previous next

[25] held my ground until all our troops had fallen back, and my flank was turned by a large force of horse and foot. I then retired a short distance in good order, and facing to the enemy on the crest of a hill, held his cavalry in check, which still threatened our flank.

At this stage of the action, my command was the only opposing force to the enemy, and the last to leave the field.

By taking advantage of woods and broken ground, I brought it off without loss, although the guns of our opponents were playing on our line of march from every height. While thus retiring, I received an order from our brigade-commander to cover the retreat of that portion of the army near me, which I did as well as I was able, remaining in rear until all of it had passed me. After crossing “Bull Run,” my command was threatened by a large force of cavalry — but its order and the regularity of its march forbade any attack. We reached our camp beyond Centreville at 8 P. M. It is but proper to mention that our officers and men were on their feet from 10 P. M., on the 20th, until 10 A. M., on the 22d--without rest, many without food, footsore, and greatly exhausted — they yet bore the retreat cheerfully, and set an example of constancy and discipline worthy of older and more experienced soldiers. My officers, nearly all of them just from civil life and the Military Academy, were eager and zealous, and to their efforts are due the soldierly retreat and safety of the battalion — as well as of many straggling volunteers who accompanied my command.

The acting Major, Capt. N. H. Davis, 2d infantry, rendered essential service by his coolness, zeal, and activity. Capt. Dodge, 8th infantry, commanding the skirmishers on the left, was equally efficient, and to those gentlemen, and all my officers, I am indebted for cordial cooperation in all the movements of the day. Lieut. Kent, although wounded, endeavored to retain command of his company, but a second wound forced him to give it up. He and Lieut. Dickinson, acting adjutant, wounded and Dr. Sternberg, U. S. A., (since escaped,) are believed to be in the hands of the enemy. I beg to call the attention of the brigade-commander to the services of Sergeant Major Devoe of the 3d infantry, who was conspicuous for his good conduct on the field.

The arms and equipments of my command are in good condition, but the men are destitute of blankets, and in want of necessary clothing.

Geo. Sykes, Major 14th Infantry. Capt. Averill.

Third Division. Colonel Heintzelman's report.

Headquarters Third Division, Department N. E. Va. Washington, July 31, 1861.
To Capt. Jas. B. Fry, Assistant Adjutant-General:
sir: In obedience to instructions received on the 20th inst., the division under my command was under arms, in light marching order, with two days cooked rations in their haversacks, and commenced the march at half-past 2 A. M. on the 21st., the brigade of Colonel Franklin leading, followed by those of Colonels Wilcox and Howard. At Centreville we found the road filled with troops, and were detained three hours to allow the divisions of General Tyler and Colonel Hunter to pass. I followed with my division immediately in the rear of the latter. Between two and three miles beyond Centreville we left the Warrenton turnpike, turning into a country road on the right. Captain Wright accompanied the head of Colonel Hunter's column, with directions to stop at a road which turned in to the left to a ford across Bull Run, about half way between the point where we turned off from the turnpike and Sudley's Springs, at which latter point Colonel Hunter's division was to cross. No such road was found to exist, and about eleven A. M. we found ourselves at Sudley's Springs, about ten miles from Centreville, with one brigade of Colonel Hunter's division still on our side of the Run. Before reaching this point the battle had commenced. We could see the smoke rising on our left from two points, a mile or more apart. Two clouds of dust were seen, showing the advance of troops from the direction of Manassas. At Sudley's Springs, whilst waiting the passage of the troops of the division in our front, I ordered forward the first brigade to fill their canteens. Before this was accomplished the leading regiments of Colonel Hunter's division became engaged. General McDowell, who, accompanied by his staff, had passed us a short time before, sent back Captain Wright of the engineers and Major McDowell, one of his aids, with orders to send forward two regiments to prevent the enemy from outflanking them. Captain Wright led forward the Minnesota regiment to the left of the road, which crossed the run at this point. Major McDowell led the Eleventh Massachusetts up the road. I accompanied this regiment, leaving orders for the remainder of the division to follow, with the exception of Arnold's battery, which, supported by the First Michigan, was posted a little below the crossing of the run as a reserve. At a little more than a mile from the ford we came upon the battle-field. Rickett's battery was posted on a hill to the right of Hunter's division and to the right of the road. After firing some twenty minutes at a battery of the enemy, placed just beyond the crest of a hill, on their entrance left, the distance being considered too great, it was moved forward to within about 1,000 feet of the enemy's battery. Here the battery was exposed to a heavy fire of musketry, which soon disabled it. Franklin's brigade was posted on the right of a wood, near the centre of our line, and on ground rising towards the enemy's position. In the meantime, I sent orders for the Zouaves to move forward to support Rickett's battery on its right. As soon as

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 Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Centreville (Virginia, United States) (4)
Bull Run, Va. (Virginia, United States) (2)
Washington (United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
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.
20th (2)
July 31st, 1861 AD (1)
21st (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: