Raid upon a Union baggage train by Stuart's cavalry.
From a War-time sketch.|
On the morning of the 25th of August, 1862, Stonewall Jackson
, with Ewell
's and A. P. Hill
's divisions and his own old division under my command, marched northward from Jeffersonton, Virginia
, to cut Pope
's communications and destroy his supplies.
Quartermasters and commissaries, with their forage and subsistence stores, were left behind, their white tilted wagons parked conspicuously.
which usually embarrass and delay a marching column had been reduced to a few ambulances and a limited ordnance train; three days meager rations had been cooked and stowed away in haversacks and pockets; and tin cans and an occasional frying-pan constituted the entire camp-equipage.
The men had rested and dried off, and as they marched out they exulted with the inspiration of the balmy summer atmosphere and the refreshing breezes which swept down from the Blue Mountains
No man save one in that corps, whatever may have been his rank, knew our destination.
The men said of Jackson
that his piety expressed itself in obeying the injunction, “Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth.”
No intelligence of intended Confederate movements ever reached the enemy by any slip of his. The orders to his division chiefs were like this: “March to a cross-road; a staff-officer there will inform you which fork to take; and so to the next fork, where you will find a courier with a sealed direction pointing out the road.”
This extreme reticence was very uncomfortable and annoying to his subordinate commanders, and was sometimes carried too far; but it was the real secret of the reputation for ubiquity which he acquired, and which was so well expressed by General McClellan
in one of his dispatches: “I am afraid of Jackson
; he will turn up where least expected.”
Naturally our destination was supposed to be Waterloo Bridge, there to force the passage of the river; but the road leading to Waterloo
was passed and the northward march continued.
(locally the Hedgeman
) is here confined in narrow limits by bold hills and rocky cliffs, and some miles above the bridge there is a road through these crossing the river at Hinson's Mills.
The picturesque surroundings of the ford at this place and the cool bath into which the men plunged were not the less enjoyed because of the unexpected absence of opposition by the enemy; and after the inevitable delay which accompanies any crossing of a watercourse by an army, Jackson
's corps stood on the same side of the river with the entire Federal army.
After crossing, Colonel Thomas T. Munford
's 2d Virginia Cavalry picketed the roads leading in the direction of the enemy, whose whole force, now confronting Longstreet
alone, was massed within lines drawn from Warrenton
on the north to the Orange and Alexandria Railroad (now called the Midland) on the south.
's course was not directed toward the enemy.
We were marching toward the lower Valley of Virginia, with our destination shrouded in mystery.
From the crossing at Hinson's Mills, Jackson
's course still took the same direction — through the little village of Orlean
, along the base of a small mountain which crops up in Fauquier County
, and on to the little town of Salem
, where his “foot cavalry,” after a march of over twenty-six miles on a midsummer's day, rested for the night.
At dawn on the 26th the route was resumed — this day at right angles with the direction of that of the preceding, and now, with faces set to the sunrise, the troops advanced toward the Bull Run Mountains
, which loomed up across the pathway.
Thoroughfare Gap, of this range, is the outlet by which the Manassas Gap Railroad, passing from the Shenandoah Valley, penetrates the last mountain obstruction on its way to tide-water.
Marching along the graded bed of this road, between the spurs and cliffs which rise on either side, and refreshed by the cooler atmosphere of the mountain elevation, the Confederate
troops poured through the narrow pathway and streamed down into the plain below.
Used to scanty diet, they had early learned the art of supplementing their slender commissariat, and the tempting corn-fields along which they passed were made to pay tribute.
, on the Warrenton and Alexandria turnpike
, we were overtaken by Stuart
, who, with Fitz Lee
's and Robertson
's brigades, had crossed the Rappahannock
that morning and pursued nearly the same route with Jackson
; and our subsequent movements were greatly aided and influenced by the admirable manner in which the cavalry was employed and managed by Stuart
and his accomplished officers.
Late in the afternoon Ewell
's division, preceded by Munford
's cavalry, reached the Orange and Alexandria Railroad at Bristoe Station, the other two divisions being halted for the night a little short of that point.
, with his cavalry, dashed upon the station, dispersed a party of the same arm, and had a sharp skirmish with a company of infantry who took shelter in the houses; but he failed to stop a train which sped recklessly past, throwing aside the obstructions
Map: relative position of forces at sunset, August 26, 1862.|
he had placed upon the track and effecting its escape.
General Henry Horno
's) brigade, of General Ewell
's division, however, quickly reinforcing him, two other trains and several prisoners were captured.
Wearied, as they were, with a march of over thirty miles, Jackson
determined, nevertheless, to tax still further the powers of endurance of his men. At Manassas Junction
was established a vast depot of quartermaster's, commissary, and ordnance stores; and it was also a “city of refuge” for many runaway negroes of all ages and of both sexes.
The extent of the defenses, and of the force detailed for its protection, could not be known; but as it was far in the rear of the Federal
army, not very distant from Alexandria
, and directly on the line of communication and reinforcement?
it was not probable that any large force had been detached for its protection.
General Stonewall Jackson
's habit in the valley had been to make enforced requisitions upon the Federal
commissaries for his subsistence supplies; and the tempting opportunity of continuing this policy and rationing his hungry command, as well as inflicting almost irreparable loss upon the enemy, was not to be neglected.
volunteered to execute the enterprise with five hundred men, and his offer was readily accepted; but “to increase the prospect of success,” Stuart
, with a portion of his cavalry, was ordered to cooperate with him. The enemy were not taken by surprise, and opened with their artillery upon the first intimation of attack, but their force was too small; their cannon were taken at the point of the bayonet, and without the loss of a man killed, and with but fifteen wounded, the immense stores, eight guns, and three hundred prisoners fell into our
Supper after a hard March.|
Early next morning A. P. Hill
's division and mine were moved to the Junction
's remaining at Bristoe
Our troops at Manassas
had barely been placed in position before a gallant effort was made by General Taylor
, with a New Jersey brigade, to drive off the supposed raiding party and recapture the stores; but, rushing upon over-whelming numbers, he lost his own life, two hundred prisoners, and the train that had transported them from Alexandria
The railroad bridge over Bull Run
was destroyed, severing communication with Alexandria
, the roads were picketed, and Fitz Lee
's cavalry pushed forward as far as Fairfax Court House on the turnpike and Burke's Station on the railroad.
