The enemy's force, now bearing hotly and confidently down on our position, regiment after regiment of the best-equipped men that ever took the field —according to their own history of the day—was formed of Colonels Hunter's and Heintzelman's divisions, Colonels Sherman's and Keyes's brigades of Tyler's division, and the formidable batteries of Ricketts, Griffin, and Arnold's Regulars, and 2d Rhode Island and two Dahlgren howitzers—a force of over twenty thousand infantry, seven companies of regular cavalry, and twenty-four pieces of improved artillery. At the same time, perilous heavy reserves of infantry and artillery hung in the distance around the stone bridge, Mitchell's, Blackburn's, and Union Mills Fords, visibly ready to fall upon us at any moment; and I was also assured of the existence of other heavy corps at and around Centreville, and elsewhere within convenient supporting distance.While posting his lines for the fierce struggle about to be renewed, General Beauregard, deeply impressed with the fearful odds against us, exhorted his troops to stand fast for their homes and the cause for which they were fighting. Telling them that reinforcements would soon arrive, he urged them on to ‘victory or death.’ His words were few, but they inspired the men, who dashed forward with re-awakened ardor. The enemy had now taken possession of the plateau which General Bee's forces had occupied in the morning, and, with Ricketts's battery of six rifled guns—the pride of the Federal army—and Griffin's light battery of regulars, besides others already mentioned, opened a most destructive fire upon our advancing columns. The plateau of which we speak, enclosed on three sides by small water-courses emptying into Bull Run, rose to an elevation of one hundred feet above the stream. Its crest ran obliquely to Bull Run, and to the Brentsville and turnpike roads. East and west of its brow could be seen an unbroken fringe of secondgrowth pines, affording most excellent shelter for our sharpshooters, who skilfully availed themselves of it. To the west was a broad belt of oaks extending across the crest, right and left of the Sudley road, where regiments of both armies now met and hotly contended for the mastery. The ground occupied by our guns was an open space of limited extent, about six hundred yards from the Henry House. Here, thirteen of our pieces, mostly 6-pounders, were maintained in action. They displayed from the outset such skill and accuracy of aim as to excite the terror no less than the admiration of the enemy. The advancing columns suffered severely from the fire of
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