Clement Anselm Evans.

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orders, were to move to the sound of the heaviest firing.
Ewell was to begin this flanking movement from the
Union Mills ford, on the extreme right, to be followed
by the brigades to the left, successively, at the various
fords, as before enumerated. Great care had been taken
to instruct the subordinate commanders in reference to
this movement, as they were all unaccustomed to command
in battle maneuvers ; they were also ordered to establish
close communication with each other before making the

At half past eight, Generals Johnston and Beauregard
took position on a high hill in the rear of the center, oppo-
site Mitchell's ford, to await the opening of the Confeder-
ate attack on the right, by which Beauregard confidently
expected to win a decisive victory by midday, and cut off
the retreat of the Federal army to Washington. At
about the same hour, Evans, from near the stone bridge,
discovered a lengthening line of dust advancing from the
north toward the Warrenton turnpike, and, observing


that the attack on his front was not pressed with vigor,
became satisfied that it was a mere feint, and that a column
of the enemy was moving, masked by the Sudley woods,
to fall on his left flank. He promptly informed General
Cocke, his immediate commander, of the enemy's move-
ment, and took the responsibility of making dispositions
to meet it. Leaving four companies under cover at the
stone bridge, which had been previously destroyed, he
led six companies of the Fourth South Carolina riflemen
and Wheat's battalion of Louisiana Tigers, with two
6-pounder howitzers, across the valley of Young's branch
to the high ground called Matthews' hill (on the divide
between that branch and one parallel to it on the north,
facing the Henry hill), about three-fourths of a mile
north of the Warrenton road, and placed his men so as to
meet the Federal advance by the Sudley road, on which
he rested his left, planting one gun on his right and the
other on his left. His front was covered by a small piece
of woods extending along the Sudley road. Here he
awaited the approach of the Federal column, which, led
by Bumside's brigade, deployed in his front a little
before lo o'clock. Wheat at once engaged the Federal
skirmishers, and when the second Rhode Island regi-
ment and its six guns appeared, Evans met them with
his South Carolinians and two howitzers, at short range,
and drove them back. Bumside's entire brigade, sup-
ported by eight guns, was now sent forward in a second
charge. These were met and driven back into the strip
of woods from which they had advanced, and from which
they continued to fire, until, reinforced by eight com-
panies of United States regular infantry and six pieces of
artillery, supported by other regiments of Porter's bri-
gade, they advanced to a third attack, which Evans held
in combat for about an hour. Major Wheat was severely
wounded in the first attack, and, having to leave the field,
his battalion became somewhat disorganized. During
the third attack, which Evans was sustaining with great
firmness, he called upon General Bee, who was in reserve
with his own and Bartow's command near the stone
bridge, for help. Bee, informed of the Federal move-
ment, had already moved to the left following the sound
of conflict, and taken position on the Henry hill, or
plateau, to the south of the Warrenton turnpike. This
hill commanded the stone bridge and the Sudley road


where that crossed the turnpike, by its elevation of about
loo feet above the level of Bull run. Bee was holding
this admirable position with his two brigades on oppo-
site sides of Imboden's battery (which he had borrowed
from Jackson's brigade), in full view of Evans' conten-
tion on the opposite side of Young's branch valley, and
was opening with his artillery upon the Federal batteries
opposed to Evans, when he received the latter's request
for aid, which he answered by advising Evans to with-
draw to his position on the Henry hill. Still full of fight,
Evans was unwilling to retreat, and renewed his appeal
for reinforcements. As it was plain to be seen that the
visibly swelling numbers of McDowell's advance were
giving them great advantages over Evans in the combat.
Bee yielded to his appeal and led his two brigades
across the valley under fire of the enemy's well served
artillery, and threw them into the contention, one regi-
ment in the woods held by Evans, two along a fence
extending to the right, and two, under Bartow, extend-
ing the right still further, but at right angles along the
edge of a wood, not more than loo yards from the Fed-
eral left, where the combat, at short range, quickly
became sharp and deadly. The superior numbers of the
Federal infantry failed to make any headway against this-
stubborn vanguard, although the powerful batteries of
Griffin were playing on Bee's whole line, until two strong-
brigades from Heintzelman's division, arriving on the
field, extended the line of fire on the Federal right, and a
six-gun battery of rifled lo-pounders took part from a
strong position behind the Sudley road. While contend-
ing with these odds, the brigades of Sherman and Keyes,
of Tyler's division, under orders from McDowell to force
the stone bridge, crossed at a ford above that bridge
and moved into position on the Federal left, so
lengthening that as to overlap Bee and force him to
retire, which he began to do, steadily, covered by the
fire of Imboden's guns and of Hampton's legion from
the Henry plateau and his own retiring howitzers; but
the Federal fire that followed was so fierce and heavy
that the Confederates were soon thrown into confusion,
and the greater part of them retreated, discomfited,
across Young's branch, and sought safety around the
sheltering spur to the right of the stone bridge.
While this brave battle of Evans and Bee was going on„