The long march of over fifty-six miles in two days entitled Jackson
's men to a holiday, and the day of rest at Manassas Junction
was fully enjoyed.
There was no
lack or stint of good cheer, in the way of edibles, from canned meats to caramels.
Map: relative positions of forces at sunset.
August 27, 1862.|
had now severed the communications of the enemy, broken down the bridges behind them, and destroyed their enormous reserve supplies.
But this, which might have been accomplished by a raiding party, was by no means the only object of his enterprise; the object was beyond that — to deliver a stunning blow upon his adversary, if possible without hazard to himself.
His plans, no doubt conditionally discussed with General Lee
before he started on the expedition, were determined without hesitation at Manassas
He could throw himself north of Bull Run
and await the coming of Pope
,--who he believed would retreat along the line of the railroad and turnpike,--thus taking the chances of holding him in check until Longstreet
came in to crush him from behind.
The conditions of the problem were these: he must place himself on the enemy's flank, so as to avoid the full shock of his whole force if Longstreet
should be delayed, and at the same time where he could himself strike effectively; he must remain within reach of Longstreet
, in order to insure a more speedy concentration; and he must seek some point from which, in the event that Longstreet
's advance should be barred, he might aid in removing the obstacle, or, in case of necessity, withdraw his corps and reunite it with the rest of the army behind the Bull Run Mountains
The point that satisfied these requirements was west of Bull Run
and north of the Warrenton turnpike
, and within striking distance of Aldie Gap as the line of retreat.
That position Jackson
determined to occupy, and there was nothing to prevent or disconcert his plans.
A glance at the map will show that Jackson
was really master of the situation — that neither General Lee
nor himself had forced his command into a trap, but, on the contrary, he was at that time not even menaced; and if he had been, the gateways of retreat were wide open.
His march had been made with such celerity, his flanks guarded with such consummate skill, that he
Map: relative positions of forces at sunset.
August 28, 1862.|
was in no hurry to execute those tactical movements which he recognized as essential to his safety and to the delivery of his heaviest blows.
On one flank, Fitz Lee
was as near to Alexandria
as to Manassas Junction
; and, on the other, Munford
were in advance of Bristoe
was resting — as a man full of life and vigor, ready to start into action at the first touch — but he rested in the consciousness of security.
The Federal commander, around whose flank and rear fourteen brigades of infantry, two of cavalry, and eighteen light batteries had passed, was also resting-but in profound ignorance.
On the 26th he ordered Heintzelman
The Stone Bridge, Bull Run, from the North bank.
From a sketch made in 1884.|
“ to send a regiment” from Warrenton
, “to repair the wires and protect the railroad.”
Aroused, however, on the evening of the 27th, to some appreciation of the condition of affairs, he sent one division (Hookers
) of Heintzelman
's corps to Bristoe
, which attacked the brigades of Lawton
, and Forno
's) of Ewell
's division, who successively retired, as they had been directed to do, with little loss, upon the main body at Manassas Junction
At his leisure, Jackson
now proceeded to execute his projected movements.
A. P. Hill
was ordered to Centreville
to cross Bull Run
at Blackburn's Ford and follow the stream to the stone bridge, and my division by the Sudley
road, to the left of the other routes, to the vicinity of Sudley Mills, north of the Warrenton pike
, where the whole command was to be concentrated.
The immense accumulation of stores and the captured trains were set on fire about midnight and destroyed2
[see p. 511]; and at night the troops took up their march, Jackson
accompanying his old division then under my command.
The night was starlit but moonless, and a slight mist or haze which settled about the earth made it difficult to distinguish objects at any distance.
encumbered by baggage, and with roads free from the blockade of trains, the march was made without serious impediment or difficulty.
The enemy was again deceived.
A. P. Hill
's march to Centreville
was mistaken for that of the whole command; Jackson
was supposed to be between Bull Run
; and now, instead of a regiment, the whole Federal army was ordered to concentrate on Manassas
for the pursuit.
Early on the morning of the 28th, Colonel Bradley T. Johnson
, commanding a brigade of my division, was ordered down the Warrenton
road toward Gainesville
, with directions to picket the roads converging upon the
The Union monument near the “deep cut.”
from a sketch made in 1884.
(see maps, pp. 473, 509.)|
turnpike near that place.
had already placed a small cavalry force on this road and north of it, at Hay Market.
, holding Groveton
as his reserve, picketed the road as directed, pushed Captain George R. Gaither
's troop of cavalry, which he found on picket, still farther on in the direction of Warrenton
, and made dispositions to prevent surprise, and to check, if necessary, any advance of the enemy.
's division having now come up and united with the troops of my command, Jackson
determined to rest and await further developments.
had the good fortune to capture a courier conveying a dispatch from General McDowell
to Generals Sigel
, which revealed General Pope
's intention of concentrating on Manassas Junction
being ordered to march on that point from Gainesville
, with his right resting on the Manassas Gap Railroad; Reynolds
, also from Gainesville
, to keep his left on the Warrenton
road; and King
's division to move en échelon
in support of the other two.
In the execution of this order, Reynolds
's column struck Johnson
's command; but after a short conflict, which was well sustained on both sides, the Federal
commander, mistaking Johnson
's force for a reconnoitering party, turned off to the right, on the road to Manassas
then, by order of General Stuart
, took position, which he held for the rest of the day, north and west of the turnpike.
's messenger, bearing the captured order, found the Confederate
headquarters established on the shady side of an old-fashioned worm fence, in the corners of which General Jackson
and his two division commanders were profoundly sleeping after the fatigues of the preceding night, notwithstanding the intense heat of that August day. There was not so much as an ambulance at those headquarters.
The headquarters' train was back beyond the Rappahannock
), with servants, camp-equipage, and all the arrangements for cooking and serving food.
All the property of the general,
The “deep cut.”
from A sketch made in 1884.
If this picture were extended a little to the left it would include the Union monument.
General Bradley T. Johnson, commanding a brigade in Jackson's old division, in his official report describes Porter's assault at this point on Saturday, August 30th, as follows: |
“About 4 P. M. the movements of the enemy were suddenly developed in a decided manner.
They stormed my position, deploying in the woods in brigade front and then charging in a run, line after line, brigade after brigade, up the hill on the thicket held by the 48th, and the railroad cut occupied by the 42d. . . . Before the railroad cut the fight was most obstinate.
I saw a Federal flag hold its position for half an hour within ten yards of a flag of one of the regiments in the cut, and go down 6 or 8 times; and after the fight 100 dead men were lying 20 yards from the cut, some of them within two feet of it. The men fought until their ammunition was exhausted and then threw stones.
Lieutenant----of the battalion killed one with a stone, and I saw him after the fight with his skull fractured.
Dr. Richard P. Johnson, on my volunteer staff, having no arms of any kind, was obliged to have recourse to this means of offense from the beginning.
As line after line surged up the hill time after time, led up by their officers, they were dashed back on one another until the whole field was covered with a confused mass of struggling, running, routed Yankees.”
[See note to picture, p. 485.] Editors.
the staff, and of the headquarters' bureau, was strapped to the pommels and cantles of the saddles, and these formed the pillows of their weary owners.
The captured dispatch aroused Jackson
like an electric shock.
He was essentially a man of action; he rarely, if ever, hesitated; he never asked advice; he did not seem to reflect, or reason out a purpose; but he leaped by instinct and not by the slower process of ordinary ratiocination to a conclusion, and then as rapidly undertook its execution.
He called no council to discuss the situation disclosed by this communication, although his ranking officers were almost at his side; he asked no conference, no expression of opinion; he made no suggestion, but simply, without a word except to repeat the language of the dispatch, turned to me and said, “Move your division and attack the enemy” ; and to Ewell
, “Support the attack.”
The slumbering soldiers sprang from the earth with the first summons.
There was nothing for them to do but to form, and take their pieces.
They were sleeping almost in ranks;
and by the time the horses of their officers were saddled, the long lines of infantry were moving to the anticipated battle-field.
The two divisions, after marching some distance to the north of the turnpike, finding no enemy, were halted and rested, and the prospect of an engagement on that afternoon [the 28th] seemed to disappear with the lengthening shadows.
The enemy did not come — he could not be found — the Warrenton pike
, along which it was supposed he would march, was in view — but it was as free from Federal soldiery as it had been two days before, when Jackson
's men had streamed along its highway.
's division was in rear of mine, both lines fronting the turnpike.
Beyond this road a pleasant farm-house, with shaded lawn and conspicuous dairy, invited the heated soldiers to its cool retreat and suggested tempting visions of milk and butter.
Application was made by some of the men for permission to test the hospitality of the residents and the quality of their dairy products.
They went and returned just as General Ewell
happened to ride to the front.
He heard their favorable report, and, laughingly suggesting that a canteen of buttermilk was a delicacy not to be despised on such an evening by the commander-in-chief
himself, requested another party to procure for him the coveted luxury.
As these men reached the farmhouse a straggling party of the enemy, doubtless attracted by the same object, came in sight and made straight for what they supposed to be their comrades.
A closer , approach revealed the distinctive uniforms of enemies and brought about a brief but lively skirmish, from which both parties soon retired upon their respective friends — the Confederates
, however, bearing off the spolia opima. General Ewell
reaped the fruits of the contest, for he obtained and enjoyed his canteen of buttermilk.
Shortly after this, then late in the afternoon, the Federal
columns were discovered passing, and the Confederate
Jackson's line on the afternoon of the last day, August 30th.
The topography is after General Beauregard's map, made from survey after the first battle of Bull Run.
The deep cut and the embankment as far as the “Dump” were the scene of the fighting with stones, illustrated on p. 534. Here the unfinished railroad embankment is made of earth and blasted rock taken front the cut. The “Dump” was a break in the embankment, or rather a space which was never filled in; several hundred Union soldiers were buried near it.--Editors. |
line, formed parallel to the turnpike, moved rapidly forward to the attack.
There was no disposition on the part of the Federals
to avoid the onset, but, on the contrary, they met us half-way.
It was a sanguinary field; none was better contested during the war. The Federal artillery was admirably served, and at one time the annihilation of our batteries seemed inevitable, so destructive was the fire; but the Confederate
Sudley Church, from the Sudley Springs road.
A hospital in both Bull Run battles.
From a photograph taken shortly before the Second battle.|
guns, although forced to retire and seek new positions, responded with a determination and pluck unshaken by the fiery tempest they had encountered.
A farm-house, an orchard, a few stacks of hay, and a rotten “worm” fence were the only cover afforded to the opposing lines of infantry; it was a stand — up combat, dogged and unflinching, in a field almost bare.
There were no wounds from spent balls; the confronting lines looked into each other's faces at deadly range, less than one hundred yards apart, and they stood as immovable as the painted heroes in a battle-piece.
There was cover of woods not very far in rear of the lines on both sides, and brave men — with that instinct of self-preservation which is exhibited in the veteran soldier, who seizes every advantage of ground or obstacle — might have been justified in slowly seeking this shelter from the iron hail that smote them; but out in the sunlight, in the dying daylight, and under the stars, they stood, and although they could not advance, they would not retire.
There was some discipline in this, but there was much more of true valor.
In this fight there was no manoeuvring, and very little tactics — it was a question of endurance, and both endured.
The loss was unusually heavy on both sides.
On ours, both division commanders, Ewell
and myself, were seriously wounded, and several field-officers were killed or wounded.
Federal reports state that “more than one-third of their commanders were left dead or wounded on the field,” while Confederate accounts claim that the enemy slowly fell back about 9 o'clock at night, but the other side assert that they did not retire until 1 o'clock. It was dark, and the Confederates
did not advance, and it may be called a drawn battle as a tribute due by either side to the gallantry of the other.
Five of Jackson
's brigades took part in the conflict, Lawton
's and Trimble
's of Ewell
's, and Starke
's, and Baylor
's, of Jackson
's old division.
