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wagons and forges, 24 artillery horses, several thousand
stand of small-arms, and numbers of wagons and ambu-
lances, as well as large quantities of army supplies of all
kinds. In this Young's Branch or Henry Hill battle
were engaged the First, Second and Third Federal divi-
sions, with 18,000 men and 30 guns; and 18,000 men and
21 guns of Johnston's and Beauregard's Confederate
divisions, the former furnishing 8,700 combatants and
the latter 9,300. Jackson's brigade lost 488 of its 3,000,
nearly one-third of the total Confederate loss, and more
than that of any other Confederate brigade ; and yet it was
in good condition for service immediately after the battle.



The returns of the killed, wounded and missing of the
entire Confederate army within the field of action at the
battle of Bull Run, show that the most of the fighting
was done by the army of the Shenandoah (Gen. J. E.
Johnston's), as indicated in the following comparative
table of losses: Army of the Shenandoah, 282 killed,
1,063 wounded and i missing; total loss, 1,346. Army
of the Potomac, 105 killed, 519 wounded and 12 missing;
total loss, 636.

The losses in the army of the Shenandoah by brigades
were: In Jackson's brigade, 119 killed and 442
wounded; in Bartow's, 60 killed (among them Bartow
himself) and 293 wounded; in Bee's, 95 killed (including
General Bee), 309 wounded and i missing; in Smith's,
8 killed, 19 wounded (including General Smith). No
separate returns are given of the losses in the batteries
of Imboden, Stanard, Pendleton and Alburtis, of the
army of the Shenandoah, all of which took a conspicuous
part in this battle.

The losses in the army of the Potomac (Gen. G. T.
Beauregard's) by brigades were: In Bonham's brigade, 10
killed and 66 wounded; in Ewell's, no losses; in Jones',
13 killed and 62 wounded; in Longstreet's, 23 killed and
12 wounded; in Cocke's, 23 killed, 79 wounded and 2
missing; in Early's, 12 killed and 67 wounded; in N. G.
Evans', 20 killed, 118 wounded and 8 missing; in
Holmes', no losses; in the Eighth Louisiana, Col. H. B.
Kelly, 19 killed, 100 wounded and 2 missing; in the
Hampton legion, 19 killed, 100 wounded and 2 missing;
in the cavalry, consisting of the Thirtieth Virginia, Har-
rison's battalion and ten independent companies, 5 killed
and 8 wounded; and in the artillery, consisting of the
Washington artillery (Louisiana), the Alexandria (Vir-
ginia) battery, Latham's (Virginia) battery, Loudoun
(Virginia) artillery, and Shields' (Virginia) battery, 2
killed and 8 wounded.

These figures show that the fighting by Beauregard's
men was principally done by Bonham's, D. R. Jones',
Cocke's, Early's, Evans' and Kelly's commands. Con-
sidering only numbers engaged in each Confederate com-
mand, the best fighting, judging by losses, was done
by Kelly's Eighth Louisiana and the half brigade of
Evans, in which were the First Louisiana battalion, Maj.
R. C. Wheat; the Fourth South Carolina, Col. J. B. E.


Sloan; Capt. W. R. Terry's cavalry, and Capt. Geo. S.
Davidson's section of Latham's Virginia battery.

In the Federal army, the losses were well distributed
through the three divisions that did the fighting, under
Brigadier-General Tyler, Colonel Hunter and Colonel
Heintzelman. Measured by the gauge of losses, the
main fighting was done, in Tyler's division, by the bri-
gades under Col. E. D. Keyes, Brig. -Gen. R. C. Schenck
and Col. W. T. Sherman; in Hunter's division, by the
brigades under Col. Andrew Porter and Col. A. E. Burn-
side; and in Heintzelman s division, by the brigades
under Col. W. B. Franklin, Col. O. B. Willcox and Col.
O. O. Howard ; the greatest losses were in the brigades
of Sherman, Porter and Willcox.

Longstreet states that after McDowell's forces were in
full retreat from the Bull Run battlefield, orders came to
the Confederate brigades at the lower fords, directing
them to cross and strike the retreating enemy on the
line of the Washington turnpike; that under these orders,
Bonham's brigade advanced, with instructions to strike
the enemy at the crossing of Cub run, about midway
between stone bridge and Centreville; while Long-
street's brigade crossed at Blackburn's ford, with instruc-
tions to strike the enemy at Centreville. Obstructions
in the road to Cub run diverted Bonham toward Centre-
ville; so both these brigades sought the same objective
and came under Bonham as the ranking officer. Their
line of march led through the Federal camps which had
been abandoned in retreat. In passing through these
camps, says Longstreet:

We found their pots and kettles over the fire, with food cooking;
quarters of beef hanging on the trees, and wagons by the roadside
loaded, some with bread and general provisions, others with ammu-
nition. When within artillery range of the retreating column pass-
ing through Centreville, the infantry was deployed on the sides of
the road, under cover of the forests, so as to give room for the bat-
teries ordered into action in the open, Bonham's brigade on the left,
Longstreet's on the right. As the guns were about to open, there
came a message that the enemy, instead of being in precipitate
retreat, was marching around to attack the Confederate right. With
this report came orders, or report of orders, for the brigades to
return to their positions behind the run. I denounced the report as
absurd, claimed to know a retreat, such as was before me, and
ordered the batteries to open fire.

