previous next

[94] Fanthray, who belonged to General Johnston's staff, and myself were just getting fully to work, when an old surgeon, whom I do not know, came to us and said the enemy were carrying every thing before them, and ordered us to fall back to another point with the wounded, as they were turning our flank, and the battle would soon be upon us. Accordingly the wounded were taken up and we fell back, but after following the ambulances for a mile, we found that they were to be taken all the way to Manassas — about four miles--where there were hospitals and surgeons to receive them, and we returned to our position near the battle.

At this juncture I saw our reinforcements pouring in with the rapidity and eagerness of a fox chase, and was satisfied that they would drive every thing before them. No one can imagine such a grand, glorious picture as these patriots presented, rushing to the field through the masses of wounded bodies which strewed the roadside as they passed along. For half a mile behind me the road passed down a gradual slope, and through an old field, as I looked back, I could see a regiment of infantry coming in a trot, with their bright muskets glittering in the sun; then would come a battery of artillery, each gun carriage crowded with men and drawn by four horses in full gallop. Next came troops of cavalry, dashing with the speed of Murat; after these followed, with almost equal speed, wagons loaded with ammunition, &c., screaming all the while, “push ahead boys,” “pitch into the d — d Yankees,” “drive them into the Potomac.” This kept up from about mid-day till dark, and I felt as if the Alps themselves could not withstand such a rush. The cannon and small-arms were roaring like a thunder storm as they rushed to the battle-field. One regiment, which had been driven back by overwhelming numbers, was now supported, and I soon perceived that the firing was getting further off, as I had expected, and I knew that the “pet lambs” now could only be saved by their superior heels. About this time, too, the last of General Johnston's command arrived on the cars, opposite the battle-ground, to the number of some three or four thousand, and although they had been two nights without sleep, they jumped from the cars and cut across to the field. By this time we had collected about 15,000 against their 35,000, and, from all accounts, no red fox ever made tracks so fast as did these cowardly wretches. They were all fresh and better accoutred in every respect than our men, one half or more of whom had to make forced marches to get at them. They had selected their position coolly and deliberately in the morning, while ours were scattered over ten miles and had to run through the mid-day sunshine. If our men had been equally fresh they would have gone straight into their intrenchments at Arlington. But I will not speculate on the future and weary you with details which will reach you through print long before this.

The victory was dearly bought, but still blood is the price of freedom; and we can at least, while we drop a tear over the graves of our fallen friends, feel the proud consolation that they have died like heroes, and given liberty to unborn generations.

Our troops are pouring in every day from the South, and if Beauregard and Johnston choose to lead them, they can plant the hated Palmetto tree beside the Bunker Hill monument, which was erected to commemorate the same principles for which we are now fighting, and to which a degenerate race has proved recreant. They have forced this fight upon us, and after exhausting every thing but honor for peace, it is their turn to sue for terms.

I never had any idea of military science be-fore. Beauregard and Johnston played it like a game of chess without seeing the board — when a messenger came and told the enemy's move, a move was immediately ordered to put him in check.1

The times are so exciting here that I cannot yet foresee my movements. I found that they had surgeons enough for the wounded in the hospitals at Manassas, and having no commission, I left and came up to Richmond to send down many things needed for the patients, thinking I could serve them better in this way than any other.

--Mobile Evening News, July 30.

1 The position of the Confederate forces is thus given in the paper:

Explanation of sketch. A. The columns of the enemy making the feint attack on the centre of the Confederate lines.

B. B. The columns of the enemy, 35,000 strong, making the real attack on the left of the Confederate lines.

1. Manassas Junction, with Confederate troops holding the fortified camp.

2. The 15,000 Confederate troops who fought the battle and defeated the 35,000 Federals who attacked them.

3. The centre of the Confederate lines; a battery in position.

4. 4, 4, 4. Positions of troops forming the Confederate lines, where they were kept in line to meet an advance from any quarter. It is understood that some reinforcements were sent down from these positions to join in the fight on the left.

5. 5. Railroads which make the junction at Manassas.

note.--From the extreme left to the extreme right of our lines, which formed nearly a true semicircle, the distance was ten miles; but whether this distance was measured by the are or directly across from right to left, is not clear.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Palmetto (Florida, United States) (1)
Manassas, Va. (Virginia, United States) (1)
Arlington (Virginia, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Joseph E. Johnston (4)
G. T. Beauregard (2)
Murat (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
July 30th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: