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Chapter 17: Second battle of Bull Bun

The next morning, June 2, 1862, my brother and I set out on leave with surgeon's certificate of disability. To Fair Oaks Station I rode beside the driver of the ambulance, while Lieutenant Howard, Capt. A. P. Fisk, and others reclined inside.

At the station I had hardly reached the ground when General Philip Kearny rode up with his staff. They dismounted and stood near us, while Kearny and I grasped hands. He had lost his left arm in Mexico. To console me he said in a gentle voice: “General, I am sorry for you; but you must not mind it; the ladies will not think the less of you!” I laughed as I glanced at our two hands of the same size and replied: “There is one thing that we can do, general, we can buy our gloves together”

He answered, with a smile: “Sure enough” But we did not, for I never met him again. He was killed at Chantilly. That evening I was near by but did not see him.

All the passengers in our freight car, which left Fair Oaks for the White House landing that day, save Captain F. D. Sewall, my adjutant general, were suffering from wounds. Some were standing, some sitting, but the majority were lying or reclining upon straw which covered the floor of the car. From one of [252] the latter I received a pleasant smile and a word of recognition. It was Capt. A. P. Fisk, the adjutant general of French's brigade, who greeted me. His surgeon, having examined his most painful wound near the knee joint, at first feared to leave his leg unamputated, but the captain and he finally decided to take the risk. Every tilt or jar of the rough car gave him intense pain; still his cheerfulness, showing itself in sprightly conversation, never forsook him. He also constantly cheered others around him who were gloomy and despondent.

The roadbed was in bad condition and the freight peculiarly sensitive, so that from compassion the conductor moved us at a snail's pace. With pain from bruised nerves and loss of blood I found it difficult to endure the shaking of the car and be as cheery as my brother and Captain Fisk. The trial lasted three hours, and I was glad enough to catch a glimpse of the steamer Nelly Baker, which was to transport us from the White House landing down the York River. It took but a few minutes to get us on board. Here were plenty of medicines and other supplies. Three or four ladies, serving as nurses, gave the wounded men their quick attention and care.

As soon as I could get ink and len, I made my first effort at writing with my left hand., The letter is still preserved and fairly legible, the letters having the backward slant. To this is added Lieutenant Howard's postscript, which ends: “There is for me only a flesh wound in the thigh.”

Only a flesh wound, it is true; but so severe as to necessitate the use of a stretcher to carry him from place to place. It was a more troublesome wound than mine and required more time for healing. [253]

Twelve years before, while a cadet at West Point, I had had a severe wound in the head, made by a fall while exercising in the gymnasium; a hard attack of erysipelas followed. Surgeon Cuyler, of Georgia, attended me there. No mother could have been more faithful and gentle than he during the period of my suffering. The same good physician, as we neared Fortress Monroe, came on board our steamer, dressed our wounds, and prescribed a proper diet. He begged my brother and myself to remain with him until we were stronger, but the home fever had seized me and nothing short of compulsion could then detain us.

Several little children were playing about the steamer and now and then dodged in and out of the room where the wounded officers were sitting. When I noticed them, they began their happy play with me. The nurses,fearing injury, endeavored to remove them, but the other wounded joined me in a protest. It was a great comfort to be not only rid of the scenes of carnage but able to mingle again with the joys of childhood. Many there knew that their own little ones were waiting hopefully, though anxiously, for their return.

We had a rough experience after our arrival in Baltimore. Thrust into a hack, the lieutenant and I were driven swiftly two or three miles over the cobblestones from the wharf to the railroad station. In great distress I clung to the side of the carriage, made springs of my knees, and thus found a little relief from the jar. My brother could get no such respite, so the agony he endured was excessive.

On our arrival in New York, Wednesday afternoon, we were taken directly to the Astor House, considerably exhausted and remained a night and a day. We received the most motherly attention from Mrs. Stetson, [254] the wife of the proprietor. Would that every bruised soldier had fallen into such kind hands!

From New York we went directly to Lewiston, Me., meeting on the steamer and the cars, in the cities and villages wherever we passed, every demonstration of sympathy and affection. Our condition suggested to other hearts what had happened or might happen to some beloved relative or friend still on the field of strife.

At last, arriving at Lewiston station, the whole population appeared to have turned out to greet us. We were not suffered to cross the river into Auburn, and meet my little family after more than a year's separation, till words of welcome and appreciation had been spoken and acknowledged. Then the desired relief from such patriotic love came and we hastened to the hotel in Auburn where my wife and children were.

Sweet, indeed, was the rest of a few subsequent days when we enjoyed the nursing and comforts of home.

My confinement to my room was brief — not over three days. Ten days after our arrival, accompanied by my friend Dr. Wiggin, later a surgeon in the Twenty-first Maine, I visited Portland and participated in a State religious convention, where I gave two public addresses.

After speaking in Livermore on July 4th, in descending a flight of steps I slipped and fell. I tried to catch support with the hand which did not exist and so thrust the stump of my amputated arm into the ground, making the hurt from the fall very severe; it would have been worse, except for a sole-leather protection. I felt for my comrades on the peninsula who were worse wounded and suffering. For I had sympathy, [255] tender nursing, and gentle voices at hand, and they often had not.

The people in Maine were restless and anxious. What has the army effected What does it purpose to dot When will this dreadful war end? Is McClellan the man for us These were the questions that met me at the convention. At that time I warmly espoused the cause of McClellan and resented every criticism as an aspersion. I entertained and expressed the strong hope that he would yet lead us to victory. At the same time I fully believed that slavery must go to the wall before the end.

The speeches which I made at that large Portland meeting were the beginning of a canvass of Maine for filling the State quota of volunteers. Governor Washburn entreated me to aid him in this matter, as the enlistments just then were too slow to supply the men who were needed. I went over the State, my wife going with me, visited the principal cities and villages, and often made two addresses a day, urging my countrymen to fill up the ranks. My speech in substance was: “Our fathers, with their blood, procured for us this beautiful heritage. Men now seek to destroy it. Come, fellow citizens, regardless of party, go back with me and fight for its preservation.”

The quota of Maine was filled, and after an absence of two months and twenty days I returned to the field in time to participate in the closing operations of the second Bull Run campaign.

Military affairs during the summer of 1862, particularly the second battle of Bull Run, fought August 29th and 30th, excited virulent controversies which only subsided with the death of the participants. The ferment was by no means confined to the field. [256]

By the help of his secret service bureau and his own strong will, Mr. Stanton, the Secretary of War, from the time he took the department, began to turn and overturn with a view to eliminate every disloyal element. As the abolition sentiment, constantly growing in the country, was evidently beginning to dominate public affairs, Mr. Stanton, penetrated with new convictions, hastened to leadership. We need only to follow him in the Cabinet, in Congress, in the committees of inquiry, and in every branch of military administration to account for a disturbing influence which had for some time been perceptible in military operations. This influence, more than Mr. Lincoln's apprehensions, kept up small armies, as Wadsworth's in defense of Washington, Fremont's toward the Ohio, Banks's and Shields's in the valley, and McDowell's at Fredericksburg — a division of forces that resulted in the defeat of them all, and perhaps, as McClellan claimed, in his own discomfiture on the peninsula. McClellan's Seven Days Battles, in which he had repulsed the enemy each time, and yet changed his base to the James River, and his final retreat, all took place while I was absent from the army.

The administration now made a shift of policy. John Pope was brought from the Mississippi Valley and made the peer of McClellan, commanding all the armies above named except his. Halleck, under whom Grant, Pope, and others had won laurels in the Mississippi Valley, was called to Washington and assigned to duty as general-in-chief.

After this, Abraham Lincoln, endeavoring to follow, not lead, a changing public conviction, often lowered his head under the weight of heavy care. Once he said in his peculiar humorous sadness, when a case [257] of plain justice to a soldier was hindered at the War Department: “We'll try; but, you see, I haven't much influence with this administration!”

He many times, however, took control when he was convinced that he ought to act.

After reaching Harrison's Landing, McClellan entreated to remain there, be reinforced, and go back again toward Richmond. The President at first favored this course. Pope, on his arrival from the West, had strongly opposed the change of base to the James. He predicted that every chance of mutual support would thus be lost to our Eastern armies. Concerning the Confederates, he said: “The loss of Richmond would be trifling, while the loss of Washington to us would be conclusive or nearly so in its results on this war l” This was before the Seven Days battling. After the retreat, Pope was more courteous to McClellan. He wrote him, seeking concert of action, and promised to carry out his wishes with all the means at his command.

It was a touch of human nature for McClellan to reply with reserve and some coldness; partisanship pro and con ran high at that time.

