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[53] difficulty. The rumors of great disaster and repulse had spread through the city. The livery stable keepers, with one exception, refused to send out horses to the scene of action — at least the exception told me so. Senators and Congressmen were going to make a day of it, and all the vehicles and horses that could be procured were in requisition for the scene of action. This curiosity was aroused by the story that McDowell had been actually ordered to make an attack on Manassas, and that Gen. Scott had given him till 12 o'clock to be master of Beauregard's lines. If Gen. Scott ordered the attack at all, I venture to say he was merely the mouthpiece of the more violent civilians of the Government, who mistake intensity of feeling for military strength. The consequences of the little skirmish at Bull Run, ending in the repulse of the Federalists, were much exaggerated, and their losses were put down at any figures the fancy of the individual item who was speaking suggested. “I can assure you, sir, that the troops had 1,500 killed and wounded; I know it.” I went off to the Headquarters, and there Gen. Scott's Aid informed me that Gen. McDowell's official report gave 6 killed and 37 wounded. The livery keepers stuck to the 1,500 or 2,000. The greater the number hors de combat, the higher the tariff for the hire of quadrupeds. All I could do was to get a kind of cabriolet, with a seat in front for the driver, to which a pole was affixed for two horses, at a Derby-day price, a strong led horse, which Indian experiences have induced me always to rely upon in the neighborhood of uncertain fighting. I had to enter into an agreement with the owner to pay him for horses and buggy if they were “captured or injured by the enemy,” and though I smiled at his precautions, they proved not quite unreasonable. The master made no provision for indemnity in the case of injury to the driver, or the colored boy who rode the saddle-horse. When I spoke with officers at Gen. Scott's Headquarters of the expedition, it struck me they were not at all sanguine about the result of the day, and one of them said as much as induced me to think he would advise me to remain in the city, if he did not take it for granted it was part of my duty to go to the scene of action. An English gentleman who accompanied me was strongly dissuaded from going by a colonel of cavalry on the staff, because, he said, “the troops are green, and no one can tell what may happen.” But my friend got his pass from Gen. Scott, who was taking the whole affair of Bull Run and the pressure of the morrow's work with perfect calm, and we started on Sunday morning--not so early as we ought, perhaps, which was none of my fault — for Centreville, distant about 25 miles south-west of Washington. I purposed starting in the beautiful moonlight, so as to arrive at McDowell's camp in the early dawn; but the aides could not or would not give us the countersign over the Long Bridge, and without it no one could get across until after 5 o'clock in the morning. When McDowell moved away, he took so many of the troops about Arlington that the camps and forts are rather denuded of men. I do not give, as may be observed, the names of regiments, unless in special cases--first, because they possess little interest, I conceive, for those in Europe who read these letters; and secondly, because there is an exceedingly complex system — at least to a foreigner — of nomenclature in the forces, and one may make a mistake between a regiment of volunteers and a regiment of State militia of the same number, or even of regulars in the lower figures. The soldiers lounging about the forts and over the Long Bridge across the Potomac were an exceedingly unkempt, “loafing” set of fellows, who handled their firelocks like pitchforks and spades, and I doubt if some of those who read or tried to read our papers could understand them, as they certainly did not speak English. The Americans possess excellent working materials, however, and I have had occasion repeatedly to remark the rapidity and skill with which they construct earthworks. At the Virginia side of the Long Bridge there is now a very strong tete de pont, supported by the regular redoubt on the hill over the road. These works did not appear to be strongly held, but it is possible men were in the tents near at hand, deserted though they seemed, and at all events reinforcements could be speedily poured in if necessary.

The long and weary way was varied by different pickets along the road, and by the examination of our papers and passes at different points. But the country looked vacant, in spite of crops of Indian corn, for the houses were shut up, and the few indigenous people whom we met looked most blackly under their brows at the supposed abolitionists. This portion of Virginia is well wooded, and undulating in heavy, regular waves of field and forest; but the roads are deeply cut, and filled with loose stones, very disagreeable to ride or drive over. The houses are of wood, with the usual negro huts adjoining them, and the specimens of the race which I saw were well-dressed, and not ill-looking. On turning into one of the roads which leads to Fairfax Court-House, and to Centreville beyond it, the distant sound of cannon reached us. That must have been about 9 1/2, A. M. It never ceased all day; at least, whenever the rattle of the gig ceased, the booming of cannon rolled through the woods on our ears. One man said it began at 2 o'clock, but the pickets told us it had really become continuous about 7 1/2 or 8 o'clock. In a few minutes afterward, a body of men appeared on the road, with their backs toward Centreville, and their faces toward Alexandria. Their march was so disorderly that I could not have believed they were soldiers in an enemy's country — for Virginia hereabout is certainly so — but for their arms and uniform. It soon appeared that there was no less than an entire


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