The battles of 1861
the battle of Manassas. July 21, 1861.
report of Gen. Beauregard.
Hdq'rs 1st Corps army of the Potomac,
Manassas, August 26, 1861.
The War Department having been informed by me, by telegraph on the 17th of July, of the movement of Gen. McDowell
was immediately ordered to form a junction of his Army Corps with mine, should the movement, in his judgment, be deemed advisable.
was also directed to push forward with two regiments, a battery, and one company of cavalry.
In view of these propositions, approaching reinforcements modifying my plan of operations, so far as to determine on attacking the enemy at Centreville
as soon as I should hear of the near approach of the two reinforcing columns, I sent one of my Aids, Col. Chisholm
, of South Carolina
, to meet and communicate my plans to Gen. Johnston
, and my wish that one portion of his force should march by the way of Aldie
, and take the enemy on his right flank and in reverse at Centreville
Difficulties, however, of an insuperable character in connection with means of transportation, and the marching condition of his troops, made this impracticable, and it was determined our forces should be united within the lines of Bull Run
, and thence advance to the attack of the enemy.
arrived here about noon on the 20th July, and being my senior in rank, he necessarily assumed command of all the force of the Confederate States
, then concentrating at this point.
Made acquainted with my plan of operations and dispositions to meet the enemy, he gave them his entire approval, and generously directed their execution under my command.
In consequence of the untoward detention, however, of some five thousand (5,000) of General Johnston
's Army Corps, resulting from the inadequate and imperfect means of transportation for so many troops, at the disposition of the Manassas Gap Railroad, it became necessary, on the morning of the 21st, before daylight, to modify the plan accepted to suit the contingency of an immediate attack on our lines by the main force of the enemy, then plainly at hand.
The enemy's forces, reported by their best informed journals to be 55,000 strong.
I had learned from reliable sources, on the night of the 20th, were being concentrated in and around Centreville
, and along the Warrenton turnpike
road, to Bull Run
, near which our respective pickets were in immediate proximity.
This fact, with the conviction that, after his signal discomfiture on the 18th of July, before Blackburn's Ford — the centre of my lines — he would not renew the attack in that quarter, induced me at once to look for an attempt on my left flank, resting on the Stone Bridge
, which was but weakly guarded by men, as well as but slightly provided with artificial defensive appliances and artillery.
In view of these palpable military conditions, by half-past 4 A. M., on the 21st July, I had prepared and dispatched orders, directing the whole of the Confederate forces within the lines of Bull Run
, including the brigades and regiments of Gen. Johnston
, which had arrived at that time, to be held in readiness to march at a moment's notice.
At that hour the following was the disposition of our forces:
's brigade, constituted as on the 18th of July remained in position at Union Mills Ford, its left extending along Bull Run
, in the direction of McLean's Ford, and supported by Holmes
's brigade, 2d Tennessee and 1st Arkansas regiments, a short distance to the rear — that is, at and near Camp Wigfall.
D. R. Jones
's brigade — from Ewell
's left, in front of McLean's Ford, and along the stream to Longstreet
It was unchanged in organization, and was supported by Early
's brigade, also unchanged, placed behind a thicket of young pines, a short distance in the rear of McLean's Ford.
's brigade held its former ground at Blackburn's Ford, from Jones
's left to Bonham
's right, at Mitchell's Ford, and was supported by Jackson
's brigade, consisting of Colonels James L. Presson
's 4th, Harper
's 5th, Allen
's 2d, the 27th, Lieut. Col. Echoll
's, and the 33d, Cumming
's Virginia regiments, 2,611 strong, which were posted behind the skirting of pines, to the rear of Blackburn
's and Mitchell's Ford, and in rear of this support, was also Barksdale
's 13th regiment Mississippi volunteers, which had lately arrived from Lynchburg
Along the edge of a pine thicket, in rear of and equidistant from McLean's and Blackburn's Fords, ready to support either position, I had also placed all of Bee
's and Bartow
's brigades that had arrived — namely, two companies of the 11th Mississippi, Lieut. Col. Liddell
; the 2d Mississippi, Col. Falkner
, and the Alabama
, with the 7th and 8th Georgia regiments, (Colonels Gartrell
and Lieut. Col. Gardner
,) in all 2,732 bayonets.
