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[107]

The mortality was immense on both sides. Upon ours the returns will show about six hundred killed and twenty-five hundred wounded. Upon theirs about fifteen hundred fell dead, and forty-five hundred wounded. We could have had as many prisoners as ten thousand, but what good would it have done to take them and feed them?


--Richmond Dispatch, July 29.


Visit to the battle-field.

A correspondent of the Richmond Enquirer says: The writer of this, on Monday last, 29th ult., passed over the scene of the battle of the 21st, near Bull Run. It was gratifying to find, contrary to rumors which have gained some circulation, that the dead, not only of our own army, but also of the enemy, have all been decently buried. In the whole area of that terrible onset, no human corpse, and not even a mangled limb, was to be seen. The earth had received them all, and, so far as the human combatants were concerned, nothing remained to tell of those who had fallen victims of the shock of battle, save the mounds of fresh earth which showed where they had been laid away in their last sleep.

Many of these mounds gave evidence of the pious care of surviving comrades. Enclosures were built around the graves, and branches of evergreens cover the spot. Sometimes boards mark the head and foot, on which were carved or painted the name and fellowship of the deceased. Sometimes boards nailed to a neighboring tree told that the ground adjacent contained the fallen of a certain regiment or company.

Numerous dead horses, scattered over the area, show where the batteries of flying artillery were captured or disabled, or where some officer was dismounted. The prostrate fences, too, served to mark the track of the battle. Where the infantry crossed they were broken down so that a man might step over, and wide gaps showed where the artillery carriages had thundered along. The ground, too, tramped by the feet of rushing men and horses, evidenced where the struggle had been fiercest.

Of relics of the battle, already but few remain. The field has been searched and gleaned by daily crowds of visitors seeking for mementoes. A few bullets that had run their errand, some fragments of exploded bombs, a haversack and a few other things, were all that an extensive ramble brought under our view. Canes cut from the battle-field are also considerably in demand.

The enemy's column of advance, as shown by the battle-ground, presented a front of about one mile. Their onward march from the point where they encountered our advance bodies to the limit where they met our full line, and the full battle was joined, and the fate of the day decided, was about a mile and a half. A parallelogram of about a mile by a mile and a half, therefore, covers the scene of the great conflict.

In this area are included five dwelling-houses; all of which we visited bore evidences of the storm which raged about them. Many were killed in the yard of the house of Mr. J. De Dogan. A bullet-hole in a chamber door remains a memento of the battle. His family escaped just as the battle joined.

But it was on the hill south of the turnpike road, where the enemy's farthest advance was checked, and where the final issue was fought, that the inwrapped dwellings showed most plainly the fury of the fight.

A house here, late the abode of a widow lady--Mrs. Judith Henry--was riddled with cannon and musket shot. Hissing projectiles from the cannon of our enemies had passed through the walls and roof, until the dwelling was a wreck. It is a sad story that we tell. This estimable lady, who had spent here a long life, illustrated by the graces that adorn the meek Christian, was now bed-ridden. There she lay amid the horrid din, and no less than three of the missiles of death that scoured through her chamber inflicted their wounds upon her. It seems a strange dispensation of Providence, that one whose life had been so gentle and secluded, should have found her end amid such a storm of human passions, and that the humble abode which had witnessed her quiet pilgrimage should have been shattered over her dying bed.

Yet, even amid such terrors, Heaven vindicated its laws. When the combatants had retired, the aged sufferer was still alive, and she lived long enough to say that her mind was tranquil, and that she died in peace — a peace that the roar of battle and the presence of death, panoplied in all his terrors, had not disturbed. Noble matron! The daughters of the South will emulate your virtues, and the sons of the South will avenge your sufferings! The heaps on heaps of the enemy that were piled around your doors when you died, are but the earnest. A hundred yards to the right of the house of Mrs. Henry lay five horses in a heap, and near by another heap of as many more. Here a portion of Sherman's battery made its last advance; just as it reached the top of the hill, our riflemen, approaching it in another direction, reached it too. At once they poured in a fire which cut down horses and men, and made the pieces unmanageable. The gallant boys followed the fire with a bayonet charge, and the guns were taken. It was here that Lieut. Ward fell. The cannon were taken and retaken several times in the furious fight; but the horses had been killed, and they could not be removed or used.

On the left of Mrs. Henry's, distant about a fourth of a mile, is a neat house belonging to a colored man named Robinson. A cannon-ball drove through this also. Between these two is an orchard of small trees, where Hampton's Legion fought and suffered so severely. Their graves are here. One of them, which covers the remains of a near relative of Hon. J. L.

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