previous next

Doc. 97.-the advance into Virginia. July 16, 1861.

General McDowell's army.

the subjoined General Order gives the organization of the Staff and of the several divisions of the army under Brigadier-General McDowell, now advancing into Virginia from the lines opposite Washington.

General orders no. 13.

Headquarters, Department N. E. Virginia, Washington, July 8, 1861.
Until otherwise ordered, the following will be the organization of the troops in this Department:

staff of the Department Commander.

Adjutant--General's Department.--Captain James B. Fry, Assistant Adjutant-General.

Aides-de-Camp.--First-Lieutenant H. W. Kingsbury, 5th Artillery; Major Clarence S. Brown, N. Y. State Militia; Major James S. Wordsworth, N. Y. State Militia.

Acting Inspector-General.--Major W. H. Wood, 17th Infantry.

Engineers.--Major J. G. Barnard; First-Lieutenant F. E. Prime.

Topographical Engineers.--Captain A. W. Whipple; First-Lieutenant Henry L. Abbott; Second-Lieutenant Haldimand S. Putnam.

Quartermaster's Department.--Captain O. H. Tillinghast, Assistant Quartermaster.

Subsistence Department.--Capt. H. F. Clarke, Commissary of Subsistence.

Medical Department.--Surgeon, W. S. King; Assistant Surgeon, David L. Magruder.

First Division.

Brigadier-General Daniel Tyler, Connecticut Militia, commanding.

First Brigade.--Col. E. D. Keyes, 11th Infantry, commanding. 1st, 2d, & 3d Regiments Connecticut Volunteers; 4th Regiment Maine Volunteers; Capt. Varian's Battery of New York 8th Regiment; Company B, 2d Cavalry.

Second Brigade.--1st & 2d Regiments Ohio Volunteers; 2d Regiment New York Volunteers; Company E, 2d Artillery, (Light Battery.)

Third Brigade.--Col. Wm. T. Sherman, 13th Infantry, commanding. 69th & 79th Regiments New York Militia; 13th Regiment New York Volunteers; 2d Regiment Wisconsin Volunteers; Company E, 3d Artillery, (Light Battery.)

Fourth Brigade.--Colonel J. B. Richardson, Michigan Volunteers, commanding. 2d & 3d Regiments Michigan Volunteers; 1st Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers; 12th Regiment New York Volunteers.

Second Division.

Col. David Hunter, 3d Cavalry, commanding.

First Brigade.--Col. Andrew Porter, 16th Infantry, commanding. Battalion of Regular Infantry, (2d, 3d, & 8th Regiments;) 8th & 14th Regiments New York Militia; Squadron 2d Cavalry, Companies G & I; Company 5th Artillery, (Light Battery.)

Second Brigade.--Col. A. E. Burnside, Rhode Island Volunteers, commanding. 1st & 2d Regiments Rhode Island Volunteers; 71st Regiment New York Militia; 2d Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers; Battery of Light Artillery, 2d R. I. Regiment.

Third Division.

Colonel S. P. Heintzelman, 17th Infantry, commanding.

First Brigade.--Col. W. B. Franklin, 12th Infantry, commanding. 4th Regiment Pennsylvania Militia; 5th Regiment Massachusetts Militia; 1st Regiment Minnesota Volunteers; Company E, 2d Cavalry; Company I, 1st Artillery, (Light Battery.)

Second Brigade.--Col. O. B. Wilcox, Michigan Volunteers, commanding. 1st Regiment Michigan Volunteers; 11th Regiment New York Volunteers; Company D, 2d Artillery, (Light Battery.)

Third Brigade.--Col. O. O. Howard, Maine Volunteers, commanding. 2d, 4th, & 5th Regiments Maine Volunteers; 2d Regiment Vermont Volunteers.


Fourth Division.

Brigadier-General Theodore Runyon, New Jersey Militia, commanding. 1st, 2d, 3d, & 4th Regiments New Jersey Militia, 3 months Volunteers; 1st, 2d, & 3d Regiments New Jersey Militia, 3 years Volunteers.

Fifth Division.

Col. D. S. Miles, 2d Infantry, commanding.

First Brigade.--Col. Blenker, New York Volunteers, commanding. 8th & 29th Regiments New York Volunteers; Garibaldi Guard; 24th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers.

Second Brigade.--Colonel Davies, New York Volunteers, commanding. 16th, 18th, 31st, & 32d Regiments New York Volunteers; Company G, 2d Artillery, (Light Battery.)

By command of Brig.-Gen. McDowell.

James B. Fry, Assistant Adjutant-General.

Boston Transcript narrative.

Washington, July 18, 1861.
It was a glorious sight, and a rarely interesting privilege, to witness the moving of the advance of General McDowell's vast column of troops towards the “land oa Dixie,” on Wednesday morning; and I send you the following details, devoid of all attempts at sensation news, directly from the seat of war.

The evening of Tuesday, July 16th, 1861, [313] will long be remembered by all who were in this region on that day, as one of the finest in the whole season — warm, but clear and delightfully pleasant. During the morning, our little party secured the necessary passes to carry them across the river, and at three P. M. we reached the base of Arlington Heights, on horseback, this being voted the best mode of conveyance. We were fortunately well mounted, our animals were fresh, and we passed an hour or two moving around among the camps, where all was bustle and stir preparatory to joining the march ordered “at any moment.”

Horses were saddled, baggage was stored, rations for three or four days were got in readiness, forty rounds of ball cartridges were distributed, the evening parade was dispensed with, the sunset gun boomed forth its thunder upon the still warm air, night fell upon the scene, and the soldiers slept upon their arms, in readiness to start at the sound of the drum or bugle.

It was generally expected that the forward movement would take place during the night; but few of the regiments, however, were in motion upon the march till Wednesday A. M. During the night, our men were in most excellent spirits, and only evinced a general anxiety to get started. So general was this feeling among the troops, and so universal was the desire to get a sight at the enemy, about whom they had heard so much, as being at Fairfax in force, &c., that few slept soundly, and the majority certainly availed themselves of this luxury with one eye open, your humble servant among the latter.

At daybreak, after staying overnight each in a blanket upon the tent floor in one of the camps, we rose with the lark, (or earlier,) at the sound of the “long roll,” and in a few minutes' time everybody was out. Horses were brought up, a hasty breakfast was swallowed, a little “parading” was done, orders rang forth from tent to tent, and from regiment to regiment, and it was soon ascertained that the word had gone forth to move forthwith. At eight o'clock the column was being rapidly formed, the regiments and detachments of cavalry and artillery were forming into line, and at the signal we moved briskly forward toward Fairfax Court House, simultaneously, from Arlington, from Alexandria, and from the space between those two points — leaving behind a sufficient force to protect and to operate the fortified works at all points along the line.

The sun shone brilliantly, and the fresh morning air was highly invigorating. The troops on foot started off as joyfully as if they were bound upon a New England picnic, or a clambake; and not the slightest exhibition of fear or uneasiness, even, as to what might possibly be in store for the brave fellows, (thus really setting out upon an expedition from which, in all human probability, hundreds of them will never return!) seemed for an instant to occupy any part of their thoughts for their anticipations.

The huge column fell into line at last, along the road. From an occasional elevation which we mounted, for the sake of enjoying the grand coup d'oeil, we could see this immense body of men, in uniform dress, with stately tread and glistening arms, move steadily forward,--over twenty thousand strong at one point, and nearly two-thirds as many more at another — all marching on — on “to Fairfax.”

We pushed forward with our willing steeds, keeping pace with the extreme advance, as nearly as possible, with an eye constantly ahead and around us, of course, for “breakers,” after we had passed a given point; for it had been hinted to us that a “masked battery” might open on us at any moment, from some sheltered spot along the route, and we civilians had no particular wish to smell powder in this particular style, much less to get within range of any such demonstration; being (in the abstract) peace men, and only there as “lookers — on in Vienna.”

Brig. General Tyler's column, consisting of four brigades, under command of Colonels Keyes, Sherman, and Richardson, led the van, and on approaching Fairfax, the artillery fired a cannon, which unluckily served to notify the rebels who were in the town that somebody was coming. There were between three and four thousand Confederate troops there, and they were partially drawn up into line of battle, when the gun rattled out its unfortunate note of warning. They quickly sent forth scouts, who returned more quickly than they came, informing the commander of the rebel force that “McDowell was approaching with a hundred thousand men at his heels!” A stampede followed this information, and before ten o'clock the town of Fairfax was evacuated by the cowardly rascals, who fled, leaving behind them many tents, tools, shovels, axes, grain bags, several quarters of fresh beef, cooking utensils, &c., &c. When our advance guard entered the town, there was nobody and nothing to seize or to contend with at Fairfax Court House!

Our troops entered Fairfax--ten thousand of them — at early noon, the bands ringing out with cheerful tones the “Star-Spangled banner,” and the boys cheering lustily for the Union and the Stars and Stripes. Six or seven thousand infantry blocked up the main street, for a time; the Court House building was taken possession of by the New Hampshire Second, Col. Gil. Marston, a secession flag was hauled down and the banner of the regiment run up in its place, and then the foot soldiers opened right and left, or gave way, for the entrance of the cavalry and artillery. These dashed through the town at a gallop, and down the road out into the country beyond, in search of the fugitives. After going four miles beyond Fairfax, and finding that the legs of the rebels were evidently the longest,--for they made the “fastest time on record” in this war, certainly,--our [314] troopers returned, with the cannon, and joined the van again.

Our party consisted of Hons. Schuyler Colfax, E. B. Washburn, Messrs. Dixon of New Jersey, Judge McKeon of New York, and two or three reporters for the press. Mr. Russell of the London Times, and Mr. Raymond of the N. Y. Times, were also together, with another party. Hundreds of persons arrived in Washington on Tuesday and Wednesday, who came expressly to see the battle. The hotels were packed full of human beings — the National alone turning away over four hundred guests, whom they could not lodge, for the crowd.

A few Union people lingered behind in the village, who were greatly relieved, so they said, to see our army coming. In a few places along the road from Ball's Crossing to Fairfax, trees had been thrown down, but our hosts soon cleared the way of these impediments, and there was no further obstruction to the triumphant entree of the division of the United States army under Gen. McDowell, into the place about which so much has latterly been written and said.

Two or three random shots were fired from the woods as we approached the village, wounding an officer and two privates, but not seriously. These shots were discharged by rebels who were mounted, and who fled before they could be reached.

The so-called “fortifications” of the enemy at Fairfax are about as much like those erected by Corcoran's Irish Regiment at Arlington, and those built at Fort Ellsworth by the New York Zouaves, as a peach is like a mule's head! They are entirely fabulous, comparatively, and are of no account whatever. If such be the character of all the rebel intrenchments, they will occasion us little trouble. Guards of our troops were promptly stationed around the town, and especially about the “Court House,” of which you have heard so much. The two Rhode Island Regiments, with James's rifled cannon batteries, the New Hampshire Second, the New York Seventy-first, and Eighth, five or six companies of regulars, and two other regiments took possession of Fairfax. General Bonham of South Carolina commanded the retiring rebel force.

It was General McDowell's intention to follow the enemy up, at midnight, but the boys were so much fatigued with the sharp march of the day that it was deferred till this morning. It is ardently hoped that the rascals will make a stand at Manassas, where Beauregard is now in command, with some forty odd thousand men, it is said. But it is greatly feared they will run again. The rebels have got the idea, evidently, that the Zouaves, and the Gari-baldians, and Blenker's German Rifles, and DeKalb's sharpshooters, are so many “devils in human shape,” and they will be disinclined to withstand a charge from these troops. If Beauregard does not give us battle at Manassas, his army will be thus thoroughly demoralized, and he is beaten, past a ray of hope.

From Fairfax our brave army moves toward Manassas, and thence — we hope, without delay — to Richmond! The fever's up, and our bold troops ask only to be led, and listen earnestly for the thrilling order--“forward!” They remember that

God, and our good cause fight on our side;
Their wives will welcome home the conquerors.

There will be no yielding, no parley, no compromises now. The march is onward, and the willing hosts who have thus taken their lives in their hands for liberty, the Constitution, and the laws, will halt no more, it is believed, until the back of this unholy rebellion is effectually broken. They meet the issue manfully, cheer fully, boldly, and their watchwords now are--

God and the Right I
Richmond, and Victory!

Yours, &c.,

G. P. R.

New York Herald narratives.

Washington, July 17, 1861.
The advance of the whole corps d'armee constituting the column under the command of Brigadier-General McDowell has thus far proved a triumphant march. All that was expected or hoped to be accomplished to-day was done, and almost without the firing of a gun. The rebels have fled from their intrenchments, and Fairfax Court House, the late Headquarters of General M. S. Bonham, of South Carolina, is in our possession. The Alabama and the South Carolina brigades, and a whole body of rebels in that neighborhood — variously estimated at from ten to fifteen thousand strong — took to their heels, and failed to offer any serious opposition to the advancing Union army. The success of the movement was complete.

The order had been given for the several divisions to make the attack upon the intrenched lines of the rebels at about the same time--one o'clock P. M.--and promptly, at one o'clock P. M., all the enemy's works in the neighborhood of Fairfax Court House were in our possession. The advance was made by four different routes leading towards Fairfax Court House and directly to Centreville. The right wing, composed of the First division, four brigades, under the command of General Tyler, of Connecticut, proceeded by the Georgetown turnpike. The centre, composed of the Second division, two brigades, under Colonel Hunter, United States Army, proceeded by the Leesburg or Centreville road. The left wing was composed of the Third division, three brigades, under Colonel S. P. Heintzelman, United States Army; and the Fifth division, two brigades, under Colonel Dixon S. Miles, United States Army. The Fifth division proceeded by the old Braddock road, and the Third by the Little River turnpike. The Fourth division, under General Runyon, of New Jersey, constituted the reserve. There were in the whole column sixty-two regiments — about fifty-five thousand men — and in the marching divisions an aggregate of forty-five thousand. [315]

Upon all these roads the rebels had placed obstructions within a radius of three miles from Fairfax Court House, the Headquarters of General Bonham, of South Carolina, who is styled in the orders of the rebel Commander-in-chief, “the commandant of the advance guard of the Potomac.” There was work for the skirmishers upon all the roads, but in every instance, as soon as the head of the advancing column made its appearance the rebel force retreated hastily, and in evident confusion.

All the casualties reported at Headquarters on our side are one officer and three men slightly wounded.

General McDowell went forward at the head of the centre of the column, the Second division, under Col. Hunter, which was composed as follows:--

First Brigade, commanded by Col. Andrew Porter, United States Army; Capt. Griffin's battery United States artillery; three companies United States cavalry, under Major Palmer; a battalion of several companies of the First, Third, and Eighth United States infantry, under Major Sykes; a battalion of United States marines, under Major Reynolds; and the Eighth, Fourteenth, and Twenty-seventh Regiments of New York Volunteers.

Second Brigade, commanded by Colonel A. E. Burnside, of the Rhode Island Volunteers. The First and Second Regiments Rhode Island Volunteers, the Second Rhode Island battery of flying artillery, one section of Captain Barry's battery of United States artillery, the Second Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers, and the Seventy-first Regiment New York State Militia.

This division marched with its left brigade in front, consequently putting Colonel Burnside in advance. The movement was conducted with care and decision. The whole of the Second Rhode Island Regiment were employed as skirmishers in advance of the division. Their lines extended from half a mile to two miles on each side of the road. The First Rhode Island Regiment followed at the head of the division. After it came the Second Rhode Island battery and a section of Barry's battery. This was followed by the Second New Hampshire and the Seventy-first New York Regiments.

The First brigade brought up the rear in the following order:--Griffin's battery, Major Sykes' United States infantry, Major Reynolds' United States Marines, and the Fourteenth, Twenty-seventh, and Eighth New York Volunteers.

In this order the centre of the column left its bivouac, about six miles from Fairfax Court House, at ten o'clock this morning. The first barricade, made of trees felled and thrown across the road, delayed the head of the division only a few minutes. This was encountered about three miles from the Court House. It was cautiously examined by the skirmishers, but no sign of a rebel force was discovered. The pioneers soon cleared the road with their axes. The barricade was erected at the foot of a long hill, the top of which was covered with a dense thicket, affording an excellent covert for sharpshooters. The second barricade was of a similar character, and was cleared in a similar manner, occasioning only a few minutes' delay in the march. The third barricade was more formidable. It was at the entrance of a deep cut in the road, commencing about half way up a steep hill, crowned on one side with a thick wood, and on the other by an open field. To pass this a road was made through the field, enabling the army to pass around it.

At this point there were stationed two hundred rebel cavalry, who, without waiting to ascertain the strength of the advancing force, fled upon the first appearance of our skirmishers, firing at them one rifle shot, which did no harm.

Up to this point, about one mile from the Court House, the people living upon the roadside were at home quietly pursuing their usual avocations. The first house beyond this third barricade belonged to a man named Goodwin, who had hastily left the premises when the rebel cavalry retreated.

It was here ascertained that the division had reached a neighborhood thickly populated with the most rabid rebels in the county, prominent among whom is one Esquire Broadwater, a county magistrate; and also that about half a mile ahead the rebels had a fortification erected, and a battery planted, which was defended by a force of two thousand men, and that the rebel force in and around Fairfax Court House, guarding the different approaches, amounted to from ten to fifteen thousand men. The fortification was encountered about half a mile from the Court House. It consisted of a simple intrenchment, extending for about four hundred yards on each side of the road. It was pierced for eight guns. The embrasures were formed of sand bags, and so placed as to command the road. The fortification was at the top of a steep hill, at the foot of which meandered a small muddy creek. The trees upon the hillside for a distance of an eighth of a mile had been cut down, so as to allow no cover from the guns of the fort. This fortification had been occupied for about three weeks by the Second and Third South Carolina Regiments, under Gen. M. L. Bonham, the successor in Congress of the notorious Brooks, and the commandant of the advance guard of the Potomac. In approaching this point our skirmishers had a brush with those of the rebels, in which a corporal of the Second Rhode Island Regiment received a flesh wound in the thigh, and a rebel officer was captured by Capt. Dyer.

The advance of Burnside's brigade reached the fortification in time to make one prisoner, a South Carolina officer, who surrendered to Major Mission, paymaster of the Second Rhode Island Regiment. The inside of the fortification presented abundant evidences of the haste with which it had been abandoned by its late [316] occupants. Sacks of flour, meat, clothing, arms, equipments, and camp utensils were everywhere scattered over the ground, and the camp fires, probably prepared for the noon meal, were still brightly burning. The main body of this force had left with haste only about two hours before the arrival of the head of our column. The fortification itself was rudely constructed. It bears no comparison to the splendid works, scientifically planned and erected by the Union volunteers on the banks of the Potomac. It could have been easily taken by a flank movement, for which there was abundant opportunity, without exposing the assailants to the fire of the guns in position behind the intrenchments.

As the head of the division was approaching the intrenchment, sharp firing was heard on the left, which was afterwards ascertained to have been occasioned by a skirmish between the advance of Col. Miles' division and the Alabamians, who were in position there about two miles from the Court House.

The intrenchment encountered by Colonel Hunter's division was erected upon the farm of Mr. Seegur, an emigrant to Virginia from New York. When it was first discovered a halt was called, and the advance brigade, under Colonel Burnside, was formed in close column and ordered to load. This was done with alacrity, and the men, when ordered forward, pressed on eagerly, singing “Dixie” and “The Star Spangled banner.” It was cheering to observe the enthusiasm exhibited by these volunteers, and quite amusing to hear their remarks, such as, “We are going to open a mail route from Washington to Richmond;” “We have come to Virginia to find a place to settle;” “We mean to bag Beauregard and Jeff Davis;” “We are the pacificators;” “They won't wait for us,” &c.

From the inside of this fortification the village of Fairfax Court House was plainly in sight; thither the command proceeded. At the outskirts of the village a small American flag, used as a guide mark by the Fourteenth New York Regiment, had been planted. It was saluted with cheers by the passing regiments. The rebel flag was still flying at the Court House when the advance of the division, with the band of the First Rhode Island Regiment playing national airs, entered the village. It was taken down by some of the men of the Second Rhode Island Regiment, and handed to Governor Sprague, who was with the brigade. It was transmitted by him to General McDowell as a legitimate trophy.

Soon afterwards Colonel Marston, at the suggestion of one of the correspondents of the Herald, sent a detail of the Second New Hampshire Regiment, with their regimental flag, to give its folds to the breeze from the belfry of the Court House. Your correspondent aided in this demonstration, and the Court House bell, and all the tavern bells in the village rung forth a merry peal, and the thousands of Union soldiers already collected shouted a glad greeting as the glorious old Stars and Stripes waved gracefully over the spot rendered infamously familiar as the Headquarters of a band of traitors.

