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[446] retreat from Fairfax Court-House, on Bull Run. Called from the head of his regiment, by what appeared to me an imperative need of the service, to take charge of the superior duties of the Quartermaster's Department, with the advance at that critical juncture, he accepted the responsibilities involved, and was eminently efficient. For further information touching officers and individuals of the 1st Brigade, and the details of the retrograde movement, I have to refer particularly to the report of Brigadier-General Bonham herewith.

It is proper here to state, that while, from the outset, it had been determined, on the approach of the enemy in force, to fall back and fight him on the line of Bull Run, yet the position occupied by General Ewell's brigade, if necessary, could have been maintained against a largely superior force. This was especially the case with the position of the 5th Alabama Volunteers, Colonel Rodes, which that excellent officer had made capable of a resolute, protracted defence against heavy odds. Accordingly, on the morning of the 17th ultimo, when the enemy appeared before that position, they were checked and held at bay, with some confessed loss, in a skirmish in advance of the works, in which Major Morgan and Captain Shelly, 5th regiment Alabama Volunteers, acted with intelligent gallantry, and the post was only abandoned under general, but specific, imperative orders, in conformity with a long-conceived, established plan of action and battle.

Captain E. P. Alexander, Confederate States Engineers, fortunately joined my headquarters in time to introduce the system of new field-signals, which, under his skilful management, rendered me the most important service preceding and during the engagement.

The medical officers serving with the regiments engaged were at their proper posts, and discharged their duties with satisfactory skill and zeal; and, on one occasion, at least, under an annoying fire—when Surgeon Cullen, 1st Regiment Virginia Volunteers, was obliged to remove our wounded from the hospital, which had become the special target of the enemy's rifled guns, notwithstanding it was surmounted by the usual yellow hospital flag; but which, however, I hope, for the sake of past associations, was ignorantly mistaken for a Confederate flag. The name of each individual medical officer I cannot mention.

On the day of the engagement I was attended by my personal staff, Lieutenant S. W. Ferguson, A. D. C., and my volunteer aides-de-camp, Colonels Preston, Manning, Chestnut, Miles, Chisolm, and Heyward, of South Carolina, to all of whom I am greatly indebted for manifold essential services in the transmission of orders on the field, and in the preliminary arrangements for the occupation and maintenance of the line of Bull Run.

Colonel Thomas Jordan, Assistant Adjutant-General, Captain C. H. Smith, Assistant Adjutant-General, Colonel S. Jones, Chief of Artillery and Ordnance, Major Cabell, Chief Quartermaster, Captain W. H. Fowle, Chief of Subsistence Department, Surgeon Thomas H. Williams, Medical Director, and Assistant-Surgeon Brodie, Medical Purveyor, of the general staff attached to the Army of the Potomac, were necessarily engaged severally with their responsible duties, at my headquarters at Camp Pickens, which they discharged with an energy and intelligence for which I have to tender my sincere thanks.

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