's, and Johnson
's brigades were not engaged, nor were any of the brigades of General A. P. Hill
The Federal troops
encountered were those of King
's division, and consisted of the brigade of Gibbon
and two regiments of Doubleday
During our engagement at Groveton
the white puffs in the air, seen away off to the Confederate
right, and the sounds of sharp but distant explosions coming to our ears, foretold the passage of Thoroughfare Gap; and the next day, before noon, Longstreet
's advance, under Hood
, mingled their hurrahs with those of our men.4
The march and the manoeuvres of Jackson
had been a success;5
the army was reunited, and ready, under its great head, to strike with both of its strong arms the blows he should direct.
Ruins of the Henry House, burned during the first battle of Bull Run.
From a photograph probably taken in March, 1862.|
Our March against Pope.|
as they floated high up in the air, well out of the range of our guns.
While we were longing for the balloons that poverty denied us, a genius arose for the occasion and suggested that we send out and gather together all the silk dresses in the Confederacy
and make a balloon.
It was done, and soon we had a great patchwork ship of many and varied hues which was ready for use in the Seven Days campaign.
We had no gas except in Richmond
, and it was the custom to inflate the balloon there, tie it securely to an engine, and run it down the York River Railroad to any point at which we desired to send it up. One day it was on a steamer down the James
when the tide went out and left vessel and balloon high and dry on a bar. The Federals gathered it in, and with it the last silk dress in the Confederacy
This capture was the meanest trick of the war and one I have never yet forgiven.
By the Seven Days fighting around Richmond General Lee
's plans for a siege.
At the end of that campaign Lee
retired to Richmond
withdrew his forces to Westover Landing, where intrenchments and gun-boats made him secure from attack.
As his new position, thus guarded and protected by the navy, was not assailable, General Lee
, resuming the defensive at Richmond
, resolved to strike out by his left in the direction of Washington
, with the idea that the Army of the Potomac might be forced to abandon the James River
, in defense of its own capital, threatened by this move.
Contemporaneously with our operations on the Chickahominy
, the Washington
authorities had been organizing the Army of Virginia of three efficient corps d'armee; and, continuing the search for a young Napoleon
, had assigned General Pope
, fresh from the West
, with his new laurels, to command this select organization.
This army, under its dashing leader, was at the same time moving toward Richmond
by the Orange and Alexandria Railway, so that our move by the left had also in view the Army of Virginia, as the first obstacle in the way of relief to Richmond
— an obstacle to be removed, if possible, before it could be greatly reinforced from other commands.
The assignment of General John Pope
to command was announced in Richmond
three days after the orders were issued in Washington
, and the flourish of trumpets over the manner in which the campaign was to be conducted soon followed.
He was reported to have adopted a favorite expression of General Worth
's, “Headquarters in the saddle, sir!”
and to be riding with as much confidence as that old chieftain when searching the everglades of Florida
for the Seminole Indians
had not known Pope
intimately, but accepted the popular opinion of him as a boastful man, quite ambitious to accomplish great results, but unwilling to study closely and properly the means necessary to gratify his desires in that direction.
was credited with other expressions, such as that he cared not for his rear; that he hoped in Virginia
to see the faces of the rebels, as in the West
he had been able to see only their backs.
When General Lee
heard of these strange utterances his estimate of Pope
was considerably lessened.
The high-sounding words seemed to come from
a commander inexperienced in warfare.
For centuries there has been among soldiers a maxim: “Don't despise your enemy.”
's words would seem to indicate great contempt for his enemy.
Unfortunately for him our troops, at that time, were not so well clad that they cared to show their backs.
With the double purpose of drawing McClellan
away from Westover
, and of checking the advance of the new enemy then approaching from Washington
by the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, General Lee
sent Stonewall Jackson
, while I remained near Richmond
to engage McClellan
in case he should attempt an advance upon the Confederate
had his own division and that of General R. S. Ewell
, and later A. P. Hill
was sent to reinforce him. McDowell
was already in cooperation with Pope
, part of his command, however, being still at Fredericksburg
On the 9th of August Jackson
encountered the enemy near Slaughter
or Cedar Mountain
[See page 459.] There the battle of Cedar Run
was fought and the Federals
In this fight, about 5 o'clock in the afternoon, the Federals
, by a well-executed move, were pressing the Confederates
back, when the opportune approach of two brigades changed the scene, and a counter-attack from our side drove them back in disorder and left us masters of the field.
We followed them some distance, but Jackson
thought them too strongly reinforced for us to continue the pursuit and risk severe battle in a disjointed way; so, after caring for our wounded and dead, we retired to a position behind the Rapidan
to await the arrival of General Lee
with other forces.
Thus on his first meeting with the Confederates
the new Federal commander went to the rear — a direction he was wholly unused to. At that time General Lee
was feeling very certain that Richmond
was in no immediate danger from an advance by McClellan
He therefore began at once preparations for a vigorous campaign against Pope
Divisions under Generals R. H. Anderson
, Lafayette McLaws
, J. G. Walker
, and D. H. Hill
were left to watch McClellan
, with instructions to follow the main body of the army as soon as the Federals
were drawn away from Westover
On the 13th of August my command was ordered to Gordonsville
, and General Lee
accompanied me there.
's troops were stationed on the left of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, and I went into camp on the right of Gordonsville
Northward was the Rapidan River
, several miles distant.
Farther on, at Culpeper Court House, was the army of Pope
, and farther still was the Rappahannock River
A little in advance of my position was Clark's Mountain, rising several hundred feet above the surrounding hills.
With General Lee
I proceeded to the mountain, and, climbing to its summit, we raised our glasses and turned them to the north.
There, between the two rivers, clustering around Culpeper Court House, and perhaps fifteen miles away, we saw the flags of Pope
's army floating placidly above the tops of the trees.
From the summit of the mountain we beheld the enemy occupying ground so weak as to invite attack.
Realizing the situation, General Lee
determined on speedy work, and gave orders that his army should cross the Rapidan
on the 18th and make battle.
He was exceedingly anxious to move at once, before Pope
could get reinforcements.
