Bradford reporter. (Towanda, Pa.) 1844-1884, August 08, 1861, Image 1

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Thursday Morning, August 8, 1861.
[From Wilkes's Spirit of the Times J
The Battle as seen by an Eye-Witness.
WASHINGTON, Friday, July 26, 1861.
The minor action on the 18th, though end
a serious repulse, served but to stimulate
,e ardor of our troops; and as I walked, on
he following morning, among the swarming
battalions that rested in the valley this side of
Centreville I heard but one wish expressed,
JA that wish was that we should again and
I once move forward, and wipe out the d.s- ;
Lee of that temporary check before the ex-,
oiling rebels could take fresh heart by their
It was soon plain, however, that
(ilT McDowell, warned by the unexpected
evidence of strength which had been develop
ed from the treacherous covert at Bull Ruu,
had determined to remain for a time near Cen
treville while he made the minute reconnois
junce which was necessary before a general
attack The teams, therefore, were turned
from the tlving batteries and wagons, and the
fine army beeves, which were our best camp
followers, were driven in and slaughtered by
the wholesale, under an order for the prepa
ration of three days' rations. " Griui-visaged
I war rtlaitii his wrinkled trout," and now, in
stead of prancinjg steads and regiments drawn
II M in line, nothing could be seen through the
ere valley but lounging swarms surrounding
ccaiß kettles, whose ardor and whose fullness
| hroaitht hack the picture of the wedding of
Cimacho. Jt was in the midst of this vast
I picnic and these savory steams that theSecre-
I arv of War paid a visit to the scene, and im
I parted, by the mere fact of his presence, an
I assurance tiiat we would not move
lat day. When lie left ns in the afternoon,
ftvro were some who believed we were on the
■ kof action; but the majority were of the
I-mion that the general advance would not
F mole till daybreak Monday morning. This
f ai the prevailing notion in the California I
amp (whose head quarters I had halt adopt
ed, in view of the impending departure of the
Seventy-first,) and, I must confess, it was !
partly none. I had, however, at the same
time, an idea that we might, perhaps, wait till ,
lien.' Ratterson could descend from Harper's
Ferry and co operate on our right. ;
Tne night wore quietly away, with the ex
ception of a slight alarm at the distant cot- ]
t.ige where f slept, and, which though more |
than a mil • from our lines, I had chosen for |
the convenience of making up my letters. At j
I io hours past midnight, three or four vol-I
I of musketry from a grove near by startled
It;awake, and, as I rose upon my arm, 1 could
ft-;r the squad of Germans who were picketed
I 'atli the porch cautiously cock their mns- j
Mi 'in expectation of an attack. Bat the lir
■ gsooii ceased, and daybreak revealed the
|hit that it prorccdsd from newly arrived reg
inents which had settled themselves hard by,
W.'JO had been merely expelling stale charges
bin their pieces in anticipation of important
Meanwhile, and all the following l day. the
ablest engineers of Gen McDowell's staff had
liecn reconnoitering for miles around, and the
fruit of their labors was h report that the en
t-mv's position could not Ik* turned to the left
or southward,) by reason of the roughness of
the roads; that it was not advisable to renew
the attack of the IStli on the battery of Bull
llun, Imt that the road to the light through
Oritrerille, was a practicable nvenue to an
| other crossing, and which was undefended,
and to which artillery could not be easily
drawn. This was called the Warrcnton road,
ami at some distance down, it had the fur
ther advantage of a path diverging from it to
the northward, by which a circuit could be
made to the rear of certain heavy batteries,
which the course of the main road itself would
wide us to strike in front. It was therefore
frded hy (Jen. McDowell to send merely one
Iflgade to Bull Run to hold the battery in
'heck, and to make his grand attack by the
road, relying upon the column that
* to pass off into the northward path to
'am the enemy's position and throw it into
< infusion while attacked by us upon its face.
