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[372] where your correspondent stood. Gens. Beauregard, Johnston, and Bonham reached this point at 12, and one of these balls passed directly over and very near them, and plunged into the ground a few paces from where I stood.

At a quarter past 12, Johnston and Beauregard galloped rapidly forward in the direction of Stone Bridge, where the ball had now fully opened.

The artillery were the first to open fire, precisely at 11 o'clock. By half-past 11, the infantry had engaged, and there it was that the battle began to rage. The dusky columns which had thus far marked the approach of the two armies, now mingled with great clouds of smoke, as it rose from flashing guns below, and the two shot up together like a huge pyramid of red and blue. The shock was as tremendous as were the odds between the two forces. With what anxious hearts did we watch that pyramid of smoke and dust! When it moved to the right, we knew the enemy were giving way; and when it moved to the left, we knew that our friends were receding. Twice the pyramid moved to the right, and as often returned. At last, about two o'clock, it began to move slowly to the left, and thus it continued to move for two mortal hours. The enemy was seeking to turn our left flank, and to reach the railroad leading hence in the direction of Winchester. To do this, he extended his lines, which he was enabled to do by reason of his great numbers. This was unfortunate for us, as it required a corresponding extension of our own lines to prevent his extreme right from outflanking us — a movement on our part which weakened the force of our resistance along the whole line of battle, which finally extended over a space of two miles. It also rendered it the more difficult to bring up reinforcements, as the further the enemy extended his right, the greater the distance our reserve forces had to travel to counteract the movement.

This effort to turn our flank was pressed with great determination for five long, weary hours, during which the tide of battle ebbed and flowed along the entire line with alternate fortunes. The enemy's column continued to stretch away to the left, like a huge anaconda, seeking to envelope us within its mighty folds and crush us to death; and at one time it really looked as if he would succeed.

The moment he discovered the enemy's order of battle, General Beauregard, it is said, despatched orders to Gen. Ewell, on our extreme right, to move forward and turn his left or rear. At the same time he ordered Generals Jones, Longstreet, and Bonham, occupying the centre of our lines, to cooperate in this movement, but not to move until Gen. Ewell had made the attack. The order to Gen. Ewell unfortunately miscarried. The others were delivered, but as the movements of the centre were to be regulated entirely by those on the right, nothing was done at all. Had the orders to Gen. Ewell been received and carried out, and our entire force brought upon the field, we should have destroyed the enemy's army almost literally. Attacked in front, on the flank and in the rear, he could not possibly have escaped, except at the loss of thousands of prisoners and all his batteries, while the field would have been strewed with his dead.

Finding that his orders had in some way failed to be executed, Gen. Beauregard at last ordered up a portion of the forces which were intended to cooperate with Gen. Ewell. It was late, however, before these reinforcements came up. Only one brigade reached the field before the battle was won. This was led by Gen. E. K. Smith, of Florida, formerly of the United States army, and was a part of Gen. Johnston's column from Winchester. They should have reached here the day before, but were prevented by an accident on the railroad. They dashed on the charge with loud shouts and in the most gallant style. About the same time Major Elzey coming down the railroad from Winchester with the last of Johnston's brigades, and hearing the firing, immediately quit the train and struck across the country, encountered the extreme right of the enemy as he was feeling his way around our flank, and with his brigade struck him like a thunderbolt, full in the face. Finding he was about to be outflanked himself, the enemy gave way after the second fire. Meanwhile Beauregard rallied the centre and dashed into the very thickest of the fight, and after him rushed our own brave boys, with a shout that seemed to shake the very earth. The result of this movement from three distinct points, was to force back the enemy, who began to retreat, first in good order and finally in much confusion. At this point the cavalry were ordered on the pursuit. The retreat now became a perfect rout, and it is reported that the flying legions rushed passed Centerville in the direction of Fairfax, as if the earth had been opening behind them. It was when Gen. Beauregard led the final charge, that his horse was killed by a shell.

We captured thirty-four guns, including Sherman's famous battery, a large number of small arms, thirty wagons loaded with provisions, &c., and about seven hundred prisoners. Among the latter were Gen. Burnside, of the Rhode Island brigade, Col. Corcoran, of the New York Irish 69th regiment, Hon. Mr. Ely, member of Congress from New York, Mr. Carrington,1 of this State, a nephew of the late William C. Preston, who had gone over to the enemy, and thirty-two captains, lieutenants, &c. We came near bagging the Hon. Mr. Foster, Senator from Connecticut.

The official reports of the casualties of the day have not yet come in, and consequently it is impossible to say what our loss is. I can only venture an opinion, and that is, that we lost in killed, wounded, and missing, about 1,500--of


1 These are errors. Gen. Burnside and Mr. Carrington were not captured.--Ed. R. R.

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G. T. Beauregard (6)
Ewell (5)
Joseph E. Johnston (4)
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M. L. Bonham (2)
E. K. Smith (1)
William T. Sherman (1)
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