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[309] about 5 P. M. Line of battle was at once formed, and two brigades of A. P. Hill's division, those of Branch and Field, were thrown forward to attack the enemy, and ascertain his strength and position. A cold and drenching rain-storm drove in the faces of our troops as they advanced and gallantly engaged the enemy. They were subsequently supported by the brigades of Gregg, Thomas, and Pender; also of Hill's division, which, with part of Ewell's, became engaged. The conflict was maintained by the enemy until dark, when he retreated, having lost two general officers, one of whom, Major-Gen. Kearney, was left dead on the field.1 Longstreet's command arrived after the action was over, and the next morning it was found that the enemy had conducted his retreat so rapidly, that the attempt to intercept him was abandoned. The proximity of the fortifications around Alexandria and Washington rendered further pursuit useless; and the Confederates rested near Chantilly, the enemy being followed only by the cavalry, who continued to harass him until he reached the shelter of his entrenchments.

In the series of engagements on the plains of Manassas, more than seven thousand prisoners were taken, in addition to about two thousand wounded left in our hands. Thirty pieces of artillery, upwards of twenty thousand of small arms, numerous colours, and a large amount of stores, besides those taken by Gen. Jackson at Manassas Junction, were captured. Pope confessed to a loss of eight thousand killed and wounded in the battle of the 29th; and it may be safely concluded that in the series of engagements, his total loss was not less than twenty-five thousand.

He had sustained a most decisive defeat. It was a dark hour for the Northern people. Elated by Pope's false dispatches from the field, they had been counting on a splendid victory, and few were prepared to hear of the retreat and total demoralization of the army in three days. Now the war was transferred from the gates of Richmond to those of Washington. It was in vain that the Government in the latter city attempted to misrepresent the situation, and to support Pope's ludicrous claim that he was a victor. Such a claim was actually made by Pope even after he had been driven to Centreville; and the correspondence on that occasion between him and Halleck might be taken as a burlesque on Yankee official dispatches, if the originals did not exist in Washington. On the night of the 30th of August, Pope, at Centreville, had dispatched to Halleck, at Washington: β€œThe enemy is badly whipped, and we shall do well enough. Do not be uneasy. We will hold our own here. We have delayed the ”

1 Gen. Kearney met his death in a singular manner. He was out reconnoitering, when he suddenly came upon a Georgia regiment. Perceiving danger, he shouted, β€œDon't fire-i'm a friend!” but instantly wheeled his horse round, and, lying flat down upon the animal, had escaped many bullets, when one struck him at the bottom of the spine, and, ranging upwards, killed him almost instantly.

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