1 'is seemed to be a very proper and consistent
I'M. Undoubtedly the theory of it was
plan (as a theory,) and it might have
heen practically successful, had it but fitted
'he proportions of the enemy. Unfortunate
ly, however, Gen. McDowell had not taken
'he fall measure of his foe, and the ci r cuit
*hich he had decided upon, instead of reach
the base of the Rebel's principal position
merely plunged against the side'of his trian
?e, where he was most fearfully in strength,
Md where the most desperate valor could but
"*rve to feed his guns. The Confederates, as
te might have ascertained, numbered, with
Ca t Johnston and his forces, at least 70,000
® l ' n ; and he now proposed to fling against j
'compact mass, reposing in jungles behind ;
arteries of the heaviest guns, some six orsev
brigades, to explore the labyrinth of
'ffrible position, and seek, by impetus alone,
J° 1)0,114 hole through it, and hold on to the
lo *er end.
. I' must he stated at this time, that while
w. McDowell was forming his calculations
'"the basis of hin engineers' report, he was
nwaro that Gen. Patterson was but 50 miles
w ' t ' 1 a Federal army of nearly
" "D men, who were then employed in watch-
J l .", 80 f T lB ' rebel force nnder Gen. Johnston,
a v ' ew °f preventing him from descend
2'o Manassas. He knew, also, that while
Mon, from having a railway track behind
■ could reach Manassas in two days, Put
-,i cou 'd riot follow, over obstructed roads
th ,r '."- en bridges, in less than five. Under
cor- Circ,mistauees ' would seem that the
...iionest military prudence would have sug
ed aV' <Jen c^owe " "boold have paus
b'iH IMS ! ,0 know whether Johnston had
<noned the neighborhood of Winchester,
■ br, therefore, it was Dot absolutely
necessary to the safety of the Federal forces,
to say nothing of a hope of victory, that he
should intrench himself at Centreville, and
wait for Patterson's arrival. But it appears
that Gen. McDowell considered the prestige of
the Federal cause and his own good luck as
equal to all the odds which treason could ac
cumulate, and accordingly he decided to stake
the fortunes of the Republic against the reb
els in general battle as he stood. A strong
evidence of patriotic self reliance, but not an
abundant proof of judgment. The army, how
ever, did not question the determination of
their Generul, but, with the wholesome vanity
of valor, each soldier felt the happiness of ex
pectation, and slept the sounder for the pros
pects of the morrow.
On their part, the Rebels lay on that brill
iant moonlight evening enfolded in vast
strength; their position being that of a triangle
with the point towards us,and branching up
ward to Manassas,with an open base of several
miles. The point or open of this triangle,
about a Hide round, was most heavily pro
tected at Bull Run, where the direct road to
Manassas crossed the Oeoquan. All up its ,
branching sides, however, batteries faced out- j
ward in deep rows, their ponderous iron !
concealed by artificial masks,whenever natur- j
al groves did not volunteer a screen. A I
stronger field position could hardly be imag- j
ined. Defended as it was by 70,000 men, to
tie increased to 110,000 in the morning, it
would scarcely suffer in comparison of strength
with Solferiiio or Savastopol; and I doubt if
there is any French or Russian engineer who
would have undertaken to assail it,
regular approaches, and several respectful
days of distant compliment with heavy shot .
and shell. Brigadier General Irwin McDow
ell, however, was going at it with a few 32
pounders and 10 field batteries) nearly all of
tlit*in light,) backed by some five or six brig
ades, whom, mentally, lie gave the credit of
believing to be equal to its capture. Had
our poor fellows but known the depth of the
compliment thus lavished on their prowess, I
doubt if they would have risen so joyful for
the Iray on the Sunday morning now so near
upon us. What rendered tilings even still
more desperate, could we but have known
their state, the enemy were thoroughly ac
quainted with our strength and intentions, 1
and awaited our coming with the greatest ea
gerness. Their anxiety, however, was deeply
mixed with dread that our General might
change his mind. With them, therefore, the
eve of this battle was a night of true hopeful
ness and intelligent reliance; and well might '
the rebel chieftains, as they looked proudly
over the vast host which an immense and des
perate energy hud got together, flatter them
selves that they now had the of the j
Great Republic, which they had so long con
temned and plundered, securely in their grasp.
In this belief, Davis aud his legions early went
j to sleep, while our battalions, halt rested, rose
I a little after midnight, to be wearied by scv-
I eral hours of hot march before catering upon
I the more violent fatigues of the attack.
