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[379] Once or twice a well was reached, and it was instantly surrounded by bodies of thirsty soldiers, clamoring for the merest drop of the refreshing beverage. Men were constantly falling from sheer exhaustion. In one case a lieutenant came along on horseback, carrying behind him a wounded soldier. The horse had been cut from a battery, and it still had on its military harness. The animal could go no farther, the men were almost fainting, and could not dismount. A soldier of the same regiment came along and tenderly lifted his commander from the weary animal, placed him on the roadside, and, in answer to the appeal of a comrade to continue his journey, replied that he could not go, for his place of duty was by the side of his officer. And by his side, carefully bathing his brow, anxiously binding up a severe wound upon his shoulder, we left him, and passed on.

We passed on, and in silence. Few words were spoken, for there was a deep grief in every heart, and the few sentences which occasionally fell upon my ear, expressed not so much the mere mortification of defeat, as the deep and bitter determination to cover that defeat by a future of glorious victory and fearful retribution. About six miles from Fairfax a body of regular cavalry came up to us and passed on, having retreated in good order. From them we learned that our army was in full retreat, even from Centreville, and that the retreat was being covered by the Third Infantry, under Major Sykes, of whose bravery I may have occasion to speak, and that a detachment of the enemy were in pursuit, harassing them with shell. With the Third Infantry were the reserve regiments, including that of Col. Einstein, whose men were ordered to fall in with the retreating troops without having fired a musket. Trains of baggage wagons were constantly passing us, many of them being filled with wounded men. There were numerous horses which passed, nearly every animal having two riders. On arriving at the road leading to Alexandria, a great part of the retreating column proceeded to that town. We took the road which leads to Arlington, and continued our march.

The morning came, but it was very gloomy — the sky was a mass of heaving and rolling clouds, and the sun arose in all his purple golden, and, as it seemed to us, bloody splendor. Our path was a small, narrow one, leading from the main turnpike, and approaching Washington by a more direct road than that generally travelled. The country was even more hilly and densely wooded than that we had just traversed. The ambulances, wagons, and horsemen having gone forward, we were left behind, and to the number of about a thousand, in mere straggling groups, and covering some three or four miles of ground, we continued our march. The only evidence of hospitality we received was at the house of a farmer, about five miles from Washington, who stood on the roadside and furnished the troops with water.

At about six o'clock in the morning we came in view of Washington city and Georgetown; of Fort Corcoran, with its frowning black guns, and patrolled by solitary sentinels; and of the long rows of white tents where the New Jersey brigade was encamped. And above the hills of Arlington, in the gray hour of that gloomy dawn, and amid a shower of quickly-falling rain, we saw our dear old flag--God bless it — still streaming to the breeze — the type of liberty, and law, and constitutional freedom; the emblem of a glorious past; the harbinger of a more glorious future; and, though covered to-day with temporary disaster, soon to float again over rebellion crushed, a Constitution defended, a Union restored, and the majesty of a mighty and invincible Republic.

J. R. Y.

P. S.--I attach to this letter a copy of a letter addressed by an officer of the regular army to a friend, who has kindly consented that I may use it. It is graphically written, and will tell you many things which only an officer can tell:

The march from our bivouac, near Centreville, was taken up at 2 1/2 A. M. on Sunday. Among officers and men the impression prevailed that the action would occur at Bull Run, the scene of Gen. Tyler's repulse a day or two previously. In this they were disappointed. Tyler's brigade posted themselves at the bridge over Bull Run, where they were ordered to feign an attack as soon as Col. Hunter's division was known to be in position. This order was partially obeyed. Hunter's division, composed of Burnside's brigade and Porter's brigade, after proceeding a mile beyond Centreville, made a detour to the right, and proceeded over a wood road, well covered from observation, to the left flank of the enemy, at Manassas, a distance of about eight miles. At six o'clock firing was heard on the heights at Bull Run, from a battery in Tyler's brigade, which was promptly answered by the enemy's batteries. Their position thus revealed, the advance division (Hunter's) ascended a hill at double quick, and almost immediately the Rhode Island battery and Griffin's West Point battery were in brisk action. The former was supported by the First regiment Rhode Island Volunteers, who maintained their ground nobly for a half hour. At this moment Porter's brigade, composed of the Fourteenth, Seventh, and Twenty-seventh New York, with a battalion of U. S. Marines, under Major Reynolds, and a battalion of U. S. Third, Second, and Eighth Infantry, under Major Sykes, took their position in line of battle upon a hill, within range of the enemy's fire. Burnside's battery being sorely pressed, the enemy having charged closely upon it, the gallant Colonel galloped to Major Sykes and implored him to come to his

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Daniel Tyler (3)
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