fired toward or away from the hill. It was evident that the dust in the distance on our right extended beyond that which rose from the Federalists. The view toward the left, as I have said, was interrupted, but the firing was rather more heavy there than on the front or right flank, and a glade was pointed out in the forest as the beginning of Bull or Poole's Run, on the other side of which the Confederates were hid in force, though they had not made any specific reply to the shells thrown into their cover early in the morning. There seemed to be a continuous line, which was held by the enemy, from which came steady solid firing against what might be supposed to be heads of columns stationed at various points, or advancing against them. It was necessary to feed the horses and give them some rest after a hot drive of some 26 or 27 miles, or I would have proceeded at once to the front. As I was watching the faces of the Senators and Congressmen, I thought I had heard or read of such a scene as this — but there was much more to come. The soldiers, who followed each shot with remarks in English or German, were not as eager as men generally are in watching a fight. Once, as a cloud of thick smoke ascended from the trees, a man shouted out, “That's good; we've taken another battery: there goes the magazine.” But it looked like, and I believe was, the explosion of a caisson. In the midst of our little reconnoissance, Mr. Vizetelly, who has been living, and indeed marching, with one of the regiments as artist of The Illustrated London News, came up and told us the action had been commenced in splendid style by the Federalists, who had advanced steadily, driving the Confederates before them — a part of the plan, as I firmly believe, to bring them under the range of their guns. He believed the advantages on the Federal side were decided, though won with hard fighting, and he had just come up to Centreville to look after something to eat and drink, and to procure little necessaries, in case of need, for his comrades. His walk very probably saved his life. Having seen all that could be discerned through our glasses, my friend and myself had made a feast on our sandwiches in the shade of the buggy; my horse was eating and resting, and I was forced to give him half an hour or more before I mounted, and meantime tried to make out the plan of battle, but all was obscure and dark. Suddenly up rode an officer, with a crowd of soldiers after him, from the village. “We've whipped them on all points!” he shouted. “We've taken their batteries, and they're all retreating!” Such an uproar as followed! The spectators and men cheered again and again, amid cries of “Bravo!” “Bully for us!” “Didn't I tell you so?” and guttural “hochs” from the Deutschland folk, and loud “hurroors” from the Irish. Soon afterward my horse was brought up to the hill, and my friend and the gentleman I have already mentioned set out to walk toward the front — the latter to rejoin his regiment, if possible, the former to get a closer view of the proceedings. As I turned down into the narrow road or lane already mentioned, there was a forward movement among the large four-wheeled tilt wagons, which raised a good deal of dust. My attention was particularly called to this by the occurrence of a few minutes afterward. I had met my friends on the road, and after a few words, rode forward at a long trot as well as I could past the wagons and through the dust, when suddenly there arose a tumult in front of me at a small bridge across the road, and then I perceived the drivers of a set of wagons with the horses turned toward me, who were endeavoring to force their way against the stream of vehicles setting in the other direction. By the side of the new set of wagons there were a number of commissariat men and soldiers, whom at first sight I took to be the baggage guard. They looked excited and alarmed, and were running by the side of the horses — in front the dust quite obscured the view. At the bridge the currents met in wild disorder. “Turn back! Retreat!” shouted the men from the front. “We're whipped I We're whipped!” They cursed, and tugged at the horses' heads, and struggled with frenzy to get past. Running by me on foot was a man with the shoulder-straps of an officer. “Pray, what is the matter, sir?” “It means we're pretty badly whipped, and that's a fact,” he blurted out in puffs, and continued his career. I observed that he carried no sword. The teamsters of the advancing wagons now caught up the cry. “Turn back — turn your horses!” was the shout up the whole line, and, backing, plunging, rearing, and kicking, the horses which had been proceeding down the road, reversed front and went off toward Centreville. Those behind them went madly rushing on, the drivers being quite indifferent whether glory or disgrace led the way, provided they could find it. In the midst of this extraordinary spectacle, an officer, escorted by some dragoons, rode through the ruck with a light cart in charge. Another officer on foot, with his sword under his arm, ran up against me. “What is all this about?” “Why, we're pretty badly whipped. We're all in retreat. There's General Tyler there, badly wounded.” And on he ran. There came yet another, who said, “We're beaten on all points. The whole army is in retreat.” Still there was no flight of troops, no retreat of an army, no reason for all this precipitation. True, there were many men in uniform flying toward the rear, but it did not appear as if they were beyond the proportions of a large baggage escort. I got my horse up into the field out of the road, and went on rapidly towards the front. Soon I met soldiers, who were coming through the corn, mostly without arms; and presently I saw firelocks, cooking-tins, knapsacks, and greatcoats on the ground, and observed that the confusion and speed of the baggage carts became greater, and that many
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Battle of Bull Run .
Doc . 4 .- N. Y. Tribune narrative.
Doc . 59 : a Virginian who is not a traitor: response of Lieut. Mayo , U. S. N. , to the proclamation of Gov. Letcher .
Doc . 65 -speech of Galusha A. Grow , on taking the Chair of the House of Representatives of the United States , July 4 .
Doc . 135 .- Virginia ordinance, prohibiting citizens of Virginia from holding office under the United States , passed July , 1861 .
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