Johnston and Beauregard were anxiously awaiting on
Lookout hill the development of the flank move-
ment ordered against the Federal left and rear. Sur-
prised that Ewell did not begin this, they learned from
D. R. Jones, at the nearby McLean's ford, that he had
long been ready and waiting for Ewell to join his right
in the forward movement, as he had sent him, between
seven and eight in the morning, a copy of the order from
headquarters directing Ewell to at once begin that move-
ment ; but so far he had heard nothing from him. Beau-
regard at once, by a staff officer, repeated his order to
Ewell, directing him to promptly advance ; but soon hear-
ing from him that he, too, had been waiting, having
received no orders, and the firing on the left indicating a
serious attack by the enemy in that direction, the gen-
erals decided to abandon the intended offensive move-
ment and hurry all their available forces to the left,
where it was now apparent the main battle was to be
fought. Ewell, Jones and Longstreet were left in their
assigned positions on the right and along the center, to
hold the Federals in their front and make demonstra-
tions toward Centreville. The brigades of Holmes and
Early and two regiments of Bonham's brigade, with- six
guns, were ordered to move rapidly to the left to rein-
force the battle of Evans and Bee on the Warrenton road.
These orders given, the two generals rode rapidly to the
field of conflict, arriving on the Henry hill, which over-
looked that field, just as the discomfited men of Bee and
Evans, overpowered by numbers, were seeking refuge
from the hot and heavy Federal fire in the shallow
ravines that ascended from Young's branch, from near
the turnpike, to the right and rear of the line that Jack-
son had formed with his brigade on the Henry hill;
Hampton's legion, by steady combat, having covered the
rear of the retreat.

The field officers of the more than 2,000 routed men of
the commands of Evans and Bee, among whom Federal
shot and shell from the batteries of Griffin and Ricketts
were raining, were making desperate efforts to rally their
men and reorganize them, but to no purpose, although
Johnston and Beauregard both joined in the effort. Strong
masses of Federal infantry were rapidly advancing, and
disaster seemed imminent, when the heroic Bee,
■exhausted in his fruitless effort to rally his men, rode


Up to Jackson, who was steadily holding his brigade in a
full fronting position, notwithstanding the approaching
attack of the enemy, the artillery fire that was thinning
his ranks, and the nearby confusion, and cried out in
a tone of despair: "General, they are beating us back! "
The reply came, prompt and curt, but calm, "Then we
will give them the bayonet." The blazing and defiant
look of Jackson, his bold and prompt determination, and
the steady line of brave men that supported him, gave
new life to Bee. Galloping back to the disorganized
masses of his command, he shouted, waving his hand to
the left: "Look! There is Jackson, standing like a stone
wall. Rally behind the Virginians! Let us determine
to die here, and we will conquer. Follow me ! ' ' Obedi-
ent to this clarion call to duty and the example of sol-
dierly bearing to which their attention had been called,
a number of Bee's men rallied and followed him in a
charge to the left against the advancing enemy, in which
this heroic leader fell dead. From that time forward,
through all the ages of history, Jackson became, and will
continue to be, "Stonewall" Jackson, and his brigade
the "Stonewall brigade."