's brigade, as before held Mitchell's Ford, its right near Longstreet
's left, its left extending in the direction of Cocke
It was organized as at the end of the 18th of July, with Jackson
's brigade, as before said, as a support.
's brigade, increased by seven companies of the 8th, Hunton
's, three companies of the 49th, Smith
's Virginia regiments, two companies of cavalry, and a battery under Rogers
of four 6-pounders, occupied the line in front and rear of Bull Run
, extending from the direction of Bonham
's left, and guarding Island
, Ball's and Lewis's Fords, to the right of Evans
's demi- brigade, near the Stone Bridge
, also under Gen. Cocke
The latter held the Stone Bridge
, and its left covered a farm ford about one mile above the bridge.
's cavalry, some 300 men of the army of the Shenandoah, guarded the level ground extending in rear from Bonham
's left to Cocke
Two companies of Radford
's Cavalry were held in reserve a short distance in rear of Mitchell's Ford, his left extending in the direction of Stuart
's reserve battery of eight pieces was temporarily placed in rear of Bonham
's extreme left.
's reserve battery of five guns was in position on McLean's farm, in a piece of woods in rear of Bee
's Legion of six companies of infantry, six hundred strong, having arrived that morning by the cars from Richmond
, was subsequently, as soon as it arrived, ordered forward to a position in immediate vicinity of the Lewis House
, as a support for any troops engaged in that quarter.
The effective force of all arms of the army of the Potomac on that eventful morning, including the garrison of Camp Pickens, did not exceed 21,833, and 29 guns.
The army of the Shenandoah, ready for action on the field, may be set at 6,000 men and 20 guns.
The brigade of Gen. Holmes
mustered about 1,265 bayonets, 6 guns, and a company of cavalry about 90 strong.
Informed at 5:30 A. M., by Col. Evans
, that the enemy had deployed some 1,200 men with several pieces of artillery, in his immediate front, I at once ordered him, as also Gen. Cocke
, if attacked, to maintain their position to the last extremity.
In my opinion, the most effective method of relieving that flack was by a rapid, determined attack, with my right wing and centre on the enemy's flank and rear at Centreville
, with due precautions against the advance of his reserves from the direction of Washington
By such a movement, I confidently expected to achieve a complete victory for my country by 12 M.
These new dispositions were submitted to Gen. Johnston
, who fully approved them, and the orders for their immediate execution were at once issued.
was directed to begin the movement, to be followed and supported successively by Generals D. R. Jones
, and Bonham
respectively, supported by their several appointed reserves.
The cavalry, under Stuart
, were to be held in hand, subject to future orders and ready for employment as might be required by the exigencies of the battle.
About 8.30 A. M., General Johnston
and myself transferred our headquarters to a central position about half a mile in rear of Mitchell's Ford, whence we might watch the course of events.
Previously, as early as 5:30, the Federalists in front of Evans
's position — Stone Bridge
— had opened with a large 30-pounder Parrot rifle gun, and thirty minutes later, with a moderate, apparently tentative fire from a battery of rifle pieces, directed first in front at Evans
's, and then in the direction of Cocke'l position, but without drawing a return fire and discovery of our positions, chiefly because in that quarter we had nothing but eight 6-pounder pieces, which could not reach the distant enemy.
As the Federalists had advanced with an--
That is, when the battle began — Smith
's brigade and Fisher
's North Carolina
came up later, and made total of army of Shenandoah engaged of all arms 8,934, Hill
's Virginia regiment, 650, also arrived, but was posted as reserve to right flesh.
There were what Colonel
extended line of skirmishers in front of Evans
, that officer promptly threw forward the two flank companies of the 4th South Carolina regiment, and one company of Wheat
's Louisiana battalion, deployed as skirmishers, to cover his small front.
