previous next

[344] from near the west base of the hill, a low ground flat of some four hundred yards intervening between its position and the creek, and between the barn on the right (on our side of the creek) in which they had learned secession cavalry were concealed.

The enemy's small armed forces were behind intrenchments in the woods, on the west side of the creek, so covered by their works and thick undergrowth, that glimpses of them were rarely obtained.

As soon as our artillery opened on the barn their cavalry rushed out of it and got out of the way, (behind timber, I believe.) When they left it, a concealed battery near the barn opened on our forces, with very little effect, I fancy. Shortly afterwards, more of our artillery came up, and when that opened upon the enemy's position in the woods along the creek border, a second masked battery of theirs, surrounded by their infantry in the woods, replied. That did us considerable damage. I saw four or five of our killed or wounded carried past me to the rear on litters.

Dr. Pullston, of Pa., Mr. McCormick, of the N. Y. Evening Post, Mr. Hill, of the N. Y. Tribune, Mr. Raymond, of the N. Y. Times, myself, and a few other civilians, were at that time standing, surrounded by a few straggling soldiers, quietly looking on from the top of the hill, immediately where Gen. Tyler had taken his station. One of the first shells fired from that second battery of the enemy passed between the shoulders of Dr. Pullston and Mr. McCormick, who were arm-in-arm, and burst against a small building three yards in the rear of them. It grazed Mr. McCormick's shoulder. Just then the enemy's infantry fired a volley of Minie balls, which took effect in our group, wounding half a dozen, all slightly, however. Lieut. Lorain, of New York, was most hurt by a flesh wound. We non-combatants quickly sought different and safer positions.

Just then the New York Sixty-ninth and Seventy-ninth came up and took position near our other infantry on the flat. Gen. Tyler, on finding that the fire of the second of the enemy's batteries was likely to prove destructive, manoeuvred the infantry into a different position, falling them back with wheeling them. They were all as cool as cucumbers, and executed his orders with as much precision as though engaged in a dress parade on Pennsylvania avenue.

I was compelled, by my engagement, to return to Falls Church by nightfall, and then left to return. About six miles from the scene of the engagement I met General McDowell in his carriage, with his staff on horseback. Ere meeting him — indeed, immediately after the arrival of the Sixty-ninth and Seventy-ninth on the field of action, and the change of position of our infantry engaged — the firing on both sides ceased for the time being. It was renewed, however, before I reached where I met General McDowell. He received his first intelligence of the particulars of the engagement just as I was passing him, and went ahead immediately with increased pace.

After passing through Fairfax Court House, I was overtaken by a special messenger, who had remained on the ground after I left. Ere he started, according to the message sent me, the enemy's infantry had essayed to cross the creek to advance upon ours, and had been driven back by the New York 69th and 79th, who charged on them with fixed bayonets. He represents, that as he was leaving, it was judged that the enemy had been fairly whipped by that charge. It was then clear that in a short time he would probably be forced to fall back through the woods towards Manassas Junction.

I may mention that, after every volley fired by the enemy while I was at Bull Run, his men uttered a shout that made the welkin ring, and his banners were waved and flaunted defiantly in our faces. Just before his second battery opened fire, clouds of dust in his rear betokened that he was being reinforced from Manassas Junction.

New York times narrative.

Centreville, Va., Thursday evening, July 18, 1861.
This has been an eventful day for the army of advance, and the result will unquestionably be represented as a great victory on the part of the rebels. In a word, the affair was a reconnoissance in force of a wood at Bull Run, whose contents were unknown. It proved to be a masked battery, behind which some 5,000 of the rebels had intrenched themselves, and our five regiments, which were sent against it, were repulsed with considerable loss — a loss, the extent of which I cannot state with any accuracy, but which probably amounted to not far from 150 killed and wounded. On our side, Sherman's battery, under Capt. Ayres, was the only one engaged. It behaved with great gallantry, but the extent of damage inflicted cannot be known, as it fired constantly into dense woods. Our forces were all withdrawn to the rear, the most of them as far back as Centreville, four miles from Bull Run, which is itself about the same distance from Manassas Junction. The attack will unquestionably be renewed in the morning, not only upon this masked battery, but upon the entire rebel force at Manassas — with what result I shall probably be able to tell you to-morrow.

So much for the general result; now for the details of the affair, so far as they came under my personal observation.

I left Fairfax Court House at a later hour than I intended, and reached Centreville at about 11 o'clock. The rebels here had thrown up intrenchments on a high hill, overlooking the road as it debouches from a fine wood, and a large open field, admirably fitted for defence. They had abandoned them, however, and this confirmed the general impression that they did not mean to fight. The troops which had been brought forward, comprising only a portion of

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 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.
James McCormick (3)
Daniel Tyler (2)
Pullston (2)
Irwin McDowell (2)
William T. Sherman (1)
Raymond (1)
Lorain (1)
A. P. Hill (1)
R. B. Ayres (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
July 18th, 1861 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: