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[21] through the woods for four hours, which brought the head of our division to Bull Run and Sudley's Mills, where a halt of half an hour took place, to rest and refresh the men and horses. From the heights on this side of the run a vast column of the enemy could be plainly descried, at the distance of a mile or more on our left, moving rapidly towards our line of march in front. Some disposition of skirmishers were then directed to be made at the head of the column by the division-commander, in which Col. Slocum, of the 2d Rhode Island regiment, was observed to bear an active part. The column moved forward, however, before they were completed, and in about thirty minutes emerged from the timber, where the rattle of the musketry and occasional crash of round shot, through the leaves and branches of the trees in our vicinity, betokened the opening of battle.

The head of the brigade was immediately turned slightly to the right, in order to gain time and room for deployment on the right of the 2d brigade. Griffin's battery found its way through the timber to the fields beyond, followed promptly by the marines, while the 27th took direction more to the left, and the 14th followed upon the trail of the battery — all moving up at a double-quick step.

The enemy appeared drawn up in a long line, extending along the Warrenton turnpike, from a house and haystack upon our extreme right to a house beyond the left of the division. Behind that house there was a heavy masked battery, which, with three others along his line on the heights beyond, covered the ground upon which we were advancing with all sorts of projectiles. A grove in front of his right wing afforded it shelter and protection, while the shrubbery along the road in the fences screened somewhat his left wing.

Griffin advanced to within 1,000 yards, and opened a deadly and unerring fire upon his batteries, which were soon silenced or driven away.

Our right was rapidly developed by the marines, 27th, 14th, and 8th, with the cavalry in rear of the right; the enemy retreating in more precipitation than order as our line advanced. The 2d brigade (Burnside's) was at this time attacking the enemy's right with perhaps too hasty vigor.

The enemy clung to the protecting wood with great tenacity, and the Rhode Island battery became so much endangered as to impel the commander of the 2d brigade to call for the assistance of the battalion. of regulars. At this time I received the information through Capt. W. D. Whipple, A. A. G., that Col. Hunter was seriously wounded, and had directed him to report to me as commander of the division, and in reply to the urgent request of Col. Burnside, I detached the battalion of regulars to his assistance.

For an account of its operations, I would respectfully beg a reference to the enclosed report of its commander, Major Sykes. The rebels soon came flying from the woods towards the right, and the 27th completed their rout by charging directly upon their centre in the face of a scorching fire, while the 14th and 8th moved down the turnpike to cut off the retiring foe and to support the 27th, which had lost its gallant colonel, but was standing the brunt of the action, with its ranks thinning in the dreadful fire. Now the resistance of the enemy's left was so obstinate that the beaten right retired in safety.

The head of Heintzelman's column at this moment appeared upon the field, and the 11th and 5th Massachusetts regiments moved forward to the support of our centre, while staff officers could be seen galloping rapidly in every direction, endeavoring to rally the broken 8th, but this laudable purpose was only partially attained, owing to the inefficiency of some of its field officers.

The 14th, though it had broken, was soon rallied in rear of Griffin's battery, which soon took up a position further to the front and right, from which his fire was delivered with such precision and rapidity as to compel the batteries of the enemy to retire in consternation far behind the brow of the hill in front.

At this time my brigade occupied a line considerably in advance of that first occupied by the left wing of the enemy. The battery was pouring its withering fire into the batteries and columns of the enemy wherever they exposed themselves. The cavalry were engaged in feeling the left flank of the enemy's position, in doing which some important captures were made, one by Sergeant Socks of the 2d dragoons of a General George Stewart of Baltimore. Our cavalry also emptied the saddles of a number of the mounted rebels.

Gen. Tyler's division was engaged with the enemy's right. The 27th was resting on the edge of the woods in the centre, covered by a hill upon which lay the 11th and 5th Massachusetts, occasionally delivering a scattering fire. The 14th was moving to the right flank, the 8th had lost its organization; the marines were moving up in fine style in rear of the 14th, and Capt. Arnold was occupying a height in the middle ground with his battery. At this juncture there was a temporary lull in the firing from the rebels, who appeared only occasionally on the heights in irregular formations, but to serve as marks for Griffin's guns. The prestige of success had thus far attended the efforts of our inexperienced but gallant troops. The lines of the enemy had been forcibly shifted, nearly a mile to their left and rear. The flags of eight regiments, though borne somewhat wearily, now pointed towards the hill from which disordered masses of rebels had been seen hastily retiring. Griffin's and Rickett's batteries were ordered by the commanding-general to the top of the hill on the right, supporting with the “Fire Zouaves” and marines, while the 14th entered the skirt of wood on their right to protect

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Charles Griffin (5)
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