For some reason not fully explained, our movements were delayed and we did not cross the Rapidan
until the 20th.
In the meantime a dispatch to General Stuart
was captured by Pope
, which gave information of our presence and contemplated advance.
This, with information Pope
already had, caused him to withdraw to a very strong position behind the Rappahannock River
, and there, instead of at Culpeper Court House, where the attack was first
A Straggler on the line of March.|
meant to be made, General Lee
found him. I approached the Rappahannock
at Kelly's Ford
, and Jackson
approached higher up at Beverly Ford, near the Orange and Alexandria Railroad bridge.
We reached the river on the morning of the 21st, without serious opposition, and found Pope
in an almost unassailable position, with heavy reenforcemnents summoned to his aid. General Lee
's intention was to force a passage and make the attack before Pope
We hoped to be able to interpose, and to strike Pope
's reinforcements could reach him. We know at that time that McClellan
was withdrawing from Westover
I was preparing to force a passage at Kelly's Ford
, when I received an order from General Lee
to proceed to Beverly Ford and mask the movements of Jackson
, who was to be sent up the river to cross by a left flank movement.
On the 22d Jackson
withdrew carefully and went on the proposed move.
He sought an opportunity to cross farther up the stream, and succeeded in putting part of his command across at Warrenton Springs Ford
occupying a position there.
The flooding rains interrupted his operations, making the river past fording and crippling all attempts at forcing a passage.
therefore withdrew his forces at night by a temporary bridge.
As the lower fords became impassable by reason of the floods, the Federals
seemed to concentrate against Jackson
On the 23d I had quite a spirited artillery combat at Beverly Ford with a force of the enemy that had crossed at the railroad bridge near where I was stationed.
The superior position and metal of the Federals
gave them an advantage, which they improved by skillful practice.
We had more guns, however, and by practice equally clever at length gained the advantage.
A little before night the Federals
withdrew from the combat, and, finding that we had gotten the better of them, set fire to a number of farm-houses in the locality.
Pending our movements south-west of the Rappahannock
, General Stuart
had been making an effort to go around Pope
's army, but, fearing to remain on the Washington
side of the river in the face of such floods as had come, recrossed with some important dispatches he had captured by a charge upon Pope
's headquarters train [see p. 528]. This correspondence confirmed the information we already had, that the Federal
army on the James
and the Federal
troops in the Kanawha Valley
had been ordered to reinforce Pope
[see p. 278]. Upon receipt of that information, General Lee
was more anxious than ever to cross at once.
, however, was on the alert, and Lee
found he could not attack him to advantage in his stronghold behind the Rappahannock
therefore decided to change his whole plan, and was gratified, on looking at the map, to find a very comfortable way of turning Pope
out of his position.
It was by moving Jackson
off to our left, and far to the rear of the Federal
army, while I remained in front with thirty thousand men to engage him in case he should offer to fight.
On the 25th Jackson
crossed the Rappahannock
at Hinson's Mill, four miles above Waterloo Bridge, and that night encamped at Salem
The next day he passed through Thoroughfare Gap and moved on by Gainesville
, and when sunset came he was many miles in the rear of Pope
's army, and between it and Washington
This daring move must have staggered the Federal
From the Rappahannock
had gone without serious opposition to within a stone's-throw of the field where the first battle of Manassas
When he arrived at Bristoe Station, just before night, the greater part of the Federal guard at that point fled, and two trains of cars coming from the direction of Warrenton
sent a force forward seven miles and captured Manassas Junction
, taking eight pieces of artillery, a lot of prisoners, and great quantities of commissary and quartermaster's stores.
He left a force at Bristoe Station and proceeded to the Junction
, arriving there himself on the morning of the 27th.
During the afternoon the enemy attacked our troops at Bristoe Station, coming from the direction of Warrenton Junction in such force that it was evident Pope
had discovered the situation and was moving with his entire army upon Jackson
The Confederates at the station withdrew, after
a sharp engagement, and the Federals
appropriated such of the supplies captured at Manassas
as he could use, and burned the rest.
He then moved over to a position north of the turnpike leading from Warrenton
There, on the old battle-field, Jackson
waited for the Federals
On the evening of the 28th King
's division came moving east — ward down the turnpike and Jackson
A bloody fight ensued, lasting until 9 o'clock at night.
The enemy withdrew, leaving the Confederates
in possession of the field.
That same evening I arrived at Thoroughfare Gap.
But I should say that during Jackson
's march I had been engaging Pope
at different points along the Rappahannock
, to impress him with the idea that I was attempting to force a passage in his front.
On the afternoon of the 26th, Pope
's army broke away from its strong position to meet Jackson
's daring and unexpected move.
decided that I should follow at once, and asked whether I would prefer to force a passage of the river, now rapidly falling, or take the route by which Jackson
From the crossing along the route to Warrenton
were numerous strongly defensive positions where a small force could have detained me an uncertain length of time.
I therefore decided to take Jackson
's route, and on the 26th I started.
On the 28th, just before night, I arrived at Thoroughfare Gap.
As we approached, a report was made to me that the pass was unoccupied, and we went into bivouac on the west side of the mountain, sending a brigade under Anderson
down to occupy the pass.
As the Confederates
neared the gap from one side, Ricketts
's division of Federals approached from the other and took possession of the east side.
Thoroughfare Gap is a rough pass in the Bull Run Mountains
, at some points not more than a hundred yards wide.
A turbid stream rushes over its rugged bottom, on both sides of which the mountain rises several hundred feet. On the north the face of the gap is almost perpendicular.
The south face is less precipitous, but is covered with tangled mountain ivy and projecting bowlders, forming a position unassailable when occupied by a small infantry and artillery force.
Up to this moment we had received reports from General Jackson
, at regular intervals, assuring us of his successful operations, and of confidence in his ability to baffle all efforts of the enemy till we should reach him. This sudden interposition of a force at a mountain pass indicated a purpose on the part of the adversary to hold me in ch eck, while overwhelming forces were being brought against Jackson
This placed us in a desperate strait; for we were within relieving distance, and must adopt prompt and vigorous measures that would burst through all opposition.