At this crisis of the battle on the Confederate side,
Beauregard ordered the regimental standards to be
advanced some 40 yards to the front of the still dis-
ordered masses of the commands of Evans and Bee.
This was promptly done by the field officers, thus gaining
the attention of the men and inducing them to obey
orders and rally on their colors. Johnston and Beaure-
gard in person, at about this time, advanced to the front
with the colors of the Fourth Alabama, when, as General
Beauregard relates, "the line that had fought all the
morning and had fled, routed and disheartened, now
advanced again into position as steadily as veterans. "

Order was but partially restored on the Henry hill,
when, flushed with theii partial victory and eagerly striv-
ing for a complete one, the Federals, in battle array, came
sweeping down the slope on which Evans had so long
detained them, crossed Young's branch and the Warren-
ton turnpike, and began climbing the northern slope of
the Henry hill, detained for awhile by Hampton's legion,
which he had promptly thrown forward to cover the
retreat of Bee and Evans.

Seeing the superior numbers of the enemy advancing


to another conflict, Beauregard persuaded Johnston,
who yielded with great reluctance, to ride back about a
mile to "Portici," the Lewis house, on the line of com-
munication with the right, and hasten forward, as they
came up, the reinforcements that had been ordered to the
battle, while he looked after the immediate combat,
which was provided for by placing Smith's Forty-ninth
Virginia, ordered up from Cocke's brigade on Bull run, on
Jackson's left, and the Seventh Georgia still farther tO'
the left. Hampton's legion of South Carolinians and
Hunton's Eighth Virginia, which had also been called
up from Cocke, were placed in the rear of Jackson's
right to oppose any attack from the direction of the stone
bridge. These 6,500 men and 13 field guns in place, he
awaited the attack of four Federal brigades, a battalion
of cavalry, and the fine batteries of Griffin and Ricketts.
of the regular army, some 11,000 soldiers in rank and
file, that in splendid martial order were now nearing th&
front of his position on the Henry plateau. The north-
western crest of this they soon reached, in well formed
line of battle, captured the Robinson house on the Con-
federate right and the Henry house on its left-center,
quickly placed the batteries of Griffin and Ricketts ia
position near the Henry house, and poured a galling fire
of infantry and artillery on the Confederate line, to the
fury of which three other Federal batteries contributed
from the hills beyond the turnpike. The somewhat-
sunken Sudley road, along which the Federals had been
advancing, furnished a covered way up the Henry hill
which their infantry took advantage of in supporting
their batteries near the Henry house. The lines of battle
were now not far apart on the undulating Henry plateau,
and the Confederate batteries of Imboden, Stanard,
Walton, Pendleton and Alburtis had their innings at
short range, cutting fearful gaps in the oncoming lines,
which were still more severely punished by the steady
fire of the musketry of Jackson's men and of those on
his right and left ; especially was this the case on Beau-
regard's left, which he had strengthened with two com-
panies of the Second Mississippi. Two companies of
Stuart's cavalry, coming from the left, just then charged
through the Federal ranks to the Sudley road, and added
to the havoc wrought by the infantry and artillery.
McDowell, watching from the Sudley ridge slope the


wavering battle, followed up his attack by continuing to
extend his right with fresh bodies of infantry and artil-
lery as they came forward from the rear, and by so doing
threatening to turn Beauregard's left. Some of the Fed-
eral guns were pressed so boldly to the front that men
from the Thirty-third Virginia sprang forward and cap-
tured them, but they were soon retaken. To meet this
threatened blow on his left, Beauregard took the offens-
ive and ordered a counterstroke from his right to clean
off the Henry plateau in his front. The commands of
Bee, Bartow, Evans and Hampton, the men who had so
bravely and stubbornly held back McDowell's advance in
the early morning, now responded with spirit and speed,
striking the Federal left ; Jackson, with strong and steady
blows, pierced its center, while Smith's Virginians and
Gartrell's Georgians charged on its right. This bold
movement, sweeping over both infantry and artillery,
entirely cleared the plateau of Federal troops and cap-
tured the batteries of Ricketts and Griffin. 'The success
of this brilliant counterstroke cheered the Confederates
and braced them for another struggle.

Looking from his commanding position to the north-
ward, Beauregard saw the still constant and steady
coming on of Federal reinforcements. Without delay he
reorganized his line of battle, under heavy fire from the
artillery on the hills north of the turnpike, and prepared
for the third attack, which McDowell was then organizing
with Howard's brigade, which had just arrived on the
field of battle. The attack soon came ; the fresh Federal
troops swept down the slope from the north, crossed the
valley of Young's branch, and pressed up the northwest-
ward slope of the Henry hill, taking advantage of ravines,
clumps of trees, and the sunken Sudley road, and reach-
ing the crest, by the force of numbers bravely led,
pressed the Confederates back across the plateau,
regained their lost position and recaptured their lost
guns. The conflict now became a death struggle for the
final possession of the Henry hill and for the closing
victory to which that was the key. The advantage of
numbers enabled McDowell to still further extend his
right through the woods west of the Sudley road, again
threaten to turn Beauregard's left, and force him to
throw that back as a protection against such a move-
-ment; this also enabled McDowell to extend his left


toward Bull run, and threaten to turn Beauregard's right-
from the direction of the stone bridge.

It was now between two and three of the afternoon of
a scorchingly hot midsummer day, and many of Beaure-
gard's men, who had been almost constantly fighting
since the early morning, were nearly exhausted; but.
having faith in the unflinching endurance of his men,
whose mettle he had so thoroughly tested during the
preceding hours of the day, he not only determined to
hold on and await reinforcements, which he knew John-
ston was sending, for the final struggle, but to again take
the offensive and drive the enemy from the plateau,
advancing his whole line as before and adding to it the-
reserves on the right, which he would lead in person.
Of this Beauregard wrote: "The movement was made
with such keeping and dash that the whole plateau was.
swept clear of the enemy, who were driven down the
slope and across the turnpike on our right and the valley
of Young's branch on our left, leaving in our final posses-
sion the Robinson and the Henry houses, with most of
Ricketts' and Griffin's batteries, the men of which were,
mostly shot down where they bravely stood by their
guns. ' '

The Sixth North Carolina, which, by railway, had just
reached Manassas Junction from toward Richmond,
now came to the field in time to join with the left of
Beauregard's charge; the Eighteenth Virginia, under
Colonel Withers, which had been ordered up from-
Cocke's brigade on the banks of Bull run, also arrived,
opportunely, on the right, and joined in the charge with
Hampton's legion, capturing several guns, which some
of the officers of these commands turned upon the
retreating foe, and so helped to finish the hot work of
driving McDowell's men for the second and last time
from the Henry plateau.

This successful Confederate charge, across the fields and
through the patches of forest of the Henry hill, did not
reach McDowell's right, which extended through the
woods to the west of the Sudley road and to some dis-
tance beyond Beauregard's left. The Second and Eighth
South Carolina, moving from the Confederate right on
Bull run, had been turned by Johnston to the Confeder-
ate left of the engagement. These reached the field in
time to meet McDowell's movement from the right.


Preston's Twenty-eighth Virginia and Kemper's Virginia
battery also appeared in time to join the South Carolini-
ans in holding, with hot contention, Howard's brigade,
Sykes' battalion of regulars, and the accompanying artil-
lery and cavalry of McDowell's right, but were not strong
enough to drive them back. The hour of three in the
afternoon had now come, and it was time to strike a.
last telling blow to decide the fortunes of the day.
Providentially for the Confederates, E. Kirby Smith's-
brigade of 1,700 fresh and rested soldiers, the last of the
available reinforcements from the army of the Shenan-
doah, had reached Manassas Junction, by rail, at midday.
They were 6 miles in the rear of the battle, but officers
of the general staff were at hand to guide and hurry them
to the critical point of the pending contention, the Con-
federate left of the field. Just as that brigade entered,
the wood to the left of the Sudley road, a Federal bullet
seriously wounded General Smith, and the command,
devolved upon Col. Arnold Elzey, a most efficient suc-
cessor, who, guided by Captain Harris of the engineers,
marched his brigade to Beauregard's extreme left and
then, moving forward, met the Federal advance just,
coming into the open fields of the Chinn farm, and,
aided by Beckham's Virginia battery, poured upon it a
destructive fire which held it in check in the forest on
the northward slopes toward the turnpike. Just then
McDowell made another strenuous effort to turn the Con-
federate right by sending Keyes' brigade across the turn-
pike near the stone bridge, and thence southward, under
cover of the spurs from the Henry plateau, to a favor-
able point for attack. Latham's Virginia battery, in
position to guard -that flank, met this advance with a
galling fire, aided by Alburtis' Virginia battery, which
Jackson had hastened to his left and supported by broken
fragments of troops collected by staff officers. 'These re-
pulsed this movement, and showed McDowell that it was
useless to attempt to turn that flank of Beauregard's army.
Still unwilling to yield the field, McDowell formed
from fresh men that came up a new line of battle, for-
midable in numbers and in length, and crescent in out-
line, across the Sudley road, on the heights to the north
of the turnpike, and throwing forward a strong line of
skirmishers, proposed for a third time to assault the
Henry plateau ; but his intention was quickly thwarted


by the fierce combat that Elzey was now pressing on his
right, the force of which was intensified by the arrival of
Early's grand Virginia brigade from McLean's ford,
-which, by direction of Johnston, swept around the rear
of the woods through which Elzey had passed, and
bravely bore down upon the flank of the already waver-
ing Federal right and started that wing in full retreat.
Learning of the success on his left which the forest con-
cealed from his center and right, Beauregard ordered his
staff and escort to raise a loud cheer, and sent orders all
along the line for a common charge on McDowell's left,
in which his eager men, now confident of victory, joined
with wild yells and drove the already yielding Federal
lines from the field of contention, causing them to break,
for shelter and safety, for the rear in the Sudley ridge
forest, for Bull run, and in all directions, to get beyond
reach of the Confederate fire. Sykes' regulars and Sher-
man's brigade stood firm and withdrew in good order,
protecting the rear of the routed soldiers and enabling
many of them to escape by way of the fords near the
stone bridge, but most of them sought refuge by way of
Sudley ford and by the other routes on which they had
advanced in the morning.

Having ordered all the troops on the field to pursue the
retreating enemy, Beauregard rode to the Lewis house,
turned over the immediate command of the field to
Johnston, who had generously left it in his hands up to
that time, and, mounting a fresh horse (the fourth on
that day, one of them killed under him), rode to press the
pursuit now being made by the infantry and cavalry,
some of the latter having been sent by Johnston across
the Lewis ford to intercept the Federal retreat on the
turnpike. Before he had ridden far, a courier from
Johnston's chief of staff at Manassas Junction reached
him with a report that a large Federal force had broken
through the right of the Bull run line and was moving
on the depot of supplies at the Junction. Beauregard at
once returned, and, after consultation with Johnston, it
was decided that he should take the brigades of Ewell
and Holmes, which -were marching, from the extreme
right, to the battlefield, but had not reached it, and fall
on this threatened counterstroke of the enemy while
other troops were called from the pursuit and sent to his


To gain time, Beauregard gathered all the cavalry
at hand, and, mounting behind each an infantryman,
started to head off the reported Federal movement.
Nearing McLean's ford, by which the Federal attack
must have come, he' found the report a false alarm
caused by the withdrawal of Jones to the south side of
Bull run, whose men, in consequence of the color of
their uniforms, had been mistaken for the enemy. It
was now nearly dark and, in Beauregard's opinion, too
late to resume the interrupted pursuit of the retreating
army; so turning toward his headquarters and meeting
the troops that had been recalled to his assistance, he
ordered them to bivouac for the night where they were.

After caring for the wants of his men, Beauregard rode
to his headquarters near Manassas Junction, where, at
about lo p. m., he found President Davis and General
Johnston. The former had arrived from Richmond late
in the afternoon and at once galloped to the battlefield
with Colonel Jordan, Beauregard's chief of staff, and
reached it in time to witness the last of the Federals
retreating across Bull run. The next morning, at his
breakfast table. President Davis handed Beauregard his
commission, as full general in the army of the Confed-
erate States, dated July 21, 1861, in recognition of his
services in the magnificent victory which had been won
under his immediate direction.

The Federal army lost in this battle 2,896 men, of
which 460 were killed, 1,124 wounded and 1,312 captured
or missing. The Confederate loss was 1,982 men, of
which 387 were killed, 1,582 wounded and 13 captured
or missing. The Confederates captured 26 pieces of
artillery, 34 caissons and sets of harness, 10 battery

Online LibraryClement Anselm EvansConfederate military history; a library of Confederate States history → online text (page 11 of 153)