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[109] to his hands the command of our united forces. The interview was a short one, and General Beauregard, anxious to reap the full benefit of the victory, hurried to the front to press the pursuit.

Early's brigade, with the 19th Virginia regiment, followed the panic-stricken fugitive enemy. Stuart and Beckham had also thrown their men forward along the road by which the flying columns had so confidently marched to the field that morning; but the prisoners so encumbered their way as to force them soon to give up the pursuit. Kershaw's, Withers's, Preston's, and Cash's regiments, Hampton's Legion and Kemper's battery, attached to Kershaw, rushed forward on the Warrenton road, by the stone bridge, where Kershaw's command captured a number of pieces of artillery. ‘The enemy,’ says General Beauregard in his report, ‘having opportunely opened a way for them through the heavy abattis which my troops had made on the west side of the bridge, several days before.’

The pursuit of the enemy, the result of which might have more than doubled the importance of our victory, was not further continued that evening. A false report which had reached General Beauregard, on his way to the front, necessitated at once a complete change in the character of his orders. From Manassas, riding at full speed, had come a messenger, sent to General Beauregard by Major Thomas G. Rhett, of General Johnston's staff, with the startling information that the enemy's reserves, composed of fresh troops, and in considerable force, had penetrated our lines at Union Mills Ford, and were marching on Manassas. The report did not originate with Major Rhett, but had been brought to him by the adjutant of General D. R. Jones, in person.

No sooner had this unwelcome news been received than General Beauregard, without the loss of a moment, rode back to the Lewis House, saw General Johnston, agreed with him as to what measures should be adopted for the emergency, and, mounting a fresh horse (the fourth on that day, one of them having been killed under him by the explosion of a shell, while he was giving instructions to General Jackson), he proceeded at once to the point reported to be threatened, ordering thither Ewell's and Holmes's brigades, which had just come up to the Lewis House. With these troops he proposed to attack the enemy vigorously before he should effect a lodgment on our side of Bull Run. He asked also for such reinforcements as could be spared from the pursuit.

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