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Doc. 138.-Colonel miles' defence.

Col. Miles commanded the reserves, at the battle of Bull Run. Being accused of drunkenness and other conduct unbecoming a soldier, he published the following card, in the Washington Star, of August 1:

Alexandria, Va., July 31, 1861.
Editor of the Star — dear sir: Will you please give place in your columns to a short reply from an old soldier, in correction of Col. Richardson's report, as published in this morning's Sun. Perhaps no one has ever before been hunted with more assiduous, malicious vituperation and falsehood, since the battle of Bull Run, than myself. My name, I am told, has been a byword in the streets of Washington and its bar-rooms for every thing derogatory to my character. It was stated I had deserted to the enemy; I was a traitor, being from Maryland, a sympathizer; gave the order to retreat; was in arrest, and now, by Col. Richardson's report, drunk.

I shall not copy Richardson's report, but correct the errors he has committed, leaving to his future days a remorse he may feel at the irreparable injury he has inflicted on an old brother officer.

The order for retreat from Blackburn's Ford, as communicated by my staff officer, emanated from Gen. McDowell, who directed two of my brigades to march on the Warrenton road as far as the bridge on Cub Creek. I sent my adjutant-general, Captain Vincent, to bring up Davies' and Richardson's brigades, while I gave the order to Blenker's brigade at Centreville to proceed down the Warrenton road. I accompanied these troops a part of the way, endeavoring to collect and halt the routed soldiers. I returned to Centreville heights as Col. Richardson, [442] with his brigade, was coming into line of battle, facing Blackburn's Ford. His position was well chosen, and I turned my attention to the placing of Davies' brigade and the batteries. A part of Davies' command was placed in echellon of regiments, behind fences, in support of Richardson; another portion in reserve, in support of Hunt's and Titball's batteries.

After completing these arrangements, I returned to Blenker's brigade, now near a mile from Centreville heights, took a regiment to cover Green's battery, and then returned to the heights. When I arrived there just before dusk, I found all my previous arrangements of defence had been changed nor could I ascertain who had ordered it, for Gen. McDowell was not on the field. Col. Richardson was the first person I spoke to after passing Capt. Fry; he was leading his regiment into line of battle on the crest of the hill, and directly in the way of the batteries in rear. It was here the conversation between the Colonel and myself took place which he alludes to in his report. General McDowell just afterward came on to the field, and I appealed earnestly to him to permit me to command my division, and protested against the faulty disposition of the troops to resist an attack. He replied by taking command himself and relieving me.

Col. Richardson states a conversation with Lieutenant-Colonel Stevens, of his command. I never saw Colonel Stevens to my knowledge. I never gave him, or any one, the order to deploy his column: the order must have emanated from some one else, and hence my misfortune; for on his impression that I was drunk, those not immediately connected with me rung it over the field, without inquiry or investigation. This is all that is proper for me to say at this time, as I have called for a court to investigate the whole transaction. Those who have read Richardson's report will confer a favor to compare this statement with it; the discrepancies are glaring, the errors by deductions apparent.

L. S. miles, Colonel Second Infantry.

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J. B. Richardson (9)
Irwin McDowell (3)
Thomas A. Davies (3)
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Theodore Vincent (1)
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