by the fierce combat that Elzey
was now pressing on his right, the force of which was intensified by the arrival of Early
's grand Virginia
brigade from McLean's ford, which, by direction of Johnston
, swept around the rear of the woods through which Elzey
had passed, and bravely bore down upon the flank of the already wavering Federal right and started that wing in full retreat.
Learning of the success on his left which the forest concealed from his center and right, Beauregard
ordered his staff and escort to raise a loud cheer, and sent orders all along the line for a common charge on McDowell
's left, in which his eager men, now confident of victory, joined with wild yells and drove the already yielding Federal lines from the field of contention, causing them to break, for shelter and safety, for the rear in the Sudley ridge
forest, for Bull run
, and in all directions, to get beyond reach of the Confederate
' regulars and Sherman
's brigade stood firm and withdrew in good order, protecting the rear of the routed soldiers and enabling many of them to escape by way of the fords near the stone bridge, but most of them sought refuge by way of Sudley ford and by the other routes on which they had advanced in the morning.
Having ordered all the troops on the field to pursue the retreating enemy, Beauregard
rode to the Lewis house
, turned over the immediate command of the field to Johnston
, who had generously left it in his hands up to that time, and, mounting a fresh horse (the fourth on that day, one of them killed under him), rode to press the pursuit now being made by the infantry and cavalry, some of the latter having been sent by Johnston
across the Lewis ford
to intercept the Federal
retreat on the turnpike.
Before he had ridden far, a courier from Johnston
's chief of staff at Manassas Junction
reached him with a report that a large Federal force had broken through the right of the Bull run
line and was moving on the depot of supplies at the Junction
Beauregard at once returned, and, after consultation with Johnston
, it was decided that he should take the brigades of Ewell
, which were marching, from the extreme right, to the battlefield, but had not reached it, and fall on this threatened counterstroke of the enemy while other troops were called from the pursuit and sent to his assistance.