Quarter before one o'clock.The fray ceases; Generals Beauregard and Johnston dash on to the scene of action, and as we cannot doubt that the enemy has again fallen back, it looks as though they were on their way to Washington.
One o'clock.Column after column is thrown in from all along the line of Bull Run to fall upon the left flank of the enemy, and the firing is again renewed, as though nothing had been done. An effort would seem to have been made to outflank us, and it has brought on another engagement further off, but on a line with the first. The cannon established on the hill was a feint at Mitchell's Ford, while of both armies the effort was to outflank. These guns now but play at the columns of dust as they rise from the infantry and cavalry as they tramp past; and as those columns are near the point where I stand, they have brought a dozen balls at least within 100 yards.
Fifteen minutes past one o'clock.The firing has almost entirely ceased, but still our reserves are pouring in. The enemy seems to be making an attempt to cross at Mitchell's Ford. All at Mitchell's Ford is a feint, and it is now certain that the grand battle-ground for empire is now to the west, beyond the Stone Bridge, on Bull Run, and I go there.
Evening.At two o'clock I arrived on the ground; but of the further scenes of this eventful battle I have nothing more to say, save this only, that at five o'clock the enemy was driven from the field, leaving most of the guns of Sherman's battery behind them, with an awful list of dead and wounded. It will be evident to any one who becomes familiar with the events of the day that I misapprehend many of the occurrences. The attack was made at a point above the Stone Bridge, on Bull Run, by the whole disposable force of the enemy, led by General McDowell. The importance of the movement was not at first estimated, and it was met by Gen. Evans, with only the Fourth South Carolina regiment, Colonel Sloan, the Independent Louisiana battalion, Major Wheat, and two guns of the Washington Artillery. The charge of the enemy was met with an intrepidity that was beyond all praise, and the whole column of the enemy was held at bay until reinforcements came. These were led on by Colonel Jackson, Colonel Bartow, General Bee, and General Jones. The conflict went on in a fierce and terrible struggle of the Confederate troops against great odds and amidst terrible slaughter. At the crisis of the engagement two regiments of South Carolinians — Kershaw's and Cocke's — were ordered to advance. Kemper's battery was attached to Kershaw's. As these troops advanced, they were joined by Preston's regiment of Cocke's brigade. A tremendous charge was made, which decided the fate of the day. After acts of incredible valor, the enemy was driven off far to the north. As they retreated on the Braddock road to Centreville a charge was made upon them by a portion of our cavalry, and I think of the Radford Rangers. They dashed upon them about a mile away, and dust above them for ten minutes rose up as from the crater of a volcano. The punishment was severe and rapid. Colonel Hampton's Legion suffered greatly. It came last night, and marched directly into battle. When I went upon the ground I heard that Colonel Hampton and Johnson were both killed, but afterwards I met Colonel Hampton riding from the field, wounded badly, but exhilarated at the thought that his men had exhibited surpassing intrepidity, and that General Beauregard himself had relieved him and led his legion into battle. Colonel Sloan's Fourth regiment South Carolina Volunteers suffered as much. They stood decimated at every fire until reinforcements came, and they exhibit a sad remnant of the noble body of men that entered into battle. The Second regiment, Colonel Kershaw, did fearful execution at the crisis of the contest, but suffered less. The Fourth Alabama regiment, Col. Jones, and the Eighth Georgia regiment, Col. Gardner, suffered greatly. Wearied and worn, and sick at heart, I retired from the field whose glory is scarce equal to its gloom, and I have not the strength now to write more. I send my field notes as they are. President Davis came upon the ground just as the battle ended, and the wildest cheering greeted him. He rode along the lines of war-worn men who had been drawn off from action, and he seemed proud of them, and of his right to command such noble men, but it was tempered with a feeling of regret that their right to his respect had been vindicated at so dreadful a sacrifice. Many wounded still stood in the ranks, and exhibited the unalterable purpose to stand there while they had strength to do so. How many of the enemy were killed we have no means of knowing, but it must have been much greater than our own. Our men shot with the utmost possible coolness and precision, and they must have claimed this compliment. We took Sherman's battery, sixteen guns, and three guns from those batteries that opened upon us first above Mitchell's Ford. These are facts reported to me on the ground at sundown, but they are not necessarily correct. I have hesitated to state any thing, but upon the whole have thought it best. I will send a corrected list of our casualties to-morrow. There was an engagement at the batteries above Mitchell's Ford, in which the Fifth, Seventh, and Eighth South Carolina regiments were engaged, but the facts have not transpired beyond the taking of guns.