On the 18th, having begun to receive from Norfolk
the naval guns for which he had called, to arm the works at Manassas
, General Beauregard
made a requisition for naval officers to command those batteries and drill the recruits.
They came with a number of sailors, bringing their gun-ropes, blocks, and tackles, and in their exercises the terms ‘port’ and ‘starboard,’ novel in the field, were used as familiarly as on board a man-of-war.
Officers and men were noticeable for their zeal, efficiency, and discipline.
Meanwhile, vigilant observation of the opposite banks of the Potomac
was kept up at Leesburg
, an important place, which the enemy might strike in order to sever the communications between Generals Beauregard
; and such small reinforcements as could be spared from Manassas
were sent thither, but without artillery, of which none was available.
From information collected in his front, General Johnston
was apprehensive that General Patterson
would move to attack him, and he soon abandoned the untenable salient position of Harper's Ferry
, held by him unwillingly, and to which General Patterson
afterwards crossed on the 2d of July. General Beauregard
's views, based partly on reports from Washington
, were that General Patterson
's movements merely simulated the offensive, to hold General Johnston
About the 20th of June, General Beauregard
, having organized his forces into six brigades, began a forward movement, in order to protect his advanced positions at Centreville
, Fairfax Court-House, and Sangster's Cross-roads, ‘so as to be able’—as he wrote to Colonel Eppa Hunton
—‘to strike a blow upon the enemy, at a moment's notice, which he hoped they would long remember.’
His advanced forces, three brigades of three regiments each, occupied a triangle as follows: at Mitchell's Ford, on Bull Run
, one regiment; at Centreville
and another point half-way to Germantown
, one brigade; at Germantown
and Fairfax Court-House, one brigade, with a light battery; at the crossing of Braddock
's old road with the Fairfax Court-House
and Fairfax Station roads, one regiment; and at Sangster's Cross-roads, one battalion: all in easy and short communication with each other and with headquarters.
Most of his small body of cavalry was with the advance, scouting and reconnoitring.
In view of coming events, General Beauregard
now assembled his brigade commanders, and, after general directions to all of