army while he pressed him offensively in front.
This proposition of a divided instead of a combined cooper-ation did not meet the approval of Johnston
The Federal army, in light marching order, began its march toward Manassas
in the afternoon of Tuesday, July 16th, and its advance, in well-disposed parallel columns, but little opposed, encamped that night in front of Fairfax
Advancing again on the 17th, the cavalry moving along the right of the Federal
army had a skirmish with the Confederate cavalry at Vienna
, on the Alexandria
railroad, and the column on the Centreville
road with the Confederate
pickets in front of Fairfax
as they retired, leaving the way open for the Federals
to reach the vicinity of Centreville
and the front of Bull run
late in the evening of that day, after having covered 20 miles from the Potomac
in two days.
By morning of Thursday, July 18th, McDowell
's army was massed around Centreville
, with the exception of a division which had been left at Fairfax Court House to guard the right of the advance and watch the roads leading to the northwest The Confederate line south of Bull run
, at Mitchell's ford, on the direct road from Centreville
to Manassas Junction
, was but 3 miles from Centreville
On this road the Federal
forces advanced on the morning of the 18th, the leading division, under Tyler
, making infantry demonstrations before Mitchell's ford and Blackburn's ford (about a mile further east), opening with artillery from the fine positions on the north side of Bull run
in front of each of these fords.
had placed Longstreet
's brigade, with Early
's in reserve, to cover these two fords.
These repulsed the Federal
attacks and efforts to force a passage, and the enemy's infantry retired about 1 p. m., but an artillery duel continued the contest.
Federal authorities deny that an attempt was made to force a passage of Bull run
on the 18th, and that this engagement, which has been called the ‘battle of Bull Run
’ (that of the 21st being known as the ‘battle of Manassas
’), was only a demonstration to engage the attention of the Confederates
reconnoitered to decide upon his plan of attack.
claims that his success in this first encounter was of especial advantage to his army of raw troops; that it made McDowell
cautious and hesitating in forming his