The order for an early movement in the ;
morning was promulgated iu our camp at 10 j
o'clock on Saturday night; and we now have j
reason to believe that tiie order of march and '
battle, then distributed among our militia Ma i
jor-GeneraJs, was in possession of the Con fed |
orate leaders before our troops had risen for i
the conflict. From the hour of midnight, our j
sentinels could hear the oft repeated distant
railway whistle at the Junction, signaling the
arrival either of the last regiments of John
ston, or of Iresh troops coming up froin Rich
As the time of our start was fixed at 2:30
a. m., the entire army was awake an hour be
fore, and in marching order ut the indicated
moment. It was bright moonlight ; yet
through the brilliant sheen some of the
stronger stars looked curiously down, as if
they shared with us our wonder at the specta
cle. From the hill of Centreville backward
toward Fairfax, the whole valley, so lately un
trodden in its verdure, was sparkling with a
frost of steel; and, as the thirty thousand bay
onets moved forward in the uncertain light.
with that billowy motion peculiar to the step
of troops, the stirring mass looked like a
bristling monster lifting him-elf by a slow,
wavy motion up the laborious ascent. To
the left, and forward through the village in
the direction of the Run, the ground defend
ed three or four miles toward the Occoqnan,
and then rose in a gradual acsent to Manas
sas . It was a scene of mingled grove and
opening, and the moonlight slept as pla
cidly upon the jungles of that rise, as if Trea
son, armed in triple strength, were not slyly
watching fiom its lair our ignorant advance,
ready to belch forth upon us its deadly aud
malignant tires.
The plan of Gen. McDowell was, as I have i
already indicated, to advauce upon the enemy
in two directions, launching his main and cen
tral column along the Warren ton road in a
direct line, until he reached their batteries—
while a strong column, by a circuit to tho right
' was to smite them in the rear. The road to
Bull Run ou the left, apd the hostile batteries
at its end, were to be merely watched through
out the day, so that the enemy could not issue
from that quarter and turn our left. Colonel
Richardson, with the Ist Massachusetts, 2d
and 3d Michigan, and New-York Volunteer
12th, and U. S. Artillery, was charged with
' this duty ; while to support him, in case he
! should be seriously attacked, Gen. Miles, with
nine regiments, was posted in reserve, but tar
enough hack toward Centreville to give aid or
succor also to the main column in case it should
meet with a reverse. These niue regiments
consisted of the Bth, 16th, 17th, 18th, 29th,
| 31st and 32d N. Y., t'ue Garibaldi Guard,
and the Bth New York German Rifles. It was
further supported by Green's and Barry's U.
S. Batteries. The left being thus guarded,
Gen. McDowell posted the New Jersey Regi
ments, seven in uuraber, in reserve, at Oeiitre
j ville, and even still further back, so the rear
! should also have a proper protection on the
right and guard alike against any flank move
ment in that quarter. The rear beiug thus de
fended, on all sides, the central column which
poured on, aud which was to divide at the path
to the right, on the Warranton road, consist
ed of the divisions of Gen's. Tyler, Hunter and
Heintzleman ; the first being appropriated to
the eeutral and direct attack, and the two lat
ter to the flank movement on the right.
The division of Tyler consisted of three brig
ades ; and those of Heintzelman and Hunter
contained three and two respectively. The
first brigade of Tyler consisted of the 2d New
York and Ist and 2d of Ohio, under Gen.
Schenck, accompanied by a battery of light ar
tillery ; then followed the brigade of Sherman,
consisting ot New-York 69th, 79th, 13th aud
2d Wisconsin, accompanied by Ayer's Bat
tery ; while the brigade of Keyes, comprising
the Ist, 2d, and 3d Connecticut, and 2d Maine,
formed a rear guard for the division. This
latter brigade was accompanied by Tompkin's
U. S Battery and by the New York Volun
teer Battery of Varian. The division was fur
ther accompanied by a rifled 32 pounder, which
was known as the Parrot gun.