An occasional scattering fire resulted, and thus the two armies in that quarter for more than an hour, while the main body of the enemy was marching its dubious way through the ‘"Big Forest"’ to take our forces in flank and rear.
By 8.30 A. M., Colonel Evans
, having become satisfied of the counterfeit character of the movement on his front, and persuaded of an attempt to turn his left flank, decided to change his position to meet the enemy, and for this purpose immediately put in motion to his left and rear six companies of Sloan
's 4th South Carolina regiment, Wheat
's Louisiana battalion's, five companies, and two six-pounders of Latham
's battery, leaving four companies of Sloan
's regiment under cover as the sole, immediate defence of the Stone Bridge
, but giving information to General Cocke
of his change of position and the reasons that impelled it.
Following a road leading by the Old Pittsylvania (Carter
) mansion, Colonel Evans
formed in line of battle some four hundred yards in rear — as he advanced — of that house, his guns to the front and in position, properly supported, to its immediate right.
Finding, however, that the enemy did not appear on that road, which was a branch of one leading by Sudley's Springs Ford
, he turned abruptly to the left, and marching across the fields for three-quarters of a mile, about 9:30 A. M. took a position in line of battle; his left, Sloan
's companies, resting on the main Brentsville Road in a shallow ravine, the Louisiana
battalion to the right, in advance some two hundred yards, a rectangular copse of wood separating them--one piece of his artillery, planted on an eminence some seven hundred yards to the rear of Wheat
's battalion, and the other on a ridge near and in rear of Sloan
's position, commanding a reach of the road just in front of the line of battle.
In this order he awaited the coming of the masses of the enemy, now drawing near.
In the meantime, about 7 o'clock A. M., Jackson
's brigade, with Imboden
's, and five pieces of Walton
's battery, had been sent to take up a position along Bull Run
to guard the interval between Cocke
's right and Bonham
's left, with orders to support either in case of need — the character and topographical features of the ground having been shown to General Jackson
by Captain D. B. Harris
, of the Engineers
, of this Army Corps.
So much of Bee
's and Bartow
's brigades, now united, as had arrived — some 2,800 muskets — had also been sent forward to the support of the position of the Stone Bridge
The enemy beginning his detour from the turnpike, at a point nearly half-way between Stone Bridge
, had pursued a tortuous, narrow trace of a rarely used road, through a dense wood, the greater part of his way, until near the Sudley Road
A division under Colonel Hunter
, of the Federal
regular army, of two strong brigades, was in the advance, followed immediately by another division under Colonel Beinizelman
, of three brigades and seven companies of regular cavalry and twenty-four pieces of artillery--eighteen of which were rifle guns.
This column, as it crossed Bull Run
, numbered over 16,000 men of all arms by their own accounts.
's brigade, which here, as at Fairfax C. H., led the advance, at about 9.45 A. M. debouched from a wood in sight of Evans
's position, some 500 yards distant from Wheat
He immediately threw forward his skirmishers in force, and they became engaged with Wheat
's command and the 6-pounder gun under Lieutenant Leftwich
The Federalists at once advanced, as they report officially, the ad Rhode Island regiment volunteers, with its vaunted battery of six 13-pounder rifle guns.
's companies were then brought into action, having been pushed forward through the woods.
The enemy, soon galled and staggered by the fire, and pressed by the determined valor with which Wheat
handled his battery until he was desperately wounded, hastened up three other regiments of the brigade and two Dahlgren
howitzers, making in all quite 3,500 bayonets and eight pieces of artillery, opposed to less than 800 men and two 6-pounder guns.
Despite this odds, this intrepid command of but eleven weak companies maintained its front to the enemy for quite an hour, and until Gen. Bee
came to their aid with his command.
The heroic Bee
, with a soldier's eye and recognition of the situation, had previously disposed his command with skill — Imboden
's battery having been admirably placed between the two brigades under shelter behind the undulations of a hill about 150 yards north of the now famous Henry House, and very near where he subsequently fell mortally wounded, to the great misfortune of his country, but after deeds of deliberate and ever-memorable courage.