It was evident that the rebel force recently stationed in this neighborhood had been completely stampeded, and that those who sympathized with them had run away at the same time for fear of the consequences of their treason. The proofs of the haste with which they had decamped were everywhere visible. Many stores and dwellings were tenantless. The few inhabitants who remained had a frightened appearance.

The advancing column was accompanied by a number of Union men, who had recently, with their families, been driven by the rebels from their homes in this vicinity, and despoiled of their property. These men, burning with a desire to avenge their wrongs, incited the soldiery to various acts of outrage upon the property of rebels, which they pointed out. In this way a number of stores and dwellings that had been deserted by their occupants, were ransacked and pillaged; but not a single occupied house was entered without leave, or in any way despoiled. Guards were placed wherever requested by the citizens, and stringent measures were taken by the commanding officers to prevent depredations. Eight men of different regiments were arrested by the Provost Marshal for pillaging, and were sent back under guard to Alexandria.

At Germantown, and also in the vicinity of Fairfax Court House, several houses were set on fire and burned to the ground.

One of the houses belonged to a man named Ashley, said to be a Union man, driven from that neighborhood by the rebels soon after the fatal sortie into the village by Lieut. Tompkins. It was not ascertained whether these buildings had been set on fire by the soldiers wantonly, or by the Union men who desired to avenge their injuries, or by rebels who took this means to cast a stigma upon the Union forces; but General McDowell declared that the first soldier proved to have set fire to any building should be summarily shot. It is natural that men who have been driven from their homes by a vandal horde of traitors should be infuriated with a desire for vengeance, but such outrages as these should be prevented by our commanding officers for the honor of the Government and the people they represent.

In the village of Fairfax Court House a large amount of tents, muskets, equipments, flour, bacon, and hospital stores belonging to the rebel army was captured.

Immediately upon the arrival of the central division at this point, General McDowell sent word to the divisions of Colonels Miles and Heintzelman, composing the left wing, to halt, and himself and staff, escorted by a squadron of United States dragoons, proceeded to Germantown, where the division of General Tyler was halted. It was the purpose and desire of [317] General McDowell to push forward without delay to Centreville in pursuit of the retreating rebels, and the men, who were disappointed at having come so far to thrash their enemies without finding any, were eager to go on, but they were really exhausted by a long hot march over a dusty road, under a broiling sun, and prudence dictated that they should be allowed to rest, at least until evening. It is probable that they will go on either to-night or early in the morning, and continue this foot race towards Richmond a day's march further.

Among the articles found and taken possession of at Fairfax was an unopened letter bag, well filled. It is not yet known whether it contained letters and correspondence to or from Fairfax. Its contents, when examined, will probably open a fresh mine of treasonable correspondence. There were also found a large number of army orders, company and regimental rolls and reports, showing the strength of the force stationed at that point. There are some curiosities among these prizes, and their being left behind is a strong evidence of the hurry in which the rebels abandoned the place.

Your correspondent returned to the city this evening, bringing with him the brief official report of General McDowell to General Scott.

No detailed report has been received from the left wing of the advancing column, but General McDowell's report includes all the casualties that have occurred in his whole command, and a general report has been received that nothing occurred in that branch of the column beyond the usual incidents of an advance upon a retreating enemy.

It was stated at Fairfax Court House that the Alabamians, in considerable numbers, were intrenched upon the route of the divisions of Colonels Mills and Heintzelman.

Early this morning the livery stables were besieged with applications for saddle horses and teams, by parties who desired to go into Virginia and witness the movement of the grand army, and if possible see a battle. Very few were gratified, as almost every thing in the shape of horse flesh worth having was previously engaged. A large number of civilians found their way along the almost blockaded road to the head of the centre advancing column, and kept with it until it halted within the breastworks vacated only an hour or two before by the rebels.

Operations of the right wing.

Vienna, Va., July 16, 1861.
The long-expected order to move forward was telegraphed from Gen. McDowell's headquarters, at Arlington Heights, to all the division and brigade commanders of the grand army at two o'clock yesterday afternoon, and was communicated to the different corps during the brigade parades held in the course of the evening. The order was received by all the troops with the most enthusiastic demonstrations of satisfaction. The regimental commanders were instructed to hold their commands ready to move at 2 P. M., provided with cooked rations for three days. Accordingly the greatest activity prevailed this morning throughout the encampments, from the northernmost post, near the Chain Bridge, to the southernmost, near Alexandria. Tents were taken down and tied up, wagons loaded, arms put in order, ammunition dealt out, rations cooked, &c., &c.

At noon everything was in readiness, and precisely at two o'clock the fifty thousand men, composing the grand army about entering upon the great work of sweeping secession out of the Old Dominion, were moving from their different positions towards their respective destinations.

In accordance with my instructions, to follow the movements of the First division, under the command of Brigadier-General Tyler, of the Connecticut Brigade, I left General McDowell's Headquarters, at Arlington House, at the hour of march, for Fall's Church, for the last three weeks the Headquarters of General Tyler. Striking the road from Georgetown to Fairfax Court House near Fort Corcoran, I found it literally covered for a distance of over three miles with moving masses of infantry, cavalry and artillery, composing the four brigades of the First division.