The flanking divisi n of Hunter and Heintz
leman consisted of the Bth, 14th, and 27th
New York, under Gen. Porter, accompanied
by companies of United States infantry, aud
cavalry, and marines, Ransom's United States
and Grittin's West Point Batteries. Then
came Bnrnside's Brigade, of the Rhode Island
Regiments, the New York 71st, and 2d New
Hampshire, accompanied by Reynold's and
Webb's Batteries, and two light howitzers,
which the boys of the 71st had learned to
work, and borrowed from the Navy Yard
This brigade also had a battery of rifled 32
pounders, under Capt. Seymour, of Fort Sum
ter. Ht-iutzlemau's Division consisted, in its
first brigade, of the sth Massachusetts, Ist
Minnesota, and 4th Pennsylvania. Two bat
teries accompanied this brigade. The next
brigade was under Wilcox, and consisted of the
Ist Michigan, 38th New York, and the Fire
Zouaves, backed by a battery of United States
Artillery. The last brigade contained the 3d,
4ti, and sth of Maine, and the 2d of Yer
mont. Tne sixteen regiments thus enumerat
ed in the flanking column may he set down at
between 13.000 and 14,000 men, while the
eleven in the central line may lie numbered at
between 8,0 10 and 9,000. The entire attack
ing force, therefore, may be summed up at 22,-
000 men, all of whouie could hardly expect to
be engaged.
This was the army which passed out of the
valley up over the hill at 3 o'clock on the
morning of the 21st, and which, with the
moon siiil lighting them upon their journey,
took the right-hand road toward the strong
holds of the enemy. It was a iirave sight, not
soon to be forgotten by those who witnessed it,
while the thoughts which it inspired were to
become henceforth an established portion of
the mind. The regiments of the reserve, as
they stood looking ou at the passing line, en
vied their marching comrades what they re-
garded us u better fortune ; and as they went j
by, saluted them with various requests, rang- >
iug between the acquisition of some traitor's
scalp, down to the possession of a palmetto
button. The marching line replied with va- :
li iu< conceits, but in most cases the requests I
were responded to with a large excess ot pro
mise. ft was, indeed, a gallant sight ; how
sadly to be changed in a few hours none of j
them, fortunately, knew, By 3 1-2 o'clock, '
the last bayonet had disappeared over the hill j
and the entire column was on its way bv the
memorable Warrenpoiut turnpike to teek its |
fortune. The halts were numerous, in order i
that the Generals luignt insure the compact- i
ness of the line, and presently we all passed
across a wooden bridge in quiet, no challenge
being made that might prevent us from reach
ing the deepest entangle sent where the foe
desired to give us more bitter battle. Ouward
we went, the soldiers cursing the rough road,
wondering when they would have breakfast,
or vowing to get even on the fellows who had
put tlicni to all this trouble. The day broke
mildly as we pushed aiong, and many asoldier
thought from the dead silence of the woods
that lined the road at iutervals, we should
have no battle after all. Presently we struck
the path that branched off to the right, and
here the column, under Hunter's lead, broke
off, while the central column, with McDowell
at its head, went directly on.
As the circuit of the flanking column was
to be a wide one, aud as it could not reach its
destined point and come into action with effect,
in less than two or three hours, our first atten
tion must be given to the maiu column accom
panied by the Commander-in-Ctiief. It was
| broad day wheu we parted with the flanking
i column, and we proceeded along with an easy
I step, with our skirmishers well in advance, and
| watchful, on the look-out. No traces of the
i enemy appeared, however, and the extraordi
nary quiet of the scene, coupled with tiie fact
; that our entire coiumu had been allowed to
I cross the wooden bridge unmolested, induced
j many to believe that the enemy, consulting
: prudence, would yield the defenses of the Run
aud give us battle ouly at Manassas. But this
idea was formed iu perfect ignorance of the
extent of the Confederate dtfeuses, for we were
| already within range'of some of their batter
] ics, and at the close of the day they lauded
! their shell upon the bridge with murderous ef
i feet. In short, their whole strategy was aile
; coy, and their hasty retirement from Fairfax,
; and pretended abandonment of camp furniture,
! as well as the shallow obstruction of our ad
vance by leveled trees, were merely portions
of a well digested plan, to coax our army, step
by step, into their gigantic trap. Of all pla
ces, therefore, on the whole continent, Alau
nassas, and its miles of its densely serried bat
teries, was the last with which the Federal
Army had any business ; yet, there we were,
" going it blind," with the vain coufldeuce of
fools, on perfectly good terms with ourselves,
and exalting in advance the profound military
leader, who was thus giving us a chance to ae-
velop his keen foresight and commanding ge
nius After we bad got about a mile aud a
half beyond the wooden bridge, the road be
gan gradually to slope toward the Run, and
to be more closed in with trees ; and even at
that early hour the coolness of those leafy
I aisles, was felt as a relief from the already hot
and dusty path. After we emerged from this
I pleasing shelter, the column proceeded along
to the distance of, perhaps,a quarter of a mile,
descending all the while toward a ravine which
harbored a sluggish stream crossed by a stone
bridge. From that point the enemy's defenses
rose, spreading and thickening at easy inter
vals, and surmounted by powerful batteries
where the lino met the horizon ; and I may
pause here to say—with powerful batteries
packed, aud extending behind that line for
miles along. Suddenly, an exclatnatiou of
" There they are !" from a member of Gener
cral Tyler's staff, brought our column to a
stand. Every field olficer at once brought his
glass to bear, and the consciousness that we
were surely to have a fight ran in an electric '
whisper along the entire column. There, In
deed, they were, the Rebels, down in a mea i
dow, still a distance off, and riot boldly pre-1
ceptible, because of the dark background of !