Three miles north was Hopewell Gap, and it was necessary to get possession of this in advance of the Federals
, in order to have that vantage-ground for a flank movement, at the same time that we forced our way by footpaths over the mountain heights at Thoroughfare Gap.
During the night I sent Wilcox
with three brigades through that pass, while Hood
was climbing over the mountain at Thoroughfare by a trail.
We had no trouble in getting over, and our apprehensions were relieved at the early dawn of the 29th by finding that Ricketts
had given up the east side of the gap and was many
View of Jackson's position as seen from Groveton corners.
From a recent photograph.
The farthest ridge is the line of the unfinished railway.
Jackson's center occupied the ground in the right of the picture.
There, on elevated open ground, the front of a deep cut, stands the Union monument.
[See map, p. 509.] |
hours in advance of us, moving in the direction of Manassas Junction
His force, instead of marching around Jackson
, could have been thrown against his right and rear.
had made this move and the forces in front had cooperated with him, such an attack, well handled, might have given us serious trouble before I reached the field.
As we found the pass open at early dawn and a clean road in front, we marched leisurely to unite our forces on Manassas plains.
Before reaching Gainesville
we heard the artillery combat in front, and our men involuntarily quickened their steps.
Our communications with Jackson
were quite regular, and as he had not expressed a wish that we should hurry, our troops were allowed to take their natural swing under the inspiration of impending battle.
As we approached the field the fire seemed to become more spirited, and gave additional impulse to our movements.
According to the diary of the Washington Artillery we filed down the turnpike at Gainesville
at 11:30 A. M.7
The general impression was that we were there earlier; but this is the only record of time we made on the ground.
We marched steadily from daylight till we reached the field, with the exception of an hours halt to permit Stuart
's cavalry to file from east to west of us. There were many of Jackson
's men — several thousand--straggling at points along the road, who were taken for my men, and reported as such.
Passing through Gainesville
we filed off to the left down the turnpike, and
soon came in sight of the troops held at bay by Jackson
Our line of march brought us in on the left and rear of the Federals
At sight of this favorable opportunity our artillery was ordered up, with the leading brigades for its support.
Our advance was discovered, however, and the Federals
withdrew from attack, retiring their left across the pike behind Groveton
, and taking strong defensive ground.
The battalion of Washington Artillery was thrown forward to a favorable position on Jackson
's right, and from that point my line was deployed so as to extend it to the right some distance beyond the Manassas Gap Railroad.
A Federal corps was reported to be at Manassas Junction
that morning, and we trail-traced Ricketts
's division from Thoroughfare Gap toward the same point; my line was now arranged for attack in front and also to guard against the force in the direction of the Junction
This preparation must have taken an hour — possibly more.
As soon as the troops were arranged, General Lee
expressed his wish to have me attack.
The change of position on the part of the Federals
, however, involved sufficient delay for a reconnoissance on our part.
To hasten matters I rode over in the direction of Brewer's Spring, east of the Hampton Cole House
[see map, p. 482], to see the new position, and had a fair view of the Federal
line, then extending some distance south of the turnpike.
The position was not inviting, and I so reported to General Lee
The two great armies were now face to face upon the memorable field of 1861; both in good defensible positions and both anxious to find a point for an entering wedge into the stronghold of the adversary.
It appeared easy for us, except for the unknown quantity at Manassas Junction
, to overleap the Federal
left and strike a decisive blow.
This force at the Junction
was a thorn in our side which could not be ignored.
was quite disappointed by my report against immediate attack along the turnpike, and insisted that by throwing some of the brigades beyond the Federal
left their position would be broken up and a favorable field gained.
While talking the matter over, General Stuart
reported the advance of heavy forces from the direction of Manassas Junction
against my right.
It proved to be McDowell
I called over three brigades, under Wilcox
, and prepared to receive the attack.
Battle was not offered, and I reported to General Lee
some time afterward that I did not think the force on my right was strong enough to attack us. General Lee
urged me to go in, and of course I was anxious to meet his wishes.
At the same time I wanted, more than anything else, to know that my troops had a chance to accomplish what they might undertake.
The ground before me was greatly to the advantage of the Federals
, but if the attack had come from them it would have been a favorable opportunity for me. After a short while McDowell
moved toward the Federal
right, leaving Porter
in front of my right with nine thousand men. My estimate of his force, at the time, was ten thousand. General Lee
, finding that attack was not likely, again became anxious to bring on the battle by attacking down the Groveton pike
I suggested that, the day being far spent, it might be as well to advance just before night upon a forced reconnoissance, get our troops into the most favorable positions, and have all things ready for battle
at daylight the next morning.
To this he reluctan tly gave consent, and our plans were laid accordingly.
returned to position on the left of the turnpike.
Orders were given for an advance, to be pursued under cover of night until the main position could be carefully examined.
It so happened that an order to advance was issued on the other side at the same time, so that the encounter was something of a surprise on both sides.
A very spirited engagement was the result, we being successful, so far at least as to carry our point, capturing a piece of artillery and making our reconnoissance before midnight. As none of the reports received of the Federal
positions favored attack, I so explained to General Lee
, and our forces were ordered back to their original positions.
The gun which we had captured was ordered to be cut down, spiked, and left on the ground.
When Saturday the 30th broke, we were a little apprehensive that Pope
was going to get away from us, and Pope
was afraid that we were going to get away from him. He telegraphed to Washington
that I was in full retreat and he was preparing to follow, while we, thinking he was trying to escape, were making arrangements for moving by our left across Bull Run
, so as to get over on the Little River pike
move down parallel to his lines and try to interpose between him and Washington
We had about completed our arrangements, and took it for granted that Pope
would move out that night by the Warrenton and Centreville pike
, and that we could move parallel with him along the Little River pike
. General Lee
was still anxious to give Pope
battle on Manassas plains, but had given up the idea of attacking him in his strong position.
Shortly before nine on the 30th, Pope
's artillery began to play a little, and not long afterward some of his infantry force was seen in motion.
We did not understand that as an offer of battle, but merely as a display to cover his movements to the rear.