Passing Fall's Church, I soon came up with General Tyler and his staff, directly behind the advance guard. The three first brigades followed the Alexandria and Leesburg turnpike to a point two miles this side of Fall's Church, and then turned off to the left for this point — the fourth, under the command of Colonel Richardson, took a more direct route from their position near the Chain Bridge. The march was necessarily slow, the road being narrow and extremely broken, and the nearness of the enemy making it incumbent upon the advance guard to feel their way slowly and cautiously. As the twelve thousand men composing the three first brigades moved solidly and measur-edly on, they presented a most magnificent spectacle, when gazed upon from one of the many elevations overlooking the road. The seemingly endless forest of glittering bayonets, undulating with the ascents and descents of the road; the dark mass of humanity rolling on slowly but irresistibly, like a black stream forcing its way through a narrow channel; the waving banners, the inspiring strains of the numerous bands, the shouts and songs of the men, formed a most inspiring and animated scene, which was contemplated with both amazement and terror by the unprepared country people along the road.

Some of these rustics manifested signs of gratification as the troops passed their several habitations. Others looked upon them with hostile sullenness, while again some made off for the woods as soon as they caught sight of the head of the army.

When Colonel Keyes, riding at the head of [318] the First brigade, came up to a point at the foot of a steep hill, some two and a half miles this side of Fall's Church, one of his aids, who had been reconnoitring in advance, dashed up to him and reported having seen two hundred of the enemy's cavalry a short distance ahead, to the right of the road. A halt was at once made, and six companies of the First and an equal number of the Second Connecticut Regiments deployed as skirmishers to the right and left of the road. Thus protected against surprise, the army again moved on, and after a march of two hours reached this point just before sunset, without coming in sight of the enemy.

Arrived here, the different regiments of the two first brigades were at once marched into the adjoining fields, stacked their arms, partook of their cold supper, and then prepared for their night's rest. At about eight o'clock Col. Sherman's and Col. Richardson's brigades came in, and at this hour of writing--nine P. M.--the whole division is encamped about the town, and strong pickets are stationed on all the roads leading towards the enemy, and the batteries accompanying the division are stationed so as to command all the approaches. The nearest picket of the enemy, one hundred strong, is only a mile from town, on the road to Fairfax Court House.

Lieut. Tompkins, of the cavalry company, went out reconnoitring this evening, and discovered obstructions on the road a short distance from town. The half demolished train of platform cars that carried the Ohio troops on their unfortunate reconnoissance of this point, some weeks since, is still standing where it was fired upon from the masked battery.

Leonard B. Perkins, a well-known Union man of Fairfax County, acts as guide to the division.

General Tyler's staff will spend the night at the house of Mr. J. B. Bowman, another enthusiastic Union man, who made himself so obnoxious to the rebels by transporting the dead and wounded Ohio men into Alexandria free of charge.

The wife of Colonel Richardson, commanding the Fourth brigade, is the only lady with the expedition.

Great relief is felt by all the Union men in this vicinity in consequence of the appearance of the Union troops, as rebel squads had for the last two days scoured the country for the purpose of forcibly impressing all male inhabitants into service.

The division is ordered to resume its march at five o'clock to-morrow morning. Its destination is Germantown, a village one mile west of Fairfax Court House. Gen. Tyler's orders are to take such a position as to cut off all communication between Fairfax Court House and Manassas Junction.

I am now permitted to state, what has been known to me for several days, namely, that General Tyler's First, and Colonel Hunter's Second, Colonel Heintzelman's Third, and Colonel Miles' Fifth division, representing a force of over forty thousand men, will all move over different routes towards Fairfax Court House, and occupy such positions as to leave the rebels no other alternative than retreat or surrender. A similar plan of operations will be followed in regard to the rebel forces at the Junction.

July 17--5 A. M.
To-day's march of the First division will be slow, as many obstructions will have to be removed from the road. It is almost certain that the troops will have to fight a portion of their way.

The entire division is now forming. All the men are still full of metal, in spite of the uncomfortable night they spent in the moist fields, and show their gladness at the immediate prospect of an encounter with the rebels by continued cheering. The Ohio regiments seem particularly anxious to square up their Vienna account.

--N. Y. Herald, July 18.

Germantown, July 17--1 P. M.
The second day's movements of the First division of the grand army, under General Tyler, from Vienna to this point, although more obstructed than yesterday's, have been entirely successful up to the time of writing. The column commenced moving at half-past 5 o'clock this morning, in the order observed yesterday, with a variation in the Third brigade, which was to-day headed by the gallant New York Sixty-ninth. The road, immediately after emerging from Vienna, enters heavy timber. About a mile from the village a heavy obstruction, consisting of about fifty large trees, was discovered in the road. Captain Alexander, of the Engineer corps, immediately put his pioneers to work with their axes, and in less than twenty minutes the whole of the barricade was cleared away and the column moved onward.

Having reached the edge of the timber, two companies of each of the Connecticut regiments were again deployed as skirmishers on the right and left of the column, under command of Colonel Spiedel. Captain Hawley's company of the First Regiment had been in motion but a few minutes when it came up with three mounted rebels, who allowed themselves to be captured without resistance. At about the same time some stragglers of the Sixty-ninth, while upon an excursion to an adjoining farm-house, during a halt, surprised a fourth mounted rebel. The prisoners were brought before General Tyler, to whom they gave free information as to the position of the enemy. According to their statements, a strong force was intrenched about two miles ahead of the column, in front of Fairfax Court House.