the woods. It was a body of infantry drawn
up in line of battle, its full strength concealed j
from being extended partly in the forest. It i
was now necessary that we also should take !
battle order—so we deployed into the adjoin- !
iug fields, Geu. Scbenck's brigade, consisting
of the 2d New York and Ist and 2d Ohio Re
giments, being extended to the left, and Sher
man's brigade, composed of the New York 1
09th, 79tli, 13th and 2d Wisconsin, stretching
on the right. The large rifled 32 pounder was
then brought forward through the center, and j
put into position in the middle of the road.
The enemy evidently saw this movement with
their glasses, for they suddenly fell back,
whereupon the gnn, giving out its thunder,
flung a shell towards the spot of their retire
The fuse was short, however, and after
plowing its roaring progress just over the j
proper spot, it burst harmless in air. But j
the echoes of that solemn challenge announced
to a hundred and fifty thou-ainl armed men ;
that the battle had begun. The silence that ;
followed was profound ; but it was broken by
no answer from the enemy ; so. after a pause
of several minutes, our iron monster spoke
again, this time leveling itself at a battery
higher on the hill, and dropping its compli- i
meut directly inside the works, to the destruc-1
tion, as we were afterwards informed, of half j
a dozen men. The enemy, nevertheless, did j
not seem to think the game quiet made, and !
though he was near enough, as subsequent
ly proved, to reach us from two or three posi
tions on our right and left, persisted in a sul
len silence. Our first shot had been fired at
half-past six, and it was now after seven ; still
the foe dained no response, and it was plain
! he would not be satisGed unless we sought him
j deeper in his fastnesses. The big gun, there-
fore, was superseded by light artillery for;
closer service, and an order was given for] the j
brigades, thus strengthened,to move right and i
left and explore the adjoining woods. This
order necessarily brought up the brigade of ,
Keyes, which now occupied the center, but i
>till acting as a reserve. The timber branch- j
ed away on either side in a sort of crescent
toward the batteries of the enemy ; on the i
right hand, however it pursued the straight '
line. Both brigades, without skirmishers well j
out at once proceeded upon their respective i
tasks, Scheuck following at a left oblique along j
the edge of the wood, with Col. M'Cook ami i
the Ist Ohio in the lead ; Col. Tompkins and j
the New-York 2d next, with the 3d Ohio, |
under Col. Harris, in the rear. The brigade;
proceeded in this way, exhibiting the utmost
caution lor the distance of about a mile, when
they struck a fine newly-opened road to the ■
left, whose clean, broad path seemed to invite
their entrance. They turned iuto it and fol- j
lowed it for some distance, when, to their sur- j
prise, it ended abruptly to a fence, with no
evidence of any road beyond. Suddeuly the
enemy showed himself in two or three places
to the left, and shaking his flag at our troops,
opened a tremendous lire. It was promptly !
answered by the whole brigade, who endured
the storm of balls with the greates fortitude, j
and returned fire for fire. Several fell at
this spot, and among others, the favorite !
drummer boy of the '2d. The poor little fel-1
low was struck by a cannon ball, which took
him just below the arm-pits and literally cut
biin in two, his childish shriek of pain rniug
ling with the whistle of the rifled shot as his
little life went with it down the wind. The
storm from the batteries seemed now to in
crease rather than to slacken, and unable to
endure it in such an exposed position, the
brigade fell, in good order, back upon the
wood. General Schenrk, who exhibited
throughout the whole affair the most reckless
bravery, uow ordered his men to emerge and
charge the main battery by a flank movement,
but owing to the remonstrances of nearly all the
officers, the desperate project was abandoned.
