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[104] way. On an officer's prospecting, he went up towards him, and when near enough, he ordered him to surrender; the officer did so, and young Oakley bore him in triumph in to Headquarters. He proved to be Col. Corcoran. One of the most obvious features of the battlefield is a group of horses, and the men beside them. The caisson had exploded. Men and horses were all killed, apparently near the close of the engagement, and now lie all together bloated in the sun. The mortality among horses was large; as many as one hundred, at least, may be seen upon the field, and it is of regret for their loss that they were particularly fine ones.

In the percussion shells, with which the enemy so liberally bespattered the country, the enemy have left their sting behind them. Few explode in falling. Of twenty fired into the hill on which we first stood, not one exploded, but they do explode easily when struck upon the right point; and these handled by the soldiers, and dropped carelessly, are liable to do great injury. Two in this way have been exploded, and one killed one man in Col. Preston's regiment, and badly wounded two others.

L. W. S.

--Charleston Mercury, July 20.


Letter to the Richmond Dispatch.

The following statement was prepared by an officer in the rebel army, who is said to have borne a conspicuous part on the field of battle:

Richmond, July 27, 1861.
It may not be unacceptable to your readers to learn something of the battle of Manassas from an eye-witness, who had better opportunities of observation, perhaps, than any one else. The first gun fired by the enemy was at five minutes past six o'clock in the morning, batteries opening against our centre as a feint to conceal the movement against our left. A short time afterwards General Johnston and General Beauregard, with their staff, rode off to the nearest point of elevation and observation convenient to the centre, and there awaited developments whilst the iron hail whistled around and over them. A singular misconception seems to pervade the public mind, which has not yet been corrected, that General Beauregard fought the battle, and that General Johnston yielded to preconceived plans. Whilst, according to General Beauregard, all the merit to which he is entitled β€” and there does not live a more gallant gentleman and officer, nor one for whom I have a higher admiration as a General β€” it is due to General Johnston to say, that he planned the battle. Essentially a man of judgment, General Johnston has never risked during the campaign any battle where our chances were not good. Though our men murmured vastly when ordered to go backward from Harper's Ferry, from Bunker's Hill, from Darksville, and from Winchester, no one can now dare to dispute the sagacity which planned all the movements. To have risked a battle by attacking superior numbers, entailing defeat upon us, would doubtless have crushed our proud republic in its inception. When General Johnston (who has always been in correspondence with General Beauregard in regard to the junction of the armies, and who, for weeks, has also pointed out to the President the absolute necessity of such a movement) received orders to form the junction, it came at a fortunate moment, when Patterson had moved to Charleston, twenty-four miles distant, and had placed it out of his power to attack us in the rear. Only ten thousand of our column arrived in time for the battle, but they were enough.

To return, however, to the battle. Our line was extended over a distance of eight miles, in a position nearly assimilating to a semicircle. On Saturday night General Johnston assumed command, and nearly the entire night was consumed by the staff of both generals in writing orders to the different brigades to prepare for a forward movement in the morning. General Beauregard's plans were to be carried out in a great measure, and the rout of the enemy would have been more signal, and doubtless Washington would now be in our possession, if our attack had not been converted into a defence by the movements of the enemy. We intended to move about eight o'clock, and they commenced their attack before our movement could be made. From a letter written by one of the enemy, dated July 20, nine P. M., and afterwards found by the writer, their position was taken, and movements commenced at that hour.

To understand the battle, you must know that our line was faced towards Bull Run, and immediately back of it, defending the various fords. By turning our flank, the line of battle was changed to a direction perpendicular to the one which we had assumed, and commencing at our left extended back for a mile and a quarter. When the musketry betrayed the β€œcat in the meal-tub,” away went the generals and their staff, flying upon the wings of the wind to reach the scene of action, distant three miles. The country was a rolling one, thickly interspersed with pine thickets, and the battle-ground was an open valley, with a hill upon each side, rising some 100 feet above the low ground, and distant from each other about 600 yards. The struggle was an alternate movement of regiments. When the head of McDowell's column reached Sudley's Spring, a ford much higher than it was anticipated they would cross, as the Stone Bridge was the point we were defending upon our extreme left, quietly they sneaked along, getting in behind us, until discovered, I believe, by General Evans's brigade, who opened fire upon them.

Then in quick succession the enemy's regiments deployed in line to their right, whilst ours came up on our left. The engagement grew hot and heavy; their column numbering


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