The Confederate strategy in the early part of 1861 was to hold armies, or army corps, within supporting distance of each other along the exposed frontier of Virginia. If one army was attacked the corps to the right and left of it was to move promptly to its assistance. Patterson, after retiring beyond the Potomac, was heavily reinforced and recrossed the river, threatening Johnston at Winchester. Johnston, on the other hand, covered his front so thoroughly with cavalry patrols and pickets as to interpose an impenetrable veil between Patterson and himself. On July 18, 1861, General McDowell moved out of Alexandria on Beauregard at Fairfax Court House. Beauregard retired behind Bull Run. McDowell on the 19th made a heavy reconnoissance in force and found Beauregard's position. The latter called on Johnston for help. He left Winchester in the morning of the 18th and marched to Piedmont, on the Manassas Gap railroad, whence his troops were hurried by rail to Manassas Junction. In the meantime McDowell had thrown his right around Beauregard's left, turned his position, and at daylight of the 21st attacked him, driving everything before him as he marched down the right bank of Bull Run. By midday the Confederates were in retreat, their line broken and their position forced. About noon, the Fourth brigade, Colonel Elzey, arrived at the junction of the Manassas Gap and Orange & Alexandria railroads. The command was at once disembarked. McDowell's heavy guns were pounding away toward the east, the first hostile fire the men had ever heard. They were formed: First Maryland on the right, Third Ten.
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