Later a considerable force moved out and began to attack us on our left, extending and engaging the whole of Jackson
supposed that I was gone, as he was ignoring me entirely.
His whole army seemed to surge up against Jackson
as if to crush him with an overwhelming mass.
At the critical moment I happened to be riding to the front of my line to find a place where I might get in for my share of the battle.
I reached a point a few rods in front of my line on the left of the pike where I could plainly see the Federals
as they rushed in heavy masses against the obstinate ranks of the Confederate
It was a grand display of
well-organized attack, thoroughly concentrated and operating cleverly.
So terrible was the onslaught that Jackson
sent to me and begged for reinforcements.
About the same time I received an order from General Lee
to the same effect.
To retire from my advanced position in front of the Federals
and get to Jackson
would have taken an hour and a half.
I had discovered a prominent position that commanded a view of the great struggle, and realizing the opportunity, I quickly ordered out three batteries, making twelve guns.
Lieutenant Wm. H. Chapman
's Dixie Battery of four guns was the first to report and was placed in position to rake the Federal
ranks that seemed determined to break through Jackson
In a moment a heavy fire of shot and shell was being poured into the thick columns of the enemy, and in ten minutes their stubborn masses began to waver and give back.
For a moment there was chaos; then order returned and they re-formed, apparently to renew the attack.
Meanwhile my other eight pieces reported to me, and from the crest of the little hill the fire of t welve guns cut them down.
As the cannon thundered the ranks broke, only to be formed again with dogged determination.
A third time the batteries tore the Federals
to pieces, and as they fell back under this terrible fire, I sprung everything to the charge.
My troops leaped forward with exultant yells, and all along the line we pushed forward.
Farther and still farther back we pressed them, until at 10 o'clock at night we had the field; Pope
was across Bull Run
, and the victorious Confederates lay down on the battle-ground to sleep, while all around were strewn thousands--friend and foe, sleeping the last sleep together.
The next morning the Federals
were in a strong position at Centreville
I sent a brigade across Bull Run
under General Pryor
and occupied a point over there near Centreville
As our troops proceeded to bury their dead, it began to rain, as it had done on the day after the first battle of Manassas
As soon as General Lee
could make his preparations, he ordered Jackson
to cross Bull Run
's and turn the position of the Federals
; and the next day, September 1st, I followed him. But the enemy discovered our turning movement, abandoned Centreville
, and put out toward Washington
On the evening of September 1st Jackson
encountered a part of the Federal
force at Ox Hill
; see map, p. 450], and, attacking it, had quite a sharp engagement.
I came up just before night and found his men retiring in a good deal of confusion.
I asked Jackson
what the situation was, and added that his men seemed to be pretty well dispersed.
He said, “Yes, but I hope it will prove a victory.”
I moved my troops out and occupied the lines where he had been, relieving the few men who were on picket.
Just as we reached there General Kearny
, a Federal officer, came along looking for his line, that had disappeared.
It was raining in the woods, and was so late in the day that a Federal was not easily distinguished from a Confederate.
did not seem to know that he was in the Confederate
line, and our troops did not notice that he was a Federal.
He began to inquire about some command, and in a moment or so the men saw that he was a Federal officer.
At the same moment he realized where he was. He was called upon to surrender, but instead of doing so he wheeled his
View Froom the Henry Hill during the attack upon Jackson, about four O'Clock, August 30th.
From a sketch made at the time.
In the foreground Reynolds's division is marching to the defense of the left flank, where Milroy is fighting on Bald Hill.
The stone house on the turnpike is seen in the hollow.--Editors. |
horse, lay flat on the animal's neck, clapped spurs into his sides and dashed off. Instantly a half-dozen shots rang out, and before he had gone thirty steps he fell.
He had been in the army all his life, and we knew him and respected him. His body was sent over the lines under a flag of truce.
[See p. 538.] The forces we had been fighting at Ox Hill
proved to be the rearguard covering the retreat of the Federals
They escaped and we abandoned further pursuit.
The entire Bull Run
campaign up to Ox Hill
was clever and brilliant.
It was conceived entirely by General Lee
, who held no such consultation over it as he had done in beginning the Seven Days campaign.
The movement around Pope
was not as strong as it should have been.
A skillful man could have concentrated against me or Jackson
, and given us severe battles in detail.
I suppose Pope
tried to get too many men against Jackson
If he had been satisfied with a reasonable force he might have overwhelmed him.
, sanguine by nature, was not careful enough to keep himself informed about the movements of his enemy.
At half-past 4 on the afternoon of the 29th, he issued an order for Porter
to attack Jackson
's right, supposing I was at Thoroughfare Gap, when in fact I had been in position since noon, and was anxiously awaiting attack.
It has been said that General Stuart
, by raising a dust in front of Porter
, so impressed him that he did not offer battle.
I know nothing of the truth of the story, and never heard of it till after the war. If from any such cause Porter
was prevented from attacking me, it was to our disadvantage and delayed our victory twenty-four hours. Porter
knew I was in his front.
He had captured one or two of my men, which gave him information of my position before he actually saw me. If Porter
had not appeared when he did I would have attacked by our right
early in the afternoon.
In that event Porter
would have had a fine opportunity to take me on the wing and strike a fearful blow.
As it was, he was a check upon my move against Pope
's main position.
If I had advanced upon Pope
I would have been under an enfilade fire from Porter
's batteries, and if I had advanced upon Porter
I would have been under a fire from the batteries on Pope
's front as severe as the raking fire from my batteries the next day, when Pope
was massed against Jackson
attacked me between noon and night on the 29th, I should have received his nine thousand with about double that number.
I would have held my line to receive the attack, and as soon as his line developed his strength I would have thrown three brigades
forward beyond his extreme left.
When my line of battle had broken up the attack, as it certainly would have done, these three brigades would have been thrown forward at the flank, and at the same time my main line would have pushed on in the pursuit.
The result would have been Porter
's retreat in confusion, and I might possibly have reached Pope
's left and rear in time to cut him off. When his army was well concentrated on the 30th he was badly cut up and defeated.
It does not seem unreasonable to conclude that attack on the 29th in his disjointed condition would have been attended with more disastrous results to him. If I had been attacked under the 4:30 order [see p. 475] the result might have been less damaging, as Porter
would have had the night to cover his retreat, and the Federal
army could have availed itself of the darkness to screen its move across Bull Run
's attack at night, if not followed by the back retreat of the army, would have drawn me around the Federal
left and put me in a position for striking the next day.
Colonel Charles Marshall
, of General Lee
's staff, in his evidence before the Fitz John Porter Board
, puts my forces on the 29th at 30,000.
It is difficult to see how Porter
with 9000 men was to march over 30,000 of the best soldiers the world ever knew.
Any move that would have precipitated battle would have been to our advantage, as we were ready at all points and waiting for an opportunity to fight.
The situation will be better understood when we reflect that the armies were too evenly balanced to admit mistakes on either side.
I was waiting for an opportunity to get into the Federal
lines close upon the heels of their own troops.
The opportunity came on the 30th, but the
Federal army was then concentrated; had it come on the 29th I would have been greatly pleased.
It is proper to state that General Lee
, upon hearing my guns on the 30th, sent me word that if I had anything better than reinforcing Jackson
to pursue it, and soon afterward rode forward and joined me. Jackson
did not respond with spirit to my move, so my men were subjected to a severe artillery, fire from batteries in front of him. General Lee
, seeing this, renewed his orders for Jackson
to press on to the front.
The fire still continued severe, however, and General Lee
, who remained with me, was greatly exposed to it. As we could not persuade him to drop back behind it, I finally induced him to ride into a ravine which threw a traverse be/tween us and the fire, which was more annoying than fire from the front.
On the 31st we were engaged in caring for our wounded and cleaning up the battle-field.
was quite satisfied with the results of the campaign, though he had very little to say. He was not given to expressions of pride.
Under all circumstances he was a moderate talker, and in everything was unassuming.
His headquarters were exceedingly simple.
He had his tents of the same kind as the other officers-perhaps a few more, to accommodate his larger staff.
He made no display of position or rank.
he was specially engaged could a sentinel be seen at the door of his tent.
On the march he usually had his headquarters near mine.
I was graduated with Pope
at West Point
He was a handsome, dashing fellow, and a splendid cavalryman, sitting his horse beautifully.
I think he stood at the head for riding.
He did not apply himself to his books very closely.
He studied about as much as I did, but knew his lessons better.
We were graduated in 1842, but Pope
saw little of active service till the opening of the Civil War
. When he assumed command of the Army of Virginia he was in the prime of life, less than forty years old, and had lost little if any of the dash and grace of his youth.
D. H. Hill
, Lafayette McLaws
, Mansfield Lovell
, Gustavus W. Smith
, R. H. Anderson
, A. P. Stewart
, and Earl Van Dorn
were among the Confederate
commanders who were graduated in the same class with me. Of the Federal
commanders, there were of that class — besides Pope--Generals John Newton
, W. S. Rosecrans
, George Sykes
, Abner Doubleday
, and others less prominent.
came on four years after my class.
had preceded us about fourteen years. General Ewell
, who was hurt in this battle, was in the same class with Tecumseh Sherman
and George H. Thomas
A truer soldier and nobler spirit than Ewell
never drew sword.
was a very daring fellow and the best cavalryman America ever produced.
At the Second Manassas
, soon after we heard of the advance of McDowell
came up and made a report to General Lee
When he had done so General Lee
said he had no orders at that moment, but he requested Stuart
to wait awhile.
turned round in his tracks, lay down on the ground, put a stone under his head and instantly fell asleep.
rode away and in an hour returned.
was still sleeping.
asked for him, and Stuart
sprang to his feet and said, “Here I am, General.”
replied, “I want you to send a message to your troops over on the left to send a few more cavalry over to the right.”
“I would better go myself,” said Stuart
, and with that he swung himself into the saddle and rode off at a rapid gallop, singing as loud as he could, “Jine the cavalry.”
, our Georgia
fire-eater, was given to criticising pretty severely all the officers of the regular army who had joined their fortunes with those of the Confederacy
He was hot-blooded and impatient, and chafed at the delays of the commanders in their preparations for battle.
His general idea was that the troops went out to fight, and he thought they should be
Map: marches of the Webster regiment, 12th Mass. Vols. July, 1861, to June 1864.|
allowed to go at it at once.
An incident that occurred in the second Manassas
campaign will serve to illustrate his characteristic hot-headedness.
As we were preparing to cross the Rapidan
sent me word that he had cut off a large cavalry force and had all the fords guarded except one.
He asked that I detail a force to guard that point of escape.
The work was assigned to the command under General Toombs
, who was absent at the time.
He had met a kindred spirit in the person of a wealthy Virginian named Morton
, whom he had known in Congress, and was out dining with him. They were both good livers and loved to have their friends with them.
In going back to his command General Toombs
came upon his troops on the road and inquired what they were doing there.
The explanation was made.
had had a good dinner and felt independent.
He said he would give the general to understand that he must consult him before sending his troops out to guard a ford, and thereupon he ordered them back to camp.
As the mystified troops marched solemnly back, the matter was reported to me and I ordered Toombs
As we marched against Pope
I allowed him to ride with his command, expecting that he would make some explanation of his conduct.
He did not do so, and the next I heard of him he was stopping along the route and making stump-speeches to the troops and referring in anything but complimentary terms to the commander of his division.
I then sent him back in arrest to Gordonsville
, with instructions to confine himself to the limits of that town until further orders.
He obeyed the command and went to Gordonsville
Just as I was leaving the Rappahannock
, having received a long letter of apology from him, I directed him to join his command.
As we were preparing for the charge at Manassas
He was riding rapidly, with his hat in his hand, and was very much excited.
I was just sending a courier to his command with a dispatch.
“Let me carry it!”
“With pleasure,” I responded, and handed him the paper.
He put spurs to his horse and dashed off, accompanied by a courier.
When he rode up and took command of his brigade there was wild enthusiasm, and, everything being ready, an exultant shout was sent up, and the men sprang to the charge.
I had no more trouble with Toombs