Halleck came to Washington ostensibly to make the Eastern armies cease maneuvering and fight. He determined that Pope should begin direct operations against Richmond; that McClellan, when brought back by water from the peninsula, should strongly reinforce him. Pope was to be bold, so as to free McClellan from pressure, and enable him to speedily transport his army to the Potomac. This McClellan did.

Pope promptly concentrated, bringing Fremont's army — under Franz Sigel to Sperryville, Ricketts's division of McDowell's corps to Waterloo Bridge, and [258] Banks's command to Little Washington. His cavalry under General Hatch was kept well out toward the Rapidan. Pope's aggregate was then about 40,000 and well located for his undertaking.

Hearing that Stonewall Jackson was already crossing the Rapidan at different points, Pope ordered everything he could get to Culpeper. He would have hastened his army to the foothills of the Bull Run Range, that he might make a descent upon his foe, choosing his own time, but his orders from Halleck obliged him to protect the lower fords of the Rappahannock. Halleck thus insisted on his covering two independent bases: Falmouth, opposite Fredericksburg, and also Washington. It was a grave mistake. Pope's order of the 7th to Sigel to join him at once was not immediately obeyed. Pope says: “To my surprise I received, after night on the 8th, a note from General Sigel dated at Sperryville at half-past. six o'clock that afternoon, asking me by what road he could march to Culpeper. As there was but one road, and that a broad stone turnpike, I was at a loss to understand how Sigel could entertain any doubt as to his road.” Because of Sigel's delay Pope did not have his corps for the next day's battle. Another annoyance ruffled his temper. He sent Banks forward toward Cedar Mountain with all his force to join his own retiring cavalry and check the advancing foe. Banks was ordered to halt in a strong position designated, and send out his skirmish line and notify Pope. Ricketts's division was put at a crossroad in rear of Banks, with a view to help him in case of need.

But, strange to say, Banks, on approach of Stonewall Jackson, left his strong position, advanced two miles, and assailed the Confederates in a vigorous [259] manner. He had to cross open fields and was obliged to attack Jackson, who was just moving into a fine position for defense. The terrible struggle that resulted continued for an hour and a half. Against Jackson's leading divisions Banks was successful; but A. P. Hill's arriving drove Banks's men back little by little to the strong position which he had left. Ricketts's troops, ordered up by Pope, were only in time to prevent a retreat. Banks's defense was that a staff officer of General Pope had brought him subsequent instructions to attack at once as soon as the enemy came in sight. Pope's loss in this battle of Cedar Mountain was heavy: 1,759 killed and wounded, 622 missing. The Confederates' total loss was 1,314. Jackson gained a victory, though not as complete as he had hoped. Without renewing the conflict, he backed off slowly to the Rapiaan. Jackson's advance had been for the purpose of defeating the portion of Pope's army reported isolated at Culpeper Court House.

A few days after this battle, Lee discovered our transports running from the James to Aquia Creek. Burnside with his command back from North Carolina was already at Fredericksburg.

Lee organized his troops into two wingsLongstreet to command the right, Jackson the left, and Stuart the cavalry, Lee himself taking the field in person. This force numbered between fifty and sixty thousand. Lee moved toward Pope, at first directly. Pope now had all of McDowell's corps and part of Burnside's. The rest of the latter was retained to guard the lower fords of the Rappahannock.

As soon as Lee began to advance in earnest, Pope drew back to the north side of the Rappahannock, placing Banks to keep his center near the railroad [260] crossing. McDowell was designated to hold the left and lower crossings, and Sigel the right and upper, while the active cavalry now under Buford and Bayard took care of Pope's extreme right flank.

After a few skirmishes Lee began a turning operation. On August 22d, the day I reached Philadelphia on my way back to the army, Lee sent Stonewall Jackson, preceded by Stuart's cavalry, up the Rappahannock as far as Sulphur Springs, well beyond Pope's power to defend. Lee then, with Longstreet, followed slowly.

In the face of this strategic move, Pope decided to retire from the Rappahannock, but Halleck interposed and directed Pope to stay where he was two days longer and he would take care of his right, for was not McClellan's army coming in its strength? There was, fortunately for Pope, an unexpected help. Early's brigade only had crossed the river when a storm struck that up-country. The mountain streams poured in so rapidly that all fords were rendered unsafe and all bridges carried away.

Next, Pope aimed a blow at Early, Jackson's advance; but swollen streams delayed his eager march, so that Early, by Jackson's help, made a rough bridge and got back before the blow fell.

Lee gained some advantage during that freshet; he kept most of his troops quiet, cool, and resting, knowing that the streams in twenty-four hours would run down and be fordable.

