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[16] from home their trusty rifles and shotguns, but the vast majority of the Army of Northern Virginia were armed with old Springfield muskets, such as had been captured with the governmant arsenals at several points in the Confederacy. Camp equipage was quite lacking in the Southern army, but the officers in the various regiments commanded the respect of their men. Such were the conditions existing on both sides of the Potomac when the first campaign of the armies near Richmond resulted in the battle of Manassas, which was fought on July 21, 1861. The result of this, the first great battle of the war, was that after desperate fighting on both sides, the Federal troops became panic-stricken, and fell back, badly demoralized, to Centreville.

The Confederate editors, learned especially in all matters pertaining to war, aroused a storm of indignation through the land by their comments on the fact that Beauregard's army had not pursued the routed foe into Washington; and fierce was their denunciation of the administration and the commanding generals because the advantage gained after fierce fighting during all that hot summer day had not been followed up. It was in vain that Beauregard, Johnston and President Davis explained, in orders and reports, that fatigue and the lack of adequate equipment prevented the Confederate troops from pursuing the foe. Only at this late date, thirty-nine years after the battle of Manassas was fought, is it made known that, but for the brave and patriotic action of a modest captain in the ordnance department of the Confederacy, the battle could not have been fought, and the southern army would have been forced after a few hours resistance to retreat on Richmond. This gentleman, now living in Harlem, an honored member of the Confederate camp of New York, is Captain Louis Zimmner. The venerable soldier tells the story in plain, unvarnished style, and displays the most authentic coroborative evidence of the deed from the highest military authority of the Confederacy, commissioned by Governor Letcher, of Virginia, for secret service duty, and with letters of highest commendation from Governor Letcher and General Francis H. Smith (the latter superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute), he reported to General Robert E. Lee, who in turn, assigned him to duty with Commodore Maury. The latter immediately ordered him to go into the enemy's country and bring out percussion caps, because at that time the supply was limited to but four rounds for each man then mustered into service. This is the old soldier's narrative:

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John Letcher (2)
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