The men, though now out of musket range,
were yet subjected to the constant drop of
shell,which seemed to have instinctively found
out their leafy covert; so, after consultation,
they were drawn off aud retired, in good
order, to their position in the neighborhood of
the Parrot gun ; hearing on their way the
thunder of battle on the right, with an occa
sional heavy report from Richardson, on the
extreme left, to indicate that the enemy had
been putting his feelers forward at Bull Run,
to try whether a movement to turn our rear
.were practicable in that quarter.
The Sherman brigade, which had separated
from the central column, and went off to the
light at the same time that Sehenck's brigade
set out in the opposite direction, had pro
cecded but a little way upon their errand he
fore they were saluted with fearful showers of
shot and shell ; but receiving it only as a pro
vocation, they overraD two or three earthworks
with their headlong charges, the Irishmen and
Highlanders screaming with excitement all
the while, and the stout Wisconsouiatiß and
brave New-York 13th silently wading by their
sides. But we must now leave them ia the
midst of this pleasant and congenial work, to
follow the fortunes of the flanking eolumn
Having now shown the course and features
of the tattle on the centre, for three hours,
we now turn to the flanking column, which
was expected to be able, in about that time,
to turu the rear of the Confederate position,
and unite itself, through the broken columns
of the foe, with the direct onward tide.
This column, as I have already stated, con
tained the two divisiousof Hunter, and Heint
zlemeu, and ft was led by the Brunside
brigade, consisting of the Ist and 2d Rode
Islanders, the 2d New-Hampshire, and the
New York "Ist. The next brigade was com
posed of the New-York Bth, 14th, and 27th ;
the next of the Ist Michigan, the Fire Zouaves
and the 38tb New-York ; the uext, the
sth Massachusetts, and Ist Minnesota, and
the last, the 3d and 4th and sth Maine, and
2d Vermont. The Colonels of those regi
ments respectively, in the order I have placed
them, were I'itiuan, Sloctim, Marston, Martin
Lyons, Wood, Slocutn, Comstock. Farnham,
Ward, Lawrence, Gorman, Tucker, Berry,
Gontiel, and Whitney. The reader, who is
specially interested, will place them for him
Immediately after leaving the central col
umn, the Buriiside brigade having the lead, >
threw out its skirmishers, and proceeded along '
at a brisk rate, perserving, however, common j
time, in view of the iong'distauce to be made.—
The course for the first fore or five miles, was I
rather boldly to the right. It then inclined
more gently to the northward, and then, after
some eight or nine miles had beeu accompish- [
ed, curved sharp toward the left. The march I
was a most fatiguing one, and though shaded
to considerable extent by long stretches of !
close timber, much of it lay in the glare of j
the hot sun, and all of it had its share of |
stifling dust, except wliere we crossed the
i fields. But the men were hungry and also
very much fatigued, most ot them having 5
got but two or three hours' sleep the night j
! before. Still they trudged cheerfully along,
animated by the task before them, and made
more elastic by the sound of the cannonade,
which had for some time been heard, and
which they were now seusibly approaching.—
In the brigade, nay, in the whole line, none
i heard this with higher spirit than the 71st. j
! About 10 o'clock the, head of the column
| came into an open country, and after proceed
ing in it for a mile, Capt. Ellis of the 71st,
| detected a masked battery about half a mile I
to the left ; and bringing our .glasses to bear
upon it, we could also preceive the enemy
moving to their position through the woods,
iu considerable force. Soou after this, Gen j
M'Dowtll came riding up, and orders were >
given that we should proceed at more rapid |
pace, and an hour more brought the brigade
close to the rattle of the strife. The columu
now made its final curve, and turning sharp- j
ly to tire left faced the rear of battle as it
; came from the head of the central column
which, under the lead of the 69th, was now
! pressing its way toward us. The dins of guns I
and musketry at this point was almost deaf- :
ening, and the very earth trembled with the !
i roar of the heavier artillery. Burnside, who
| was forward, then sent an order to the 71st ;
to take its howitzers and dash through a '
< piece of woods, and form its positiou on the
right of the Rhode Islanders. Obeying the
orders with alacrity, the "Ist passed the New
Hampshier men in their impetuosity and
emerged into the fire, while the 2d N. H.
formed in good order on the extreme right.