The division marched a short distance further on, when a reconnoissance by Colonel Keyes, commanding the First brigade, resulted in the discovery of two evidently mounted earthworks, protected by bodies of infantry and cavalry, to the left of the road, at the distance [319] stated by the prisoners. Colonel Keyes immediately pushed on the advance brigade along the road, with a view to getting in the rear of the enemy, while General Tyler ordered General Schenck's brigade to form in battle array in the fields, to the left of the road. The Third and Fourth brigades, under Colonel Sherman and Colonel Richardson, formed on the road. But the rebels abandoned their position as soon as General Schenck's column commenced moving on through the fields and the other brigades up the road.

With a spyglass the roads leading to Fairfax Court House could be seen covered with retreating rebels. The head of the First brigade came within a few hundred yards of a body of them, and Colonel Keyes ordered a section of Captain Varian's battery to throw a few shells among them, which was done with remarkable promptness. The enemy ran as soon as the first shot was fired.

Hent's Hill, some two and a half miles west of Vienna, being reached, and the enemy being evidently still retreating, General Schenck's brigade again fell into line and the column continued its march in the order of the morning. A thick piece of woods was entered, in an opening of which tangible evidence of the hurry in which the rebels had retreated was found, in the shape of a large number of blankets, pistols, guns, canteens, &c., &c., that had been indiscriminately thrown away, and were immediately appropriated by our soldiers. A short distance from the abandoned rebel camp two more abatis were discovered in the road, and removed by the pioneers in a few minutes.

The column was about pushing on, when scouts came rushing in and reported a battery of several pieces less than half a mile ahead. Colonel Keyes immediately started an aid to General Tyler, requesting him to send some rifled pieces to his assistance. About half an hour elapsed, when Captain Ayres' battery of eight pieces came thundering along the road. Meantime other scouts had come in and reported that the rebels had precipitately abandoned the battery, and were retreating in hot haste with their pieces. So it turned out. But Colonel Keyes, nevertheless, ordered the skirmishers to push slowly on, and Captain Ayres' rifled pieces to throw some shells in the enemy's work. Three shells were in a few minutes afterwards lodged in the breastwork. But the enemy had disappeared, and the intrenchments were quietly entered and taken possession of by the skirmishers. The position was a very strong one, and could have been easily defended. A large quantity of shovels, picks, bags of oats, buckets, &c., was found in the work, and camp fires were still burning in the rear of it.

Half a mile further on, Germantown, a hamlet of half a dozen houses, was reached and found almost deserted. The only white person left stated that twenty-five hundred rebels, including Colonel Cash's South Carolina Regiment, had occupied the breastworks, and retreated only about fifteen minutes before the Union skirmishers appeared in sight of the town.

A short halt is now being made for dinner by the First division, in the woods adjoining Germantown. The division will move on this afternoon to the vicinity of Centreville, where the enemy is said to be in strong force.

half-past 1, P. M.
General McDowell and staff have just arrived, at the head of four companies of cavalry. He reports Fairfax Court House evacuated, and occupied by Colonel Hunter's division; Colonels Heintzelman and Miles's divisions are a short distance south of the Court House. All four divisions will move on towards the Junction tomorrow.

The skulking of the enemy greatly disappointed our men. If he stands at all, Manassas Junction will, doubtlessly, be the scene of a decisive battle.

--N. Y. Herald, July 18.

New York times narrative.

Fairfax Court Chouse, Va., Wednesday night, July 17, 1861.
The General decided not to move forward any further to-night, mainly because the troops had been so fatigued by their day's march as to render any further movement unadvisable. They are encamped accordingly in this vicinity, a large portion of the central column being in the village and its immediate neighborhood, though Col. Tyler's Division holds position about half way between Germantown and Centreville. Col. Heintzelman had not been heard from at three o'clock, and Gen. McDowell took an escort and proceeded to the point designated for him to occupy. I have not seen him since his return, but believe he found all right.

Every thing we see here shows that the rebels left the place in the greatest imaginable haste. Judging from the camps in the vicinity, as well as from the statements of the inhabitants, there must have been from 5,000 to 8,000 rebel troops here this morning. It is said that Gen. Beauregard was here in person last night, and left word for the troops, who were commanded by Col. Bonham, to retire if attacked by a superior force. They are said to have commenced the retreat at about nine o'clock, when our troops were about five miles off. Why they should have gone in such extreme haste, it is not easy to see. The entrenchments thrown up a mile in advance of the town were so hastily abandoned, that provisions of every kind, rice, bacon, flour, etc., with blankets and clothing of the officers, were left behind. It was not very apparent that any guns had ever been mounted here, though the engineers thought that some eight guns had been placed in position. I saw no evidence of this, except the marks of what might have been artillery wheels, though they seemed to me quite as likely to have been the wheels of wagons used to bring the sand bags with which the embrasures were lined. If any [320] were there, they were moved off with great rapidity.

But the strongest evidence of haste was found in the abandoned camps. In that of the Palmetto Guards, lying nearest the side of the village at which our troops entered, almost every thing remained untouched. The uniforms of the officers, plates, cans, dishes, and camp equipage of every kind, an immense quantity of excellent bacon, blankets, overcoats, etc., etc., were left behind, and the tables of the officers, spread for breakfast, remained untouched. In the vest pocket of one of the officers was found a gold watch; in another was a roll of ten cent pieces, amounting to ten dollars; letters, papers, books and every thing collected in a camp which had been occupied for some days, were abandoned without the slightest attempt to take them away. In another camp in a field at the extremity of the town, occupied by another South Carolina regiment, the same evidences of extreme haste were visible. Unopened bales of blankets were found; scarcely any of the utensils of the camp had been removed, and bags of flour and flitches of bacon were scattered over the ground.

One discovery was made of some significance. Gen. McDowell has had the Topographical Engineers under his charge employed for some weeks in preparing a very minute and accurate map of this portion of the State. It had been brought to a very high state of perfection, and was particularly valuable from the fact that no good maps of this county have ever before been made. A few photographic copies of this map were made a few days since for the use of the War Department, and of the officers engaged in the movement. One of these maps was found in the camp of the Palmetto Guards. Of course it could only have come there by the treachery of some person holding responsible position in our Government.

The discovery of these abandoned camps afforded a splendid opportunity for our troops to replenish their slender stock of camp furniture. They rushed to the plunder with a degree of enthusiasm which I only hope will be equalled when they come to fight. Men were seen crossing the fields in every direction loaded with booty of every description — some with tents, some with blankets, overcoats, tin pans, gridirons — every thing which the most fastidious soldier could desire. I am sorry to say that they did not limit their predatory exploits to these camps, which might, perhaps, be considered fair objects of plunder. The appetite once excited became ungovernable, and from camps they proceeded to houses, and from plunder to wanton destruction. Five or six houses were set on fire, others were completely sacked — the furniture stolen, the windows smashed, and books and papers scattered to the winds. Presently in came soldiers bringing chickens, turkeys, pigs, etc., swung upon their bayonets, proud of their exploits, and exultant over the luxurious and unwonted feast in immediate prospect. These depredations were far too numerous for the credit of our troops, and I was glad to see, as I passed the General's headquarters, half a dozen of the offenders under arrest and in a fair way of receiving the punishment which they deserve.

This matter of plunder, however, it is humiliating to confess, is more or less inseparable from war. It is not possible when 30,000 or 40,000 men are marching through an enemy's country, to prevent them from supplying their necessities and gratifying their lawless propensities by depredations upon the foe. The English understand this, and, as a matter of necessity, permit it. A good deal of this, in the case of our troops, is due to the spirit of frolic, which characterizes their progress thus far in this war. They act as if the whole expedition were a gigantic picnic excursion. After we were fairly in town to-day, two of the troops dressed themselves in women's clothes and promenaded the town amid the shouts and not over-delicate attentions of the surrounding troops. Others paraded the streets under the shade of the tattered umbrellas which they had found in camp; and one, donning a gown and broad bands, marched solemnly down the principal street, with an open book before him, reading the funeral-service of “that secession scoundrel, Jeff. Davis.” All these humors of the camp help to pass the time, and are pursued with just as much reckless abandon now that they are on the eve of a battle which may send half of them into eternity, as if they were simply on a holiday excursion. Perhaps it is well that they do not take the matter any more seriously to heart, for it is one which will scarcely bear very serious reflection.

The men are in capital spirits, and are quite ready for the approaching crisis. The best attainable information leads us to believe that the enemy is quite as strong as we are at Manassas, and that they have the advantage of intrenchments, constructed carefully and at leisure, under the immediate supervision of Gen. Beauregard, and the additional advantage of rapid railroad communication with Richmond and their base of operations. It is said here that Gen. B. informed the troops here last night that, whether they contested the possession of this place or not, the question of an independent Southern Confederacy would be decided at Manassas, and that he made each man of them take an oath to fight to the last man. If we had not heard a good deal of this before, and seen these oaths followed by swift retreats, we might attach more importance to them. According to present appearances, however, I am inclined to think that the rebels will dispute Manassas with whatever of force and vigor they possess; and it is not impossible that Gen. McDowell may deem it advisable to await reenforcements, if, after reconnoitring it, he finds the place as formidable as he anticipates.

The troops are bivouacked to-night in the fields and under the open sky. The General [321] and staff, like the men, sleep on the ground, rolled in their blankets; and I found the General at three o'clock taking his dinner of bread and cheese, with a slice of ham, on the top of an overturned candle-box by the side of the main highway. When it comes to sleeping, I rejoice that I am a civilian, for I am much better cared for to-night than the commander of this, the largest force ever marshalled under one general on this continent. There are two hotels in this place, both evidently feeble at their best estate, and just now, after a prolonged visit of rapacious and boisterous rebels, in a state of suspended animation.

Capt. Rawlings, of the New Hampshire Regiment, with that versatility which enables a New Englander to turn from commanding armies to keeping a hotel with marvellous facility, has succeeded in infusing into the mind of the invalid widow who keeps one of them that the national troops have not come to sweep her and hers from the face of the earth. She has accordingly provided me with a bed, which, if not luxurious, is, to my untutored mind, decidedly preferable to one on the ground, even under the brilliant sky and softly superb moon of this July night.

H. J. R.

--N. Y. Times, July 20.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
July 16th, 1861 AD (3)
July 17th, 1861 AD (2)
July 18th (2)
July 17th (2)
July 18th, 1861 AD (1)
July 8th, 1861 AD (1)
July 20th (1)
July (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: