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[38] that it was watched by only one or two companies; and, moreover, that the run above it was almost everywhere passable for wheeled vehicles.

Midway between the stone bridge and Sudley's Springs, maps indicated another ford which was said to be good.

Notwithstanding our conviction of the practicability of these fords, no known road connected with them from any of the main roads on our side of Bull Run. We had information that a road branched from the Warrenton turnpike, a short distance beyond Cub Run, by which — opening gates and passing through private grounds — we might reach the fords. It was desirable to assure ourselves that this route was entirely practicable. In company with Capt. Woodbury (Engineers) and Gov. Sprague, and escorted by a company of cavalry, I, on the 19th, followed up the valley of Cub Run until we reached a point west ten degrees north, and about four miles in an air line from Centreville, near which we struck a road which we believed to lead to the fords. Following it for a short distance we encountered the enemy's patrols. As we were most anxious to avoid attracting the enemy's attention to our designs in this quarter, we did not care to pursue the reconnoissance further. We had seen enough to be convinced of the perfect practicability of the route. To make more certain of the fords, however, Capt. Woodbury proposed to return at night, and with a few Michigan woodsmen from Col. Sherman's brigade, to endeavor to find them. On returning to camp it was determined to send Capt. Wright and Lieut. Snyder (Engineers) with Capt. Woodbury. At the same time the commanding general directed Capt. Whipple (Topographical Engineers) and Lieut. Prime (Engineers) to make a night reconnaissance of the run between Warrenton Bridge and Blackburn's Ford. Both these night expeditions failed. It was found the enemy occupied the woods too strongly on our side of the run to permit the reconnoissance to be accomplished. It was not our policy to drive in his pickets until we were in motion to attack.

On laying before you the information obtained, the commanding general believed himself justified in adopting the following plan of attack, which was decided upon on the 20th:

First--A false attack to be made by Richardson's brigade (temporarily attached to Miles's division) on Blackburn's Ford, the rest of that division remaining in reserve at Centreville.

Second--Tyler's division to move from its camp at 3 A. M. (the 21st) towards the stone bridge of the Warrenton turnpike, to feign the main attack upon this point.

Third--The divisions of Hunter and Heintzelman (in the order named) to leave their camps at 2 1/2 A. M., (they were encamped about two or three miles behind Tyler,) and, following his movement, to diverge from the Warrenton turnpike at the by-road beyond Cub Run, and take the road for Sudley's Springs — or, rather, it was provided that (if I mistake not) Hunter's division should proceed to Sudley's Springs, and Heintzelman to take the lower ford. These matters, however, to be regulated by circumstances.

It was intended that the head of Hunter's division should be at the turn off at early daylight, or about 4 A. M., and that it should reach Sudley by six or seven.

You are aware of the unexpected delay. The two leading brigades of Tyler's had not cleared the road for Hunter to this point until half-past 5, and our guide, alleging that a nearer route to the ford would bring our column in sight of the enemy's batteries, led them by so circuitous a way that Hunter did not reach Sudley until half-past 9 or thereabouts.

Accompanying the commanding general, we, as you are aware, after waiting two or three hours at the turn off, rode on to overtake the front of Hunter's division, when we emerged from the woods, nearly northeast of Sudley, into the open country, from whence the course of the run and the slopes of the opposite shore could be seen; we could perceive the enemy's column in motion to meet us. The loss of time here, in a great measure, thwarted our plan. We had hoped to pass the ford and reach the rear of the enemy's forces at Warrenton stone bridge before he could assemble in sufficient force to cope with us.

It now became necessary to have Tyler's division force the passage of the bridge. It had always been intended that this division should pass at or near the bridge, but it was hoped, by taking its defences in rear, it could be passed without force. The commanding general promptly sent orders to Tyler to press his attack with all vigor.

I had yet much confidence that, though we had been anticipated, (owing to the delays mentioned,) the enemy was not yet assembled in numbers to oppose us in great force, (a confidence which I think the facts justified;) that we might successfully attack him in front, while the division of Tyler should fall upon his flank and rear.

When we reached the front of Hunter's column the battle was just commencing. The events of the battle-field will be described in the reports you will receive from other quarters. I was near the commanding general until some time after the arrival of Sherman's brigade on our left. Being accidentally separated, I saw yourself on the right, and joining you, we observed for some time the action on the heights, where the enemy made his final and successful stand. As we were observing, the Zouave regiment of Heintzelman was driven back, leaving Rickett's battery, upon which we observed the enemy charge.

You left me here, and I remained a few minutes longer an anxious spectator, and for the first time beginning to anticipate a possible defeat. Two brigades of Tyler's division had


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