latter broke. There was not a hand to-hand encounter between any regiments. There was not a single “battery charged” or taken by the Federalists. There were no masked batteries in play by the former.1 There was no annihilation of rebel horse by Zouaves, Fire or other. A volley fired by one battalion emptied three saddles among a body of horse who appeared at some distance, and the infantry which performed the execution then retired. There were no desperate struggles except by those who wanted to get away. The whole matter in plain English amounts to this: The Federalists advanced slowly, but steadily, under the fire of their artillery, driving the enemy, who rarely showed out of cover, in line before them, and gradually forced them back on the right and the centre for a mile and a half towards Manassas. As the enemy fell back they used their artillery also, and there was a good deal of pounding at long ranges with light field-guns, and some heavier rifled ordnance, the line on both sides being rarely within 500 yards of each other. On one occasion the regiments on the right were received by a musketry fire from the enemy, which induced them to fall back, but they were rallied and led forward towards the front. The Confederates again gave way, and the Federalists advanced once more. Again the line of the enemy appeared in front, and delivered fire. The Zouaves, as they are called, and the 11th New York, which were on the flank, fell into confusion not to be rallied, and eventually retired from the field in disorder, to use the mildest term, with a contagious effect on their comrades, and with the loss of the guns which they were supporting. Nothing would, or could, or did stop them. In vain they were reminded of their oaths to “avenge Ellsworth's death.” Their flag was displayed to the winds — it had lost its attractions. They ran in all directions with a speed which their fortune favored. “I tell the tale as it was told to me” by one who had more to do with them, and had better opportunity of witnessing their conduct than I had; for, as I have already stated in a previous letter, I was late on the ground, and had not been able to see much ere the retreat was ordered. Though I was well mounted, and had left Washington with the intention of returning early that night, I found fugitives had preceded me in masses all the way, and when I crossed the Long Bridge, about 11 o'clock, I was told that the city was full of those who had returned from the fight.2 But if the miserable rout and panic of the Federalists have produced such deplorable results to their cause, they have still much to be thankful for. Had the Confederates been aware of their success, and followed up their advantage early on Monday morning, there was no reason on earth why they should not have either got into Washington or compelled the whole of the Federalist army that kept together and could not escape, as it was all on one road, to surrender themselves prisoners, with all they possessed. If the statements in the Federalist papers as to their strength be correct, the rebels could have easily spared 30,000 men for that purpose, with a reserve of 10,000 or 15,000 in their rear. The Chain Bridge, the fords above the Falls, were open to them — at least, there could be but little or no opposition from the disorganized forces. The columns moving round from Fairfax to their left by Vienna would have been able certainly to cross at Matildaville; others could have got over at the Falls, and still there would have been enough to permit Beauregard to occupy Manassas, and to send on a heavy column to cover Alexandria and to shut up the Federalists in the earth-works and tete de pont, if not to wrest them from troops deeply affected by the rout they were witnessing. If the Confederates had the cavalry of which so much has been said, they were scandalously handled. A detour by a cross road from Centreville to the Germantown road would have placed the horse in the rear of the retreating mass in half an hour, and it is not too much to say that mass would have thrown itself on the mercy of the pursuers. If Beauregard's or Lee's force was small, as they say, and suffered as much as the Federalists aver, the flight is the more incomprehensible. But still it is very strange that the victors should not have been aware of their victory — that is, of the utter rout which followed their repulse. The attempt to form line on the top of Centreville, only partially successful as it was, might have imposed on the enemy, and saved McDowell from the pursuit which he did his best to avert. The journals, which at first boasted of the grand Union army of 45,000 men, are now anxious to show that only 20,000 were engaged. Why did the other 25,000 run away? The German regiment, under Col. Blenker, and perhaps some other corps, may have retired in good order, but eventually few withstood the ceaseless alarms. The rain, which commenced on Monday morning early, may have had much to do with the undisturbed retreat of the Federalists, as the enterprise and activity of the enemy would be much diminished in consequence, and as for the beaten army, it has been always observed that troops hold together and march well in rain. But with all allowances and excuses, it is still mysterious inactivity Johnston, whose junction with 40,000 men is said to have taken place (if he had half the number it is more than I give him credit for) on the morning of the battle, must have swelled the force under Lee and Beauregard to 70,000 men at the least. He is the best officer in the Confederate army, and it is believed here that he is already away operating in Western Virginia. There is a suspicious
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Battle of Bull Run .
Doc . 4 .- N. Y. Tribune narrative.
Doc . 59 : a Virginian who is not a traitor: response of Lieut. Mayo , U. S. N. , to the proclamation of Gov. Letcher .
Doc . 65 -speech of Galusha A. Grow , on taking the Chair of the House of Representatives of the United States , July 4 .
Doc . 135 .- Virginia ordinance, prohibiting citizens of Virginia from holding office under the United States , passed July , 1861 .
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