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[299] preserved their organization amid the disorder. Meanwhile, the right wing of the Federals had sustained with some advantage a brisk contest, but was finally obliged to follow the movement in retreat of the left, at the risk of remaining isolated. It fell back upon the ford of Bull Run, situated between Sudeley Springs and the stone bridge, which had been discovered the preceding year by Sherman. It was now six o'clock in the evening.

In checking the offensive movement of Longstreet, the gallant defenders of the Henry House had saved the Federal army from a terrible disaster. They held their ground until night came to spread her dark mantle over Pope's retreat. While Banks was bringing back the greatest portion of the baggage of the army from Bristow to Union Mills, the troops took advantage of the darkness to cross Bull Run; at daybreak they were entirely massed in the vicinity of Centreville, where they at last met Franklin with about eight thousand soldiers.

It was a night full of trials for this army. Its losses in killed, wounded, prisoners and war materials, either captured or destroyed, were very large; eighteen pieces of artillery and six thousand muskets were in the hands of the enemy. But worse than all, the army was discouraged, and it may be said disorganized. Nearly one-half of its effective force was missing at roll-call, while those who remained in the ranks, exhausted by marches and combats, had not even that stimulant which sustains the courage of soldiers to the very last breath—confidence in their leaders. The fatal effects of the strategic combinations devised in Washington were not long in making themselves felt. The scattered Federal forces had succumbed before an adversary who knew how to concentrate his troops in time and never hesitated. The campaign opened by the army of Virginia, halfway between Richmond and Washington, had only lasted a fortnight. Transferred by Jackson's daring to the neighborhood of the Federal capital, it was brought to an end upon the fatal battle-field of Manassas, and the two Federal armies, consolidated either too soon or too late, always deprived of the advantage of numbers through the contradictory orders they were receiving, were about to be brought back in disorder to the very spot which most of their soldiers had left five months before to follow McClellan.

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