Meanwhile, the enemy had pushed forward a battalion of eight companies of regular infantry and one of their best batteries of six pieces, (four rifled,) supported by four companies of marines, to increase the desperate odds against which Evans
and his men had maintained their stand with an almost matchless tenacity.
, now finding Evans
sorely pressed under the crushing weight of the masses of the enemy, at the call of Col. Evans
threw forward his whole force to his aid across a small stream — Young's Branch
and Valley — and engaged the Federalists with impetuosity; Imboden
's battery at the time playing from his well-chosen position with brilliant effect with spherical case, the enemy having first opened on him from a rifle battery, probably Griffin
's, with elongated cylindrical shells, which flew a few feet over the heads of our men, and exploded in the crest of the hill immediately in rear.
advanced under a severe fire, he placed the 7th and 8th Georgia regiments, under the chivalrous Bartow
, at about 11 A. M., in a wood of second-growth pines to the right and front of, and nearly perpendicular to, Evans
's line of battle, the 4th Alabama to the left of them, along a fence connecting the position of the Georgia
regiments with the rectangular copse in which Sloan
's South Carolina companies were engaged, and into which he also threw the 2d Mississippi.
A fierce and destructive conflict new ensued — the fire was withering on both sides, while the enemy swept our short, thin lines with their numerous artillery, which, according to their official reports, at this time consisted of at least ten rifle guns and four howitzers.
For an hour did these stout-hearted men of the blended command of Bee
, and Bartow
, breast an unintermitting battle-storm, animated, surely, by something more than the ordinary courage of even the bravest men under fire; it must have been, indeed, the inspiration of the cause, and consciousness of the great stake at issue, which thus nerved and animated one and all to stand unawed and unshrinking in such extremity.
Two Federal brigades of Heintzleman
's division, were now brought into action, led by Ricketts
's superb light battery of six ten-pounder rifle guns, which, posted on an eminence to the right of the Sudley Road
, opened fire on Imboden
's battery — about this time increased by two rifle pieces of the Washington Artillery, under Lieut. Richardson
, and already the mark of two batteries, which divided their fire with Imboden
, and two guns, under Lieuts. Davidson
, of Latham
's battery, posted as before mentioned.
At this time, confronting the enemy, we had still but Evans
's eleven companies and two guns — Bee
's and Bartow
's four regiments, the two companies 11th Mississippi, under Lieut. Col. Liddell
, and the six pieces under Imboden
The enemy had two divisions of four strong brigades, including seventeen companies of regular infantry, cavalry and artillery, four companies of marines, and twenty pieces of artillery.
Against this odds, scarcely credible, our advance position was still for a while maintained, and the enemy's ranks constantly broken and shattered under the scorching fire of our men; but fresh regiments of the Federalists came upon the field, Sherman
's and Keye
's brigades of Tyler
's division, as is stated in their reports, numbering over 6,000 bayonets, which had found a passage across the Run
about 800 yards above the Stone Bridge
, threatened our right.
Heavy losses had now been sustained on our side, both in numbers and in the personal worth of the slain.
The 8th Georgia regiment had suffered heavily, being exposed as it took and maintained its position, to a fire from the enemy, already posted within a hundred yards of their front and right, sheltered by fences and other cover.
It was at this time that Lieut. Col. Gardner
was severely wounded, as also several other valuable officers; the Adjutant
of the regiment, Lieut. Branch
; was killed, and the horse of the regretted Bartow
was shot under him. The 4th Alabama also suffered severely from the deadly fire of the thousands of muskets which they so dauntlessly affronted under the immediate leadership of Bee
Its brave Colonel
, E. J. Jones
, was dangerously wounded, and many gallant officers fell, slain or horse of combat.
Now, however, with the surging mass of over fourteen thousand Federal Infantry, pressing on their front; and under the incessant fire of at least twenty pieces of artillery, with the fresh brigades of Sherman
's approaching the latter already in --
The Official Report at Colonel
musket range — our lines gave back, but under orders from Gen. Bee
The enemy, maintaining their fire, pressed their swelling masses on ward as our shattered battalions retired; the slaughter for the moment was deplorable, and has filled many a Southern home with life long sorrow.