It was now nearly four o'clock, p. m , and
the general battle seemed to have subsided ;
nay, almost entirely to have ceased ; and notb
ing but an occasional great gun, and isolated
flirt of musketry proclaimed its countinuance
in any quarter. In their ignorance of the ex
tent of the field, the Federal forces imagined
they had won a victory. They had shown
greater dash and steadiuess than the enemy
i from first to last ; and while, by far, the most
exposed, had inflicted a much heavier slaught
er thau they had undergone themselves. The
whole aspect within our lines, or rather within
the boundaries of our brigades, wore the look
of triumph. Our enemies, wherever we had
met them baud to hand, in anything like open
opportunity, had sunk before us ; all their bafc
| teries immediately within our reach had silenc
ed ; but, what was iufinitely more conclusive
to our green appreciations, General McDowell,
our Cammander-in Chief,now came jingling on
the field, waving, first his glove, and then his
hat, calling us " brave boys," and telling us
with the grand air of Caesar, that we had won
the day. He passed away like a splendid
dream. "A big thing," in glorious uniform,
aud branching new regulation hat.
After our joyful shouts had gone down the
wind after him, our tired legions flung them
selves, by oue accord, upon the ground,to take
a brief suap at their haversacks, und to catch
a few minutes repose before making their final
dispositions for tho day. Perhaps no army
which had.won a victory was ever more fa
tigued, and tho men as they lay upon their
sides, and rehearsed the horrors of the day,
wondered how they had held out so long.—
•Many, however, had not even this repose, for
they were bearing off their wounded comrade?
to the hospital, and others were searching for
their sworn brethren in arms among the dead
These lay about in the most fantastic shapes
some absolutely headless, some represented bj
a gory trunk alone, some with smiles,and sotut
with rage upon their lips,as they grasped tbeii
bent and curiously twisted weapons, and som<
actually rolled up like a ball Whoever woulc
study the eccentricities of carnage, might hert
have graduated through all the degrees of hor
ror, to a full experience at once.
Nearly the whole of our army was now
grouped pretty well together. The brigade:
which had made the circuit against the enemy':
.•<ide had been joined by those which had fough
straight on ; and a glance at the field showet
that the whole breadth of our battle had no
spread over a mile and a half Had we been up ii
Professor Lowe's balloon, we might have seei
at once that, with all our prowess aud heroic
daring, we had merely cut a hole in the small
end of the enemy's plateau of batteries, aud
that his rear, which our Geueral imagined he
had turned, overhung us in massive wings,
which still remaiued untouched. Our plan,
therefore, was, as I said before, too small for
the measure of our customer. The coat which
bad been chalked in conception of a boy,would
uot inclose the proportions of a man, and we
were destined, as is often the case with new
beginuers, to have our work turned upon our
hauds. This truth came soou j for suddenly
as wo were restiug, the roar of battle broke
out again in every direction, and batteries we
had thought mute forever, now opened with
redoubled fury. The most terrific yells from
the enemy accompanied the renewal or the con
flict, and it became evideot that, instead of
having yielded to the untoward fortunes of
the day, they had only been refreshing them
selves while pouring new regiments into their
lower works. The Sherman Brigade, astound,
ed by this new assault, was forced to retire
from the position it had occupied ; but it re
treated in good-style, and being now entirely
without otders, began to march off toward the
They passed on their road the brigade of
Schenck, which, with the brigades of Howard
and Franklin, had been siuce noou in the
densest of strife ; the Maine boys and the
Vermouters haviug signalized themselves espe
cially by the enthusiasm of their charges,while
none, during the tempestuous fortunes of that
day, excelled the Miuuesota and the sth Mas
sachusetts iu the stubborn fortitude with which
again aud again, they pressed through, and
withstood the fiercest fire. As the Sherman
Brigade went by, Scbeuck's men stood breath
ing in the woods, the New.York 2d occupying
a posiliou ou the left. The 6lh brought up
the rear of the temporarily retiring colamn ;
but its gallant Colonel, watchful its welfare
lingered behind, and urged stragglers not to
get separated from their commands. Hu
paused for an instant to salute Col. Tompkins
of the 2d,who stood dismounted at a little dis
tance from his regiment, on the opposite side
of the road. Just at this moment, a large
body of the enemy's Black Horse were seen
making a chargo toward them, though its
immediate object was to attack Carlisle's bat
tery, which, out of ammunition, stood limber
ed up iu the centre of the road. The t%
Colonels watched the movement, and, transfix
ed with excitement as tht-y saw the dragoons
saber the canuoniers, forgot to take measures
for their owu protectiou.
