sixty-fourth year, and wholly unacquainted with drill or tactics, my military prospects were anything but flattering; yet, I thought I knew how to manage men, and flattered myself that I could soon, for all practical purposes, overcome existing deficiences.
Besides, I well knew the bitter feeling of hostility against the South
cherished by Northern politicians, who would greedily seize upon this opportunity to gratify their hatred and satiate their revenge; and in view of the great inequality of the contest, I felt it to be my duty to set a spirited example and to contribute all in my power to the success of a cause which was dear to my heart, and which I believed, and ever shall believe, to be right.
With this explanation, by way of reply, to the many friends who kindly remonstrated against my entering the army, I proceed to carry out the purpose of this article.
Having made my personal arrangements, and having fortunately secured unexceptionable field officers, to wit: Lieutenant-Colonel Murray
, a graduate, I believe, of West Point
, and certainly a splendid drill-master and tactician, and Major Smith
, my nephew, a veteran soldier, just about three weeks from the Federal
army, having resigned therefrom to enter the Confederate
service, I felt that my first great difficulty had been overcome.
And so, with three companies only assigned to my regiment, I found myself regularly enrolled in the Confederate army, only three days before the first battle of Manassas
On the first day, and late in the afternoon, I was ordered to the Sudley mills
, where I expected to meet Colonel Hunton
, then on his march from Leesburg
On our arrival, finding Colonel Hunton
had not arrived, we camped in and around the Sudley church, my quarters being in a house not far from it. It was fully 11 P. M. before my men got their supper and fixed themselves for the night, and I had not been asleep more than an hour when, about 1 A. M., I received an order to get my men under arms and move with them to a point on Bull Run
near the Lewis house
, and to report to General Cocke
; in other words, to return.
I promptly gave the necessary orders.
On reaching the camp I found the command in a state of confused preparation, and when it was reported as ready to move I walked over the ground and found many of its conveniences about to be abandoned.
I at once sternly rebuked the men for their negligence, told them that order
were two of the duties of the soldier, and that I would not tolerate the loss of a tin cup if an act of carelessness.
The ground being gleaned, the order to march was given, and we reached our position about sunrise.
The next day we camped near the Lewis house
As it was understood we were to fight the day thereafter, and my men had but little rest the previous night, I determined they