brigades and artillery, I fired the first gun at half-past 6 A. M., as agreed upon, to show that we were in position. As my orders were to threaten the passage of the bridge, I caused Schenck's brigade to be formed into line, its left resting in the direction of the bridge, and the battery which the enemy had established to sweep the bridge and its approach, so as to threaten both. Sherman's brigade was posted to the right of the Warrenton turnpike, so as to be in position to sustain Schenck, or to move across Bull Run in the direction of Hunter's column. The thirty-pounder gun attached to the Carlisle battery was posted on the Warrenton turnpike, with Ayres's battery considerably in its rear, Carlisle's battery was posted on the left of Sherman's brigade. In this position we awaited the appearance of Hunter's and Heintzleman's columns as ordered, until such time as the approach to the bridge should be carried, and the bridge rebuilt by Capt. Alexander, of the engineers, who had on the spot the necessary structure for that purpose. Soon after getting into position we discovered that the enemy had a heavy battery, with infantry in support, commanding both the road and bridge approaches, on which both Ayers and Carlisle at different times tried the effect of their guns without success; and a careful examination of the banks of Bull Run satisfying me that they were impracticable for the purpose of artillery, these batteries had to remain comparatively useless until such time as Hunter's column might clear the approach by a movement on the opposite bank. During this period of waiting the thirty-pounder was occasionally used with considerable effect against bodies of infantry and cavalry, which could be seen from time to time moving in the direction of Hunter's column, and out of the range of ordinary guns. Using a high tree as an observatory, we could constantly see the operations of Hunter's and Heintzelman's column from the time they crossed Bull Run, and through one of my staff, Lieut. O'Rourke, of the engineers, I was promptly notified as to any change in the progress of their columns up to the time when it appeared that the heads of both — were arrested, and the enemy seemed to be moving heavy reinforcements to support their troops. At this time I ordered Colonel Sherman, with his brigade, to cross Bull Run, and to support the two columns already in action. Colonel Sherman, as appears by his reports, crossed the run without opposition, and after encountering a party of the enemy flying before Hunter's forces, found General McDowell, and received his orders to join in the pursuit. The subsequent operations of this brigade and its able commander having been under your own eye and directions, I shall not follow its movements any further, but refer you to Colonel Sherman's report, which you will find herewith. So soon as it was discovered that Hunter's division had been arrested, I ordered up Keyes's brigade, which arrived just as the left of Sherman's was crossing the run, and having satisfied myself that the enemy had not the force nor the purpose to cross Bull Run, I ordered Keyes's brigade to follow Sherman, accompanying the move in person, as I saw it must necessarily place me on the left of our line, and in the best possible position, when we should have driven the enemy off, to join Schenck's brigade and the two batteries left on the opposite side. I ordered Colonel Keyes to incline the head of his column a little to the right of the line of march taken by Sherman's brigade, to avoid the fire of a battery which the enemy had opened. This movement sheltered the men to a considerable degree, and resulted in closing on the rear of Sherman's brigade; and, on reaching the high ground, I ordered Colonel Keyes to form into line on the left of Sherman's brigade, which was done with great steadiness and regularity. After waiting a few moments the line was ordered to advance, and came into conflict on its right with the enemy's cavalry and infantry, which, after some severe struggles, it drove back, until the further march of the brigade was arrested by a severe fire of artillery and infantry, sheltered by some buildings