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Chapter 1: the invasion of Virginia.

After the fall of Fort Sumter, the Government at Washington commenced concentrating a large force at that city under the superintendence of Lieutenant General Scott of the United States Army, and it was very apparent that Virginia would be invaded.

When the ordinance of secession had been passed by the Virginia convention, and the authority had been given to the Governor to call out troops for the defence of the State, Governor Letcher called for volunteers. The Navy Yard at Gosport, near Norfolk, and the arsenal and armory at Harper's Ferry were taken possession of by militia forces hastily assembled, but not until the United States officers had partially destroyed both.

As soon as General Lee reached Richmond, which was very shortly after his appointment to the command of the Virginia forces, he entered actively on the work of reorganization.

The day the convention took recess to await the result of the popular vote, I tendered my services to the Governor, and received from him the commission of Colonel in the volunteer service of the State. On reporting to General Lee, I was ordered to repair to Lynchburg, and take command of all the Virginia volunteers who should be mustered into service at that place, and organize them into regiments, as they were received by companies. I [2] took command at Lynchburg on the 16th of May, and proceeded to organize the volunteers, which were being mustered into the Virginia service at that point, by Lieutenant Colonel Daniel A. Langhorne.

While there, I organized and armed three regiments, to-wit: The 28th Virginia Regiment (Colonel R. T. Preston) and the 24th Virginia Regiment (my own), both as infantry, and the 30th Virginia Regiment (Colonel R. C. W. Radford), as cavalry. This latter regiment was subsequently designated the 2d Virginia Cavalry.

On the 24th of May, the day after the election in Virginia ratifying the ordinance of secession, the Federal troops, under the command of Brigadier General McDowell, crossed over from Washington into Virginia, the bands playing and the soldiers singing “John Brown's soul goes marching on” ; and John Brown's mission was, subsequently, but too well carried out in Virginia and all the Southern States under the inspiration of that anthem.

The Confederate Government had sent some troops to Virginia, and a portion of them along with some of the Virginia troops were concentrated at and near Manassas Junction on the Orange & Alexandria Railroad, about thirty miles from Washington. Brigadier General Beauregard was sent to take command of the troops at Manassas, and other troops had been sent to Harper's Ferry, to the command of which General Joseph E. Johnston was assigned. As soon as it was ascertained that the Federal troops had crossed over and occupied Alexandria, I commenced sending the regiments organized by me, as they were ready, to Manassas. The infantry was armed with smooth-bore percussion muskets, but there were no belts or bayonet scabbards or cartridge boxes for them, and they had to be supplied with cloth pouches for their ammunition. The cavalry regiment, consisting of nine companies, was armed principally with double-barrelled shot guns, and sabres of an old pattern which had been collected in the country [3] from old volunteer companies. The State had very few arms of any kind, and those furnished the infantry had been borrowed from North Carolina.. There were no cavalry arms of any value.

I also armed and sent off a number of companies to be attached to regiments already in the field.

Having attended the convention when it re-assembled in June, as soon as the ordinance of secession was signed, I received orders to turn over the command at Lynchburg to Colonel Langhorne and join my regiment in the field. The Confederate Government had now reached Richmond, and that city became the capital of the Confederacy.

I reached Manassas and reported to General Beauregard on the 19th of June. I found my regiment (the 24th Virginia) under Lieutenant Colonel Peter Hairston, located about four miles east of the Junction, for the purpose of watching the fords of Bull Run immediately above its junction with the Occoquon, and those on the latter stream above the same point. At this time no brigades had been formed, but in a few days the regiments under General Beauregard's command were organized into six brigades, as follows: a brigade of South Carolina troops under Brigadier General Bonham, a brigade of Alabama and Louisiana troops under Brigadier General Ewell, a brigade of South Carolina and Mississippi troops under Brigadier General D. R. Jones, a brigade of Virginia troops under Colonel George H. Jerrett, who was subsequently replaced by Brigadier General Longstreet, a brigade of Virginia troops under Colonel Philip St. George Cocke, and a brigade composed of the 7th and 24th Virginia, and the 4th South Carolina Regiments under my command, but the 4th South Carolina had been sent to Leesburg in Loudoun and did not join, it being subsequently replaced by the 7th Louisiana Regiment.

After this organization the troops were located as follows: the 4th South Carolina Regiment and Wheat's Louisiana Battalion were at Leesburg under Colonel [4] Evans; Bonham's brigade was at Fairfax Court-House, Cocke's at Centreville, and Ewell's brigade at and near Fairfax Station, all in front of Bull Run; while D. R. Jones' brigade was encamped on the south of the Run near the railroad, at a place called Camp Walker, Longstreet's at the Junction, and the 7th and 24th Virginia Regiments of my brigade, camped separately, northeast and east of the Junction, from three to four miles distant. The cavalry, consisting of Colonel R. C. W. Radford's regiment of nine companies and several unattached companies, was employed mainly on scouting and picketing duty with Evans, Bonham, and Ewell, one company being on my right to watch the lower fords of the Occoquon, and the landings on the Potomac below the mouth of the Occoquon, where it was subsequently joined by another.

It was my duty to watch the right of our line, and the two companies of cavalry on that flank, Eugene Davis' and W. W. Thornton's companies of Virginia cavalry, were placed under my command, and Captain John Scott was assigned to the immediate command of them.

A few days after my arrival, under orders from General Beauregard, I made a reconnaissance to the village of Occoquon, near the mouth of the stream of that name, with the 24th Regiment, and examined the landings of the Potomac as far down as Freestone Point.

Early in July General Beauregard summoned all his brigade commanders to a conference at Fairfax Station, and there disclosed to them, in confidence, his plan of operations in the event of an advance by the enemy, for which he had learned active preparations were being made.

He anticipated that the enemy's main force would move on the road through Fairfax Court-House and Centreville toward Manassas, and his plan was, for all the troops on the north of Bull Run to fall back to the south bank of that stream. Bonham, in the centre on the [5] direct road to Manassas, to Mitchell's Ford; Cocke, on the left, to Stone Bridge on the Warrenton Pike; and Ewell, on the right, to Union Mills; and Evans was to retire from Loudoun and unite with Cocke; while Longstreet was to move up to Blackburn's Ford, about a mile below Mitchell's Ford; D. R. Jones to McLean's Ford, about a mile or two further down; and I was to move up to Union Mills in support of Ewell. His anticipation further was, that the enemy would follow up Bonham and attack him at Mitchell's Ford; in which event the rest of the troops were to cross Bull Run and attack the enemy on both flanks-Longstreet crossing at Blackburn's Ford, and Jones at McLean's Ford, and attacking the enemy's left flank; Ewell at the same time moving up towards Centreville, on the road from Union Mills, and attacking the enemy on his left and rear; while I was to follow Ewell in support and look out for his right flank and rear, and Cocke, supported by Evans, was to come down on the enemy's right flank.

The routes by which all these movements were to be made were pointed out and designated on maps previously prepared, and each brigade commander was instructed to make himself familiar with the ground over which he would have to operate. General Beauregard at the same time informed us that the returns showed an effective force under his command of very little more than 15,000 men.

A few days after this, the 7th Louisiana Regiment, under Colonel Harry T. Hays, arrived, and was assigned to my brigade in lieu of the 4th South Carolina. The 7th Virginia was commanded by Colonel James L. Kemper, and the 24th by Lieutenant Colonel Peter Hairston.

On the 12th of July I made another reconnaissance to Occoquon, with the 7th Virginia Regiment under Lieutenant Colonel Williams, and a section of the Washington Artillery of New Orleans, under Lieutenant Squires, and returned to camp on the 14th. [6]

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