The following officers were sworn in: William H. Payne, Captain; Robert Randolph, A. D. Payne, Charles H. Gordon, James H. Childs, Robert Mitchell, and Richard Lewis, Lieutenants; Willington Millon, Madison C. Tyler, George H. Shumate, and N. A. Clopton, Corporals; William Johnson, Bugler; William E. Gaskins, Quartermaster; Rev. A. D. Pollock, Chaplain. The company then numbered ninety-six men. Its fine appearance soon attracted the attention of the great cavalry leaders under Lee, and it was appointed to serve as a body guard to General Joseph E. Johnston. It was subsequently incorporated into the regular cavalry service, and permission was given to recruit as a battalion. At the battle of Bull Run the Black Horse won its first spurs. Sir William Russell, who represented the London Times as war correspondent, wrote such a graphic and amusing account of the terror which the black horses of the Virginians inspired, that he afterward became known in both armies by the sobriquet of ‘Bull Run Russell.’ In the crowd of northern civilians who went from Washington to view the first great battle on Virginia soil was ‘a lady with an opera-glass,’ writes Russell.
When an unusually heavy discharge raised the current of her blood, she exclaimed: This is splendid! Oh, my! Is not that first-rate? I guess we will be in Richmond this time to-morrow.Continuing, the English chronicler says:
The politicians who had come out to see the triumph of the Union arms, exclaimed:We have them whipped at all points. We have taken all their batteries. They are retreating as fast as they can, and we are after them.The Congressmen shook hands and cried out:Bully for us! Bravo! Didn't I tell you so?Later in the day, however, these sanguine claims were changed to tones of dismay. The “Black horses” had made their appearance and created such consternation among McDowell's men that they were magnified into thousands. Another glimpse of the black horsemen was followed by shouts from the terrified Federals, “Cavalry! Cavalry!” Then some one raised their fears by remarking, “There will be cavalry after them soon enough; 20,000 of the best horsemen in the world in old Virginia.” The ensuing pandemonium has few parallels in warfare, and