Under this inexorable stress, the retreat continued until arrested by the energy and resolution of Gen. Bee
, supported by Bartow
, just in rear of the Robinson House
, and Hampton
's Legion which had been already advanced, and was in possession near it.
's battery, which had been handled with marked skill, but whose men were almost exhausted, and the two pieces of Walton
's battery under Lieut Richardson
, being threatened by the enemy's infantry on the left and front, were also obliged to fall back.
, leaving a disabled piece on the ground, retired until he met Jackson
's brigade, while Richardson
joined the main body of his battery near the Lewis House
As our infantry retired from the extreme front, the two 6-pounders of Latham
's battery, before mentioned, fell back with excellent judgment to suitable positions in the rear, when an effective fire was maintained upon the still advancing lines of the Federalists, with damaging effect, until their ammunition was nearly exhausted when they, too, were withdrawn in the near presence of the enemy, and rejoined their captain.
From the point previously indicated, where Gen. Johnston
and myself had established our headquarters, we heard the continuous roll of musketry, and the sustained din of the artillery, which announced the serious outburst of the battle on our left flank, and we anxiously, but confidently, awaited similar sounds of conflict from our front at Centreville
, resulting from the prescribed attack in that quarter by our right wing.
At 10 ½ A. M., however, this expectation was dissipated, from Brigadier-General Ewell
informing me, to my profound disappointment, that my orders for his advance had miscarried, but that in consequence of a communication from Gen. D. R. Jones
, he had just thrown his brigade across the stream at Union Mills
But, in my judgment, it was now too late for the effective execution of the contemplated movement, which must have required quite three hours for the troops to get into position for the attack; therefore, it became immediately necessary to depend on new combinations and other dispositions suited to the now pressing exigency.
The movement of the right and centre, already begun by Jones
, was at once countermanded with the sanction of General Johnston
, and we arranged to meet the enemy on the field upon which he had chosen to give us battle.
Under these circumstances our reserves, not already in movement, were immediately ordered up to support our left flank — namely, Hothles's two regiments and battery of artillery, under Captain Lindsey
walker, of six guns, and Earley
Two regiments from Bonham
's brigade, with Kemper
's four six pounders, were also called for, and with the sanction of General Johnston
, Generals Ewell
, (D. R.,) Longstreet
, and Bonham
, were directed to make a demonstration to their several fronts to retain and engross the enemy's reserves and forces on their flank, and at and around Centreville
Previously, our respective Chiefs of Staff--Major Rhett
and Colonel Jordan
--had been left at my headquarters to hasten up, and give directions to any troops that might arrive at Manassas
These orders having been duly dispatched by staff officers, at 11.30 A. M., General Johnston
and myself set out for the immediate field of action, which we reached in rear of the Robinson
and widow Henry
's houses, at about 12 meridian, and just as the commands of Bee
, and Evans
, had taken shelter in a wooded ravine behind the former, stoutly held at the time by Hampton
with his legion, which had made a stand there after having previously been as far forward as the turnpike, where Lieutenant Colonel Johnson
, an officer of brilliant promise, was killed, and other severe losses were sustained.
Before our arrival upon the scene, General Jackson
had moved forward with his brigade of five Virginia
regiments from his position in reserve, and had judiciously taken post below the brim of the plateau, nearly east of the Henry House
, and to the left of the ravine and woods occupied by the mingled remnants of Bee
's, and Evans
's command, with Imboden
's battery, and two of Stanard
's pieces placed so as to play upon the on-coming enemy, supported in the immediate rear by Colonel J. L. Preston
and Lieut-Colonel Echolls
's regiments, on the right by Harper
's and on the left by Allen
's and Cumming
As soon as General Johnston
and myself reached the field, we were occupied with the reorganization of the heroic troops, whose previous stand, with scarce a parallel, has nothing more Valliant
in all the pages of history, and whose lessees fifty tell why, at length, their lines had lost their cohesion.
It was now that Gen. Johnston
impressively and gallantly charged to the front with the colors of the Fourth Alabama regiment by his side, all the field officers of the regiment having been previously disabled.
Shortly afterwards I placed S. R. Gist
, Adjutant and Inspector-General
of South Carolina
, a volunteer Aide-de-camp
of General Bee
, in command of this regiment, and who led it again to the front as became its previous behavior, and remained with it for the rest of the day.
As soon as we had thus rallied and disposed out forces, I urged Gen. Johnston
to leave the immediate conduct of the field to me, while he, repairing to Portico — the Lewis House
— should urge reinforcements forward.
At first he was unwilling, but reminded that one of us must do so, and that properly it was his place, he reluctantly, but fortunately, complied; fortunately, because from that position, by his energy and sagacity, his keen perception and anticipation of my needs, he so directed the reserves as to ensure the success of the day.
As Gen. Johnston
departed for Portico, Col. Bartow
reported to me with the remains of the 7th Georgia volunteers, (Gartrell
's.) which I ordered him to post on the left of Jackson
's line, in the edge of the belt of pines bordering the southeastern rim of the plateau, on which the battle was now to rage so long and so fiercely.
Col. Wm. Smith
's battalion of the 49th Virginia volunteers, having also come up by my orders, I placed it on the left of Gartrell
's as my extreme left at the time.
Repairing then to the right, I placed Hampton
's Legion, which had suffered greatly, on that flank somewhat to the rear of Harper
's regiment, and also the seven companies of the 8th (Hunton
regiment, which, detached from Cocke
's brigade by my orders and those of Gen. Johnston
, had opportunely reached the ground.
These, with Harper
's regiment, constituted a reserve, to protect our right flank from an advance of the enemy from the quarter of the Stone Bridge
, and served as a support for the line of battle, which was formed on the right by Bee
's and Evans
's commands, in the centre by four regiments of Jackson
's brigade, with Imboden
's four six- pounders, Walton
's five guns, (two rifled,) two guns (one piece rifled) of Stanard
's and two six-pounders of Rogers
's batteries, the latter under Lieut. Heaton
; and on the left by Gartrell
's reduced ranks and Col. Smith
's battalion, subsequently reinforced Falkner
's Second Mississippi regiment, and by another regiment of the army of Shenandoah, just arrived upon the field, the Sixth (Fisher's) North Carolina.
Confronting the enemy at this time, my forces numbered, at most, not more than 6,500 infantry and artillerists, with but thirteen pieces of artillery, and two companies (Carter
's and Hoge
's) of Stuart.'s cavalry.
The enemy's force, now bearing hotly and confidently down on our position, regiment after regiment of the best equipped men that ever took the field — according to their own official history of the day — was formed of Colonels Hunter
's and Heintzleman
's divisions, Colonels Sherman
's and Keye
's brigades of Tyler
's division, and of the formidable batteries of Ricketts
, and Arnold
regulars, and Second Rhode Island, and two Dahlgren
howitzers — a force of over 20,000 infantry, seven companies of regular cavalry, and twenty-four pieces of improved artillery.
At the same time perilous, heavy reserves of infantry and artillery hung in the distance around the Stone Bridge
, Mitchell's, Blackburn's, and Union Mills Fords, visible ready to fall upon us at any moment; and I was also assured of the existence of other heavy corps at and around Centreville
and elsewhere, within convenient supporting distances.
Fully conscious of this portentous disparity of force, as I posted the lines for the encounter I sought to infuse into the hearts of my officers and men the confidence and determined spirit of resistance to this wicked invasion of the homes of a tree people which I felt.
I informed them that reinforcements would rapidly come to their support, and that we must at all hazards hold our posts until reinforced.
I reminded them that we fought for our homes, our firesides, and for the independence of our country.
I urged them to the resolution of victory as death on that field.
These sentiments were loudly, eagerly cheered, whenever proclaimed, and I then felt reassured of the spirit of that army, which would enable us to wrench victory from the Northern
threatening us with
Oh, my country!
I would really have sacrificed my life, and those of all the brave men around me, to save your honor and to maintain your independence from the grading rose which those ruthless invaders.
had come to impose and render perpetual; and the day's issue has assured me that such emotions must also have animated all under my command.
In the meantime, the enemy had seized upon the plateau on which Robinson's and the Henry houses
are situated — the position first occupied in the morning by Gen. Bee
, before advancing to the support of Evans
's battery of six rifle guns — the pride of the Federalists, the object of their unstinted expenditure in outfit — and the equally powerful regular light battery of Griffin
, were brought forward and placed in immediate action, after having, conjointly with the batteries already mentioned, plays from former positions with destructive effect upon our forward battalions.
The topographical features of the plateau, now become the stage of the contending armies, must be described in outline.
A glance at the map will show that it is enclosed on three sides by small water courses, which empty into Bull Run
within a few yards of each other, half a mile to the south of the Stone Bridge
Rising to an elevation of quite one hundred feet above the level of Bull Run
at the bridge, it falls off on three sides to the level of the enclosing streams in gentle slopes, but which are furrowed by ravines of irregular direction and length, and studded with clumps and patches of young pines and oaks.
The general direction of the crest of the plateau is oblique to the course of Bull Run
in that quarter, and to the Brentsville and turnpike roads, which intersect each other at right angles.
Immediately surrounding the two houses, before mentioned, are small open fields of irregular outline, not exceeding 150 acres in extent.
The houses occupied at the time, the one by the widow Henry
and the other by the free negro Robinson
, are small wooden buildings, the latter densely embowered in frees and environed by a double row of fences on two sides.
Around the eastern and southern brow of the plateau, an almost unbroken fringe of second growth pines gave excellent shelter for our marksmen, who availed themselves of it with the most satisfactory skill.
To the west, adjoining the fields, a broad belt of oaks extends directly across the crest on both sides of the Sudley Road
, in which, during the battle, regiments of both armies met and contended for the mastery.
From the open ground of this plateau the view embraces a wide expanse of woods, and gently undulating, open country of broad grass and grain fields in all directions, including the scene of Evans
's and Bee
's recent encounter with the enemy, some 1,200 yards to the northward.
In reply to the play of the enemy's batteries, our own artillery had not been Idle or unskillful.
The ground occupied by our guns, on a level with that held by the batteries of the enemy, was an open space of limited extent, behind a low induration, just at the eastern verge of the plateau, some 500 or 600 yards from the Henry House
Here, as before said, 13 pieces, mostly six-pounders, were maintained in action.
The several batteries of Imboden
, Pendicton, (Rockbridge Artillery,) and Alburns's, of the army of the Shenandoah, and five guns of Walton
's, and Heaton
's section of Roger's battery, of the army of the Potomac, alternating to some extent with each other, and taking part as needed; all from the outset displaying that marvellous capacity of our people, as artillerists, which has made them, it would appear, at once the terror and the admiration of the enemy.
As was soon apparent, the Federalists had suffered severely from our artillery, and from the fire of our musketry on the right, and especially from the left flank, placed under cover, within whose gaining range they had been advanced.
And we are told in their official reports how regiment after regiment, thrown forward to dislodge us, was broken; never to recover its entire organization on that field.
In the meantime, also, two companies of Stuart
's cavalry (Carter
's and Hoge
's) made a dashing charge down the Brentsville
road upon the Fire Zouaves
— then the enemy's right on the plateau — which added to their disorder, wrought by our musketry on that flank.
But still the press of the enemy was heavy in that quarter of the field, as fresh troops were thrown forward there to out flank us, and some three guns of a battery, in an attempt to obtain a position, apparently to enfilade our batteries, were thrown so close to the 33d regiment, Jackson
's brigade, that that regiment, springing forward, seized them, but with severe loss, and was subsequently driven back by an overpowering force of Federal musketry.
Now, full 2 o'clock P. M., I gave the order for the right of my line, except my reserves, to advance to recover the plateau.
It was done with uncommon resolution and vigor, and at the same time Jackson
's brigade pierced the enemy's centre with the determination of veterans, and the soldier of men who fight for a sacred cause; battle suffered seriously.
With equal spirit the other parts of the line made the onset, and the Federal
lines were broken and swept back at all points from the open ground of the plateau Rallying soon, however, as they were strongly reinforced by fresh regiments, the Federalists returned, and by weight of numbers pressed our lines back, recovered their ground and guns, and renewed the offensive.
By this time, between half-past 2 and 3 o'clock P. M., our reinforcements pushed forward, and, directed by General Johnston
to the required quarter were at hand just as I had ordered forward, to a second effort, for the recovery of the disputed plateau, the whole line, including my reserve, which, at this crisis of the battle.
I felt called upon to lead in person.
This attack was general, and was shared in by every regiment then in the field, including the 6th, Fisher
's North Carolina regiment, which had just come up and taken position on the immediate left of the 49th Virginia regiment.
The whole open ground was again swept clear of the enemy, and the plateau around the Henry
and Robinson houses remained finally in our possession, with the greater part of the Ricketts
and Griffin batteries, and a flag of the 1st Michigan regiment, captured by the 27th Virginia regiment, (Lieut. Col. Echolls
,) of Jackson
This part of the day was rich with deeds of individual coolness and dauntless conduct, as well as well directed embodied resolution and bravery, but fraught with the loss to the service of the country of lives of inestimable preciousness at this juncture — The brave Bee
was mortally wounded at the head of the 4th Alabama and some Mississippians, in an open field near the Henry House
; and a few yards distant the promising life of Bartow
, while leading the 7th Georgia regiment, was quenched in blood.--Col. F. J. Thomas
, acting Chief of Ordnance
, of Gen. Johnston
's staff, after gallant conduct and most efficient service, was also slain.
, 6th North Carolina, like wise fell, after soldierly behavior, at the head of his regiment, with ranks greatly thinned.
's 18th regiment of Cocke
's brigade had come up in time to follow this charge, and in conjunction with Hampton
's Legion, captured several rifle pieces which may have fallen previously in possession of some of our troops; but if so, had been recovered by the enemy.
These pieces were immediately turned and effectively served on distant masses of the enemy by the hands of some of our officers.
While the enemy had thus been driven back on our right entirely across the turnpike, and beyond Young's branch
on our left, the woods yet swarmed with them, when our reinforcements opportunely arrived in quick succession, and took position in that portion of the field.
's 2d and Cash
's 8th South Carolina regiments, which had arrived soon after Withers
's were led through the oaks just cast of the Sudley-Brentsville road, brushing some of the enemy before them, and taking an advantageous position along, and west of that road, opened with much skill and effect on bodies of the enemy that had been rallied under cover of a strong Federal brigade posted on a plateau in the southwest angle, formed by intersection of the turnpike with the S. B. road Among the troops thus engaged, were the Federal
At the same time, Kemper
's battery, passing northward by the S. B. road, took position on the open space — under orders of Colonel Kershaw
--near where an enemy's battery had been captured, was opened with effective results upon the Federal
right, then the mark also of Kershaw
's 28th regiment, of Cocke
's brigade, had by that time entered the same body of oaks, and encountered some Michigan
troops, capturing their brigade commander Col. Wilcox
Another important accession to our forces had also occurred about the same time, 3 o'clock P. M., Brigadier General E. K. Smith
, with some 1,700 infantry of Elzey
's brigade, of the army of the Shenandoah, and Beckham
's battery, came upon the field, from Camp Pickens, Manassas
, where they had arrived by railroad at noon, Directed person by Gen. Johnston
to the left, then so much endangered, on reaching a position in rear of the oak woods, south of the Henry House
, and immediately act of the Sudley Road
was disabled by a severe wound, and his valuable services were regret that cities Col. juncture.
But the command devolved upon a officer of experience, Coloney, who led his infantry at Atlas
somewhat further in the left, in the direction of the Union House
, across the road, through the oaks skirting the west side of the road, and around which he sent the battery under.
(Continued on Forth Page.