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[102] did General Beauregard await its issue, expectant, the while, that similar sounds would soon be audible from the right and centre of the line. Instead of which, at about half-past 10 A. M., a messenger came from General Ewell, with the disappointing news that General Beauregard's orders to him for his advance upon Centreville, though forwarded quite early in the morning, had not yet reached him; but that, in consequence of a communication from General D. R. Jones, he had thrown his brigade across the stream at Union Mills. It was evidently too late to undertake the projected movement. The firing appeared to be still increasing on the left, while it would have taken Generals Ewell and Holmes from two to three hours to reach the position first assigned to them. Other combinations became necessary, and were immediately resorted to.
The movement of the right and centre [says General Beauregard, in his report], already begun by Jones and Longstreet, was at once countermanded, with the sanction of General Johnston, and we arranged to meet the enemy on the field upon which he had chosen to give us battle. Under these circumstances, our reserves not already in movement were immediately ordered up to support our left flank, namely, Holmes's two regiments, a battery of artillery under Captain Lindsay Walker, of six guns, and Early's brigade. Two regiments from Bonham's brigade, with Kemper's four 6-pounders, were also called for; and, with the sanction of General Johnston, Generals Ewell, Jones (D. R.), Longstreet, and Bonham were directed to make a demonstration to their several fronts, to retain and engross the enemy's reserves and forces on their flank, and at and around Centreville. Previously, our respective chiefs of staff, Major Rhett and Colonel Jordan, had been left at my headquarters to hasten up and give directions to any troops that might arrive at Manassas.

And now, these orders having been rapidly despatched, Generals Johnston and Beauregard proceeded, at full gallop, to the imdiate field of action, where they arrived just as the forces under Bee, Bartow, and Evans had retired to a wooded ravine in rear of the Robinson House, south of the stone bridge—which was then gallantly held by the Hampton Legion.

At this critical moment disaster stared us in the face. Our men seemed to have accomplished all that could be accomplished against such overpowering numbers; and depression, added to exhaustion, was about to destroy their over-taxed endurance. The words of the brigade, regiment, and company commanders were drowned by the noise and confusion, the whizzing of balls and the explosion of shells. Generals Johnston and Beauregard rode among the

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Centreville (Virginia, United States) (2)
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