Had Halleck allowed Pope to retire at once behind Warrenton, to meet there the reinforcements from McClellan, the problem of the campaign would have been of easier solution. But Lee's next move gave a sad lesson to Halleck. First came another of Stuart's [261] raids. On August 23d, when I reached Washington, his cavalry was close by at Catlett's Station and our communications with Pope cut off. Stuart captured provisions, and carried off Pope's important orders. He then returned to Lee, the way he had come, with the detail of our plans in his possession. Lee acted quickly, making a bold move like that of Grant at Vicksburg, having on the face of it but few reasons in its favor. He ordered Stonewall Jackson, on August 25th, to cross the Rappahannock above Waterloo; move around Pope's right flank; strike the railroad in the rear; while Longstreet must divert his attention in front and be ready to follow.

Jackson made the march with great celerity, Stuart ahead and working his way to Gainesville, on the Manassas Gap railroad, and keeping the eyes of our cavalry upon himself. Jackson was at Salem the first night, and, bursting through Thoroughfare Gap, joined Stuart, and appeared on our railroad at Bristoe Station just after dark the next day. Without considering the fatigue of his troops, that night he sent Trimble's brigade with cavalry, ten miles up the railroad, to seize Manassas Junction. Very early the next morning Jackson himself was there with everything except Ewell's division-left at Bristoe for a guard against a rebound from any Union force below. The Manassas garrison,abundance of artillery, small arms, ammunition, and quantities of food fell at once into his hands. Our railroad guards and a Union brigade were driven back toward Alexandria, and Stuart's force continued on even to Burke's Station.

While Jackson thus delayed near Manassas, feasting on captured stores and destroying what he could not carry away, Ewell, at Bristoe, was not having so [262] comfortable work. For Heintzelman's, with Hooker's and Kearny's divisions, coming from McClellan before Jackson's arrival at Bristoe, had passed beyond there by rail; and on the evening of the 25th they had been dumped down at Warrenton Junction. Porter's corps, too, marching west from Aquia Creek, was approaching the same point.

The instant Pope had found Jackson in his rear and upon his communications he turned his whole command north. His left, under McDowell, he sent to Gainesville; his center, under Heintzelman, to Greenwich, a few miles south of Gainesville, while he himself, leaving Hooker in command of the right, rushed on to reestablish his connections with Washington. Sigel's corps was attached to McDowell, while Reno replaced Hooker with Heintzelman. That arrangement made Porter's approaching corps a strong reserve.

The afternoon of August 27th Hooker came upon Ewell's division at Bristoe. On sight, these veteransveterans on both sides-had a sharp battle. Ewell was dislodged with a loss of 300 men and some of his materiel. But as he retired northward he burned the bridge over Broad Run and tore up the railroad track. While Hooker's men were restoring the bridge, Ewell made a rapid march and joined Jackson at Manassas.

In spite of the confusion here and there and the anxiety at Washington on the evening of August 27th matters could have hardly been better for Pope. There was the best ground for belief at his headquarters that Jackson and Longstreet were far asunder, and that Pope with at least 50,000 men would fall upon Jackson and defeat him.

Pope's sanguine heart was filled with joy at that [263] prospect. But how soon the change I The night of the 27th news came that A. P. Hill's division and part of Jackson's wing had got north of Centreville, and that Stuart had gone from Burke's Station also north to Fairfax Court House; true, Jackson himself with a few troops lingered at Manassas, but Pope believed that his adversary would try to escape him by passing over the mountains at Aldie Gap and turn back in the great valley beyond to join Longstreet. That was not, however, Jackson's purpose, but Pope under this misconception rashly issued a new set of orders.

With his Manassas force Jackson quickly moved to a strong position several miles west of Centreville, slightly north of Groveton. He placed his men behind a railroad cut; his line faced south and stretched off eastward to our old Sudley Spring crossing of Bull Run. How easy now for A. P. Hill to dillydally about Centreville, till our.forces should rush that way via Manassas and touch his outposts, and then slip off via the upper crossings of Bull Run, and close in on Jackson in his new position. That ruse showed Jackson's generalship. He was adroitly giving Lee and Longstreet time to get near him before battle.

Phil Kearny's division, passing to the north of Manassas, soon skirmished with A. P. Hill's rear guard, while the latter was drawing off toward Sudley Springs and Jackson. Naturally, Kearny was not able to bring him to battle. King's division, of McDowell's corps, coming toward Centreville from Gainesville along the Warrenton Pike, unexpectedly encountered just at evening Confederate troops. A combat resulted. Gibbon's brigade, of King's division, supported by Doubleday's, with remarkable persistency resisted these assailants, the Confederates at once [264] having attacked this intruding division. There was heavy loss on both sides. Ewell and Taliaferro were badly wounded, the former losing a leg. King's command remained two hours after the conflict and then went to Manassas. The end of this remarkable day found Pope with his headquarters at Centreville. He now saw plainly that he had been outgeneraled, having misinterpreted Jackson's purpose; in fact, he had helped Stonewall Jackson to concentrate his brigades, where Longstreet might join him.

Now, for Pope to get back his army from Centreville, from Manassas, and from wherever the night of the 28th found his hurrying troops, was not easy. It caused, indeed, much countermarching. Many men, short of food and ammunition and overfatigued with going from place to place on errands which they did not understand, had become discouraged.

But Pope resolutely gave new orders: the morning of August 29th, Heintzelman was turned again westward from Centreville; he led three divisions under Hooker, Kearny, and Reno toward Gainesville. Sigel's corps, on the Sudley road, south of Groveton, was faced northward and pushed forward toward Stonewall Jackson. McDowell with King's and Ricketts's divisions and Porter's corps was also ordered to come up to the left of Sigel.

Sigel deployed his troops as early as 5 A. M. and moved carefully and steadily forward. Soon a stubborn resistance came from Jackson's chosen position. It was a hard battle that day, begun differently from the first battle of Bull Run, but not far from that point. Sigel put in the divisions of Schurz, Schenck, Milroy, and Reynolds, and kept on firing and gaining ground till noon, when the ardent Kearny arrived. [265] By two o'clock Hooker and Reno also were on the ground.

Pope coming up rearranged the battle front; he placed Kearny's troops on his right, Reynolds's on his left, with Hooker's and Reno's at the center, and then made a reserve. There was irregular fighting till about 4.30, when a desperate attack was made. Kearny and Hooker got nearer and nearer, firing and advancing, till it appeared as though the railway cut and embankment of Jackson would certainly be taken by their repeated charges.

McDowell and Porter, quite early, marching from the east had come upon a stubborn skirmish line; the former left Porter to watch this resistance, whatever it was, and bore off with King's and Ricketts's divisions to the right and formed a solid junction with Pope's front.

Judging from Pope's orders of 4.30 P. M., he did expect Porter to attack Jackson's right. However, according to the weight of testimony now extant, Longstreet's large command had already joined Jackson's right when the order of Pope to General Porter was issued.

Owing to all the unhappy circumstances of this and the day previous, August 29th ended this prolonged contest in a drawn battle.

During the anxious night which ensued, from various circumstances which influenced the mind of a commander, Pope received the impression that Lee was retiring; but, strange to tell, Lee and Pope were both preparing to advance and take the offensive.

Porter's command was at last drawn forward to the main army, and on the 30th his men went into action, side by side, with the rest. It was a stormy fight, bad [266] enough for us, because Stuart and Longstreet were able to envelop Pope's left flank, and they pressed our army back to the same old ground of the first Bull Run. There was a constant change of front; our best troops held woods, ravines, knolls, and buildings with unwonted tenacity. But we were undoubtedly defeated; at dark Lee held the fields which were covered with the dead and wounded; yet our lines were not broken up, and we still stuck to the Warrenton Pike. During the darkness of the night, by using that highway and such other roads south as he wished, Pope slowly drew back his command to the heights of Centreville.

During these exciting operations I was an observer from different places. August 23d I went in the afternoon to Halleck's private dwelling in Washington, and waited half an hour for him to finish his nap. At last he stood in the doorway of his reception room, and, looking at me sternly, as if I had committed some grave offense, said: “Do you want to see me officially, sirt” Being taken aback by his manner I stammered: “Partly officially and partly not.” “Well, sir, what is it?”

With no little vexation I told him that I had been wounded at Fair Oaks, but was now sufficiently recovered for duty, and that I wished to find my command. Without relaxing his coldness or offering me the least civility he replied: “The adjutant general will tell you that, sir.” I bowed and said: “Good day, sir,” and instantly left his house. I was afterwards assured that this uncalled — for treatment was not intended for insult or discipline, but was rather the way Halleck behaved after great perplexity and trial.

By August 27th I had found my way to Sumner's corps, then at Falmouth. Stern as he was by nature [267] and habit, he received me kindly; gave me a seat at his mess table, and Colonel Taylor, his adjutant general, surrendered to me his own bed for the night.

My old brigade gave me every demonstration of affection; but thinking that I would never return to the army, Sumner had caused General Caldwell to be assigned to it. He quickly offered me another brigade in Sedgwick's division. General Burns, its commander, wounded at Savage Station, was away, and I was put in his place. It was the “California brigade” of Colonel Baker, who fell at Ball's Bluff.

On the 28th Sumner's corps was moved up to Alexandria and went into camp in front of that city near the Centreville Pike, where we had early news of Jackson's raid and shared the capital's excitement over that event.

Toward the evening of the 29th, when so many of our comrades were falling on the plains of Manassas, General Halleck ordered our corps to march to a place four or five miles above to Chain Bridge, on the Potomac, to anticipate a raid of Stuart.

We made all possible speed, but were hardly there when peremptory orders sent us back in haste to Alexandria, and then, at last, out to Centreville. By forced marches, moving night and day, and following Franklin's corps as soon as we reached the Pike, we arrived on the heights at noon of the 31st. We met Pope's overworked army there and, fatigued as we were, cheered our companions by our comparative freshness. Just to the north of the other troops, between there and the supposed position of Lee, we went into bivouac.

To my satisfaction I was selected the next morning [268] to conduct a reconnoissance in force still farther north, to find if Lee were there and report. Besides my brigade I had some cavalry. Covered with a good body of skirmishers, we marched rapidly till we aroused Lee's pickets. They gave way; then we came in sight of his skirmishers, who opened fire upon us at once. When we had pressed them more closely we succeeded in drawing the fire of their noisy batteries. My purpose was now gained, and I fell back slowly and steadily to my place in the general lines. We had found that Lee's army, or a part of it, was out on the Little River Turnpike between Aldie and Fairfax Court House. On that pike, somewhat east of the point to which I had pushed out, was the small hamlet of Chantilly. While I was reconnoitering, Stonewall Jackson, cautiously feeling his way eastward to gain Pope's rear and cut his communications near Fairfax Court House, was advancing his command along that same turnpike. But this time Pope, having troops enough, had sent a wing in the same direction and so was ready to check the enterprising general.

Near a crossroad was an abrupt knoll named Ox Hill. This hill with a considerable ravine in front of it was already occupied by our troops, Reno's and Stevens's divisions, with Phil Kearny's near at hand. Hooker's had passed beyond, nearer to Fairfax. When, toward evening, Jackson came near Ox Hill, as usual, he promptly put his men into line of battle, and pushed forward. On our side Reno's division on the left held its ground and repelled every charge; General Stevens did the same for a while and then his soldiers began to give way, and he himself was killed. Then Reno's flank was uncovered and his right regiments had to break back. It was at this trying epoch [269] of this battle that Kearny sprang to the rescue. Birney's brigade he caused to replace Stevens's troops, and the battle was renewed with fierce energy, while a heavy chilling rain poured down upon the combatants. Kearny, to see what more could be done at the right of Birney, as he had often done before, instead of sending another, rode his horse straight out toward his right front beyond his own men. He encountered Confederates. They fired upon him and he was instantly killed. Thus passed from the stage of action in that brief combat at Chantilly two officers of great ability and energy-Philip Kearny and Isaac I. Stevens. It was a serious loss to the Union cause.

Jackson was forced to halt, and Pope's line of communication became his line of withdrawal. Pope, doubtless with much chagrin, formed his retreating column, and marched back to the Potomac, retiring within the ample fortifications of our capital.

I had command of the rear guard; of that one of these columns which fell back toward the Chain Bridge. General Sumner gave me a detachment of all arms to do the work assigned. Who will forget the straggling, the mud, the rain, the terrible panic and loss of life from random firing, and the hopeless feeling-almost despair — of that dreadful night marchl After passing Fairfax Court House we were not molested by the Confederates, yet the variety of experience of that march gave me lessons of great value for all my subsequent career. A most important one was to have, as I then had, a cool, courageous, and self-reliant officer, like Colonel Alfred Sully, in command of the last regiment. Another lesson was, in order successfully to cover a retreat in the night, a degree of discipline for [270] cavalry, infantry, and artillery is required beyond that needed at any other time. A third, which is always necessary, but there impressed me as indispensable, was for the rear-guard commander to have a wellinstructed, reliable, indefatigable staff.

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