It was imminently necessary that they should
for the quick exploit upon the battery had
scarcely retarded the black column in the least,
and they came pouring ou the unformed col
umns of the Schenck Brigade. Promptly,
however, the quick order of McCook shaped
the Ist Ohio, and the others, following by in*
i stinct, showtd a firm line, with bayonets nil
poised, and ready tor the charge. The Black
Horse looked for a moment, but not liking
that array of steel, they liirted off to the right
; (receiving a vo'ley as they went), and a squad
of them made a dashlto cut-off the two colonels
who were isolated in the road. Thompkins,
who saw the danger coming, quickly sprang
to a horse near at baud, and calling on Cor
coran to follow, spurred him at a fence. The
troopers, however, were too near for Corcor
au's tired horse, and whirling around the Irish
Colonel, they took him captive, and bore bim
off. A portiou of the squad followed after
Tompkins, but his spirited charger leaped two
fences in fine style, and amid the crack ol the
dragoous' six shooters, he got safe away. The
brigade of Schenck, being now utter'y fagged
ont, and being moreover entirely without or
ders, fell back upon the footsteps of the 69th,
The Burnside Brigade was still upon the
field, where they had received from General
McDowell the news of victory, and, conse
qnently, had heard, with the surprise that was
equal amoug all of oar brigades, the angry re
opening of the Gght. They had seen, too, tha
other brigades file off toward the rear, but
having no orders for such movement, and not
being in the fire, the staunch Rhode Islanders,
Wisconeooians and list doggedly held their
feet. But the musketry on oor side was get
ting faint, and the great gnns of the enemy,
unprovoked from our almost exheusted batter
ies, were now but sparsely fired. Everything
therefore, indicated another lull, and it could
not be made certain to onr minds but that we
I had really won the victory after all, and that
last cannonade was but the angry finish of the
enemy. Suddenly aery broke from the ranks
of " Look there ! Look there I" and, turning
their eyes toward Manassas, the whole of onr
drooping regiments, as well as those who were
moving to the rear as those who stood, saw a
sight which none who ever gazed opon it will
At a long way up the rise, and issuing from
the enemy's extreme left, appeared, slowly de
bouching into sight, a dense column of infan
try, marching with slow and solid step, and
loc king, at this noiseless distance,like a mirage
of ourselves, or the illusion of a panorama.—-
Rod by rod the massive cofbmn lengthened,
not breaking off ut the completion of a regi
ment, as we had hoped, but still pouring on,
and on, and on, till one regiment had length
ened into ten. Even then the stern tide did
not pause ; tor one of its arms turned down
ward along the far side of the triangle, and,
the source of the flood thus relieved, poured
' forth again, aud commenced lining the other
! in like manner. Still the solemn picture swol
• led its volume, till the ten regiments had doubl
s ed iuto twenty, and hnd taken the formation
1 of three sides of a hollow sqware. Our awe
! struck legionß, though beginning to feel tha
• approaches of despair.could not take their eyes
from that majestic pageant, and, thoogh ex
' periencing a uew necessity, were frozen to the
< sight.
5 The martial tide flowed on, the lengthening
t regiments growing into thirty thousand men,
1 with a mass of black cavalry in its centre, the
t whole moving toward us, as the sun danced
i upon its pomp of bayonets, with the soledaa
l ( Conelv-ded. on foutth fig* )