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[290] part of the contest, blown up. The timbers were shattered, broken, and scarred with powder. The stream is deep, rapid and impetuous. On the opposite bank a high bluff arises, covered with scanty foliage, and overhung in some places with trees and shrubbery. Crossing a broad and open field, we came to Blackburn's Ford. We can see traces of the conflict in shattered trees, broken trunks, limbs and boughs. The grass is long and rank, the ground is uneven and marshy, and in some places traversed by streams of water. Crossing the ford, we go over the Manassas road. Here the rebels were strongly intrenched, and along this road came the reenforcements of Gen. Johnston, which turned the fortunes of the day. At this point of the field Beauregard was stationed, and a house was shown where a stray cannon-ball passed over the table while he was eating his dinner. The wall of the house is broken, and although this story, like many others, may be apocryphal, the building evidently suffered from the fire of the Union artillery.

Beyond the ford the rebel cavalry were stationed, and over these broad fields they made the charge, which completed the panic of our troops, and captured Mr. Ely, Col. Corcoran, and a number of prisoners. On a knoll to the right, at the edge of a rock, the battery of the rebels was placed, which commanded the road, and raked our retreating forces. The way was narrow, straight, and for a mile or two very even, affording a sure aim for the guns. The effect of a few rounds from heavy cannon could easily be conceived, and the loss of life must have been fearful. The spot where Col. Cameron fell was pointed out, but in the mind of my informant there was some doubt as to the exact location of the death-scene. The extent of the battle-field was very large and intricate. It is impossible to form any definite idea of the nature of the field. The scene of the action changed from one part of the ground to another, varying and shifting, advancing and receding, according as the tide of battle went with us and against us. I fancied I could trace, from the open field near the ford, where the feigned attack was made early in the day, the course of our army, as it slowly pressed the enemy back. On the right, where it is said the regulars, the New-York Sixty-ninth, and the regiment of Burnside were engaged, the trees are broken and shattered. One heavy cannon-ball passed through the trunks of two large trees, and shivered them into splinters. The limbs still remain brown and decayed. I was curious to see if any trace of the far-famed masked batteries existed, but nothing was covered. The position of the enemy was naturally a strong one. They had the devious, intricate, and heavily-wooded banks of Bull Run as a natural defence; they commanded every ford and every bridge. For a great part of its course it reminded me of the scene along the banks of the lower Wissahickon, although the grandeur and majesty surrounding that beautiful stream were wanting. Nature was the strongest bulwark of our foes, and in failing to surmount it, we were vanquished.

In an open field, from which the fences had been torn away, immediately beyond what is known as “Lewis's House,” where the rebel General Stuart had his headquarters, our dead lie buried. There are no distinctive marks to designate the names of the fallen, but there they lie, “in one red burial blent.” It was some days after the battle before the dead soldiers of the Union army were placed in their graves, and I am sorry to say that, from what I heard, all the stories of the indignities heaped upon their remains, the plunder and rapine, were true. They were huddled into a common grave, and over their resting-place the deep ruts of wagons and teams were marked. It seemed so strange, on this bright summer afternoon, with nature bursting into spring; the songs of birds ringing merrily through the air; the distant humming of the noisy stream, coming like a murmuring cadence upon the ear; with all the realities around, beautiful and romantic, to ride over this sacred ground. My companion had gone on his errand, and I came back alone. Everything was calm and subdued, and so far as the outward seeming went, there could be no more attractive place than the battle-field of Bull Run. An occasional soldier passed along the road on his pilgrimage, an occasional officer rode quietly and curiously along the Manassas road. There were the woods, the fields, the streams, the heights, the lonely encampments of huts, as silent as the city of the dead; no longer the roar of cannon, as on that sad Sunday in July; the contest of angry and infuriated men; the wounded and the dead, they were constantly carried along to the nearest hospital; the rattle of musketry; the noise and the shouting; the long-continued strife; the sudden lull, and the shameful retreat in the shadows of the evening hour; the panic and utter rout.

Two scenes — the summer day in July, the spring day in March. Very different — very distinctive. Each with its great lesson, each the moral of a nation's history. We come over the hill and Centreville appears. Over its heights the Union flag is floating, and the Union musicians fill the air with sweet and patriotic sounds. I think the lesson of Manassas has been learned.

J. R. Y.

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