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[62] unless it be speedily followed by blows more deadly even than the repulse from Manassas. There is much talk now (of “masked batteries,” of course) of outflanking, and cavalry, and such matters. The truth seems to be that the men were overworked, kept out for 12 or 14 hours in the sun, exposed to a long-range fire, badly officered, and of deficient regimental organization. Then came a most difficult operation — to withdraw this army, so constituted, out of action, in face of an energetic enemy who had repulsed it. The retirement of the baggage, which was without adequate guards, and was in the hands of ignorant drivers, was misunderstood, and created alarm, and that alarm became a panic, which became frantic on the appearance of the enemy and on the opening of their guns on the runaways. But the North will be all the more eager to retrieve this disaster, although it may divert her from the scheme, which has been suggested to her, of punishing England a little while longer. The exultation of the South can only be understood by those who may see it; and if the Federal Government perseveres in its design to make Union by force, it may prepare for a struggle the result of which will leave the Union very little to fight for. More of the “battle” in my next. I pity the public across the water, but they must be the victims of hallucinations and myths it is out of my power to dispel or rectify just now. Having told so long a story, I can scarcely expect your readers to have patience, and go back upon the usual diary of events; but the records, such as they are, of this extraordinary repulse, must command attention. It is impossible to exaggerate their importance. No man can predict the results or pretend to guess at them.

Comments on Mr. Russell's letter: from the Chicago Tribune.

Mr. Russell's letter to the London Times, the greater part of which we transferred to our columns yesterday morning, is, in many respects, a remarkable paper. We enjoyed the privilege of riding from a point a couple of miles east of Centreville, to another point east of Fairfax Court House, with Mr. Russell, and when he tells what took place on that bit of road, we are competent judges of his truthfulness and fairness as a descriptive writer. We do not know and do not care what he saw, or says he saw, of the fight and the flight, before we found him; but from the errors and misstatements in that portion of his narrative with which we are immediately concerned, we should be justified in believing that he was not at the battle at all, and that the materials for his letter were gathered from some Fire Zouave or a private of the Ohio Second, who left, terror stricken, in the early part of the fray, and carried the fatal news of the rout and the race to the credulous rear. We left Centreville without, knowing that a repulse had been felt, or that a retreat to that point had been ordered. Jogging leisurely down the Washington road, perhaps ten minutes--certainly not more — ahead of Mr. Russell, we saw nothing of the flogging, lashing, spurring, beating, and abandoning that he so graphically describes. The road was as quiet and clear as if no army were in the vicinity. A mile from Centreville we met that New Jersey regiment, a private of which, Mr. Russell says, threatened to “shoot him if he did not halt.” The officers were turning back the few fugitives, not a dozen in all, that were on their way in; but, recognized as a civilian, as the Times correspondent must have been, we passed to the rear unchallenged. Mr. Russell, at that moment, could not have been half a mile behind us. Pushing on slowly we were overtaken by Col. Hunter's carriage, in which he, wounded, was going to the city. Mr. Russell saw it, or says he saw it, attended by .an escort of troopers, at the bead of whom was a major, who “considered it right to take charge of his chief and leave his battalion.” We saw no troopers nor major. Hon. Isaac N. Arnold, of the House, was riding by the side of the vehicle, and he, a smooth-faced gentleman, in the garb of a civilian, may have been mistaken by our “own correspondent” for a doubtful man of war. Possibly two miles and a half from Centreville, we stopped at a road-side farm house for a cup of water. While drinking, Mr. Russell passed. We recognized him, rode along, and were soon engaged with him in a discussion of the causes of the check — it was not then known to be any thing more; and, in his company, we went on through Fairfax, in all a distance, perhaps, of six or eight miles; and we can affirm that not one incident which he relates as happening in that stretch, had any foundation in fact. We saw nothing of that Englishman of whom he says:
It was about this time I met a cart by the roadside, surrounded by a group of soldiers, some of whom had “69” on their caps. The owner, as I took him to be, was in great distress; and cried out, as I passed, “ Can you tell me, sir, where the Sixty-ninth are? These men say they are cut to pieces.” “I can't tell you.” “I'm in charge of the mails, sir, and I will deliver them if I die for it. You are a gentleman, and I can depend on your word. Is it safe for me to go on?” Not knowing the extent of the debacle, I assured him it was, and asked the men of the regiment how they happened to be there. “Shure, the colonel himself told us to go off every man on his own hook, and to fly for our lives,” replied one of them. The mail agent, who told me he was an Englishman, started the cart again. I sincerely hope no bad result to himself or his charge followed my advice.

We rode into Fairfax together.

I reached Fairfax Court House; the people, black and white, with anxious faces, were at the doors, and the infantry under arms. I was besieged with questions, though hundreds of fugitives had passed through before me.

It is a small matter, this, but it marks the accuracy of the man. Not a question was asked of Mr. Russell nor of us; not a “fugitive,” we dare affirm, had passed that way; the infantry — another New Jersey regiment, if we are not mistaken — were at their usual evening parade, supposing, no doubt, that their companions in arms had won a great victory.

At one house I stopped to ask for water for my horse; the owner sent his servant for it cheerfully, the very house where we had in vain asked for something to eat in the forenoon. “There's a fright among them,” I observed in reply to his question concerning the commissariat drivers. “They're afraid of the enemy's cavalry.” “Are you an American?” said the man. “No, I am not.” “Well, then,” he said, “there will be cavalry on them soon enough. There's twenty thousand of the best horsemen in the world in Virginny.”

At the little one-horse tavern in Fairfax, the

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