At that moment one of Johnston's aides peremptorily
ordered that the batteries should not open, and when


asked whether General Johnston had sent such an order,
replied that he gave it on his own responsibility. Long-
street claimed an equal right of responsibility, and was in
the act of renewing the order to fire, when Bonham rode
up and asked that the batteries should not open. As he
was in command, that settled the question ; and, as night
was then at hand, the golden opportunity for complet-
ing the victory by following up the rout of the Federal
army was lost. Longstreet continues :

Soon there came an order for the brigades to withdraw and return
to their positions behind the run. General Bonham marched his
brigade back, but, thinking that there was a mistake somewhere, 1
remained in position until the order was renewed, about lo o'clock
p. m. . . . My brigade crossed and recrossed the run six times
during the day and night

It was afterward learned that some one, seeing Jones'
brigade recrossing the run from an advance under earlier
orders, mistook it for Federal troops crossing at Mc-
Lean's ford, as previously stated, and rushed and
reported to headquarters a Federal advance, and staff
officers took the responsibility of revoking the orders of
the commanding generals for the pursuit of the enemy.

There has been not only well-nigh endless discussion,
but crimination and recrimination, as well as excuses,
regarding the responsibility for not following up the
retreating Federal army after it had been so discomfited
in the battle of the 21st. It appears to rest mainly upon
General Johnston and President Davis, their excuses
being the exhausted condition of the Confederate army,
the lack of transportation, and the want of provisions.
Longstreet, in his Memoirs, says :

The supplies of subsistence, ammunition and forage, passed as we
marched through the; enemy's camps toward Centreville, seemed
ample to carry the Confederate army on to Washington. Had the
iight been continued to that point, the troops, in their high hopes,
would have marched in terrible eflEectiveness against the demoral-
ized Federals. Gaining confidence and vigor in their march, they
could well have reached the capital with the ranks of McDowell's
men. The brigade (Longstreet's) at Blackburn's ford, five regi-
ments, those at McLean's and Mitchell's fords, all quite fresh, could
have been reinforced by all the cavalry and most of the artillery,
comparatively fresh, and later by the brigades of Holmes, Eweli
and Early. This favorable aspect for fruitful results was all sacri-
ficed through the assumed authority of staff officers, who, upon false
reports, gave countermand to the orders of their chiefs.

The medical director of Jackson's brigade, Dr. Hunter
McGuire, says in a recent memorial:


While dressing his (Jackson's) wounded hand at the First Manas-
sas, at the field hospital of the brigade near the Lewis house (Por-
tici), I saw President Davis ride up from Manassas. He had been
told by stragglers that our army had been defeated. He stopped
his horse in the middle of the little stream, stood up in his stirrups,
the palest, sternest face I ever saw, and cried to the great crowd of
soldiers, " I am President Davis; follow me back to the field." Gen-
eral Jackson did not hear distinctly. I told him who it was and
what he said. He stood up, took o& his cap and cried, "We have
whipped them — ^they ran like sheep. Give me 10,000 men and I will
take Washington city to-morrow."

Maj.-Gen. James B. Fry, who at Bull Run was captain
and adjutant-general on McDowell's staff, in an article in
the Century Magazine,* describing this battle and what
followed, says:

About half past three Beauregard extended his left to outflank Mc-
Dowell's shattered, shortened and disconnected line, and the Fed-
erals left the field about half past four. Until then they had fought
wonderfully well for raw troops. There were no fresh forces on the
field to support or encourage them, and the men seemed to be seized
simultaneously by the conviction that it was no use to do anything
more, and they might as well start homo. Cohesion was lost, the
organizations with some exceptions being disintegrated, and the
men quietly walked off. There was no special oxcitement except
that arising from the frantic efforts of the officers to stop men who
paid little or no attention to anything that was said. On the high
grounds by the Matthews house, about where Evans had taken posi-
tion in the morning to check Bumside, McDowell and his staff,
aided by other officers, made a desperate but futile effort to arrest
the masses and form them into hne . . . but all efforts failed.
Stragglers moved past guns in spite of all that could be done ; . . .
the men trooped back in great disorder across Bull run. There were
some hours of daylight for the Confederates to gather the fruits of
victory, but a few rounds of shell and canister checked all the pur-
suit that was attempted, and the occasion called for no sacrifices or
valorous deeds by the staunch regulars of the rear guard. There
was no panic, in the ordinary meaning of the word, until the retir-
ing soldiers, guns, wagons, congressmen, and carriages were fired
upon, on the road east of Bull run. Then the panic began, and the
bridge over Cub run being rendered impassable for vehicles by a
wagon that was upset upon it, utter confusion set in ; pleasure-car-
riages, gun-carriages and ammunition wagons which could not be
put across the run were abandoned and blocked the way, and strag-
glers broke and threw aside their muskets and cut horses from their
harness and rode off upon them." In leaving the field the men took
the same routes in a general way by which they had reached it.
Hence when the men of Hunter's and Heintzelman's divisions got
back to Centreville, they had walked about 25 miles. That
night they walked back to the Potomac, an additional distance
of 20 miles; so that these undisciplined and unseasoned
men within thirty-six hours walked fully 45 miles, besides

* See " Battles and Leaders," Century Co., New York.


fighting from about lo a. m. until 4 p. n. on a hot, dusty-
day in July. McDowell, in person, reached Centreville be-
fore sunset, and found there Miles' division, with Richardson's
brigade and three regiments of Runyon's division, and Hunt's,
Tidball's, Ayres' and Greene's batteries and one or two fragments
of batteries, making about 20 guns. It was a formidable force, but
there was a lack of food and the mass of the army was completely
demoralized. Beauregard had about an equal force which had not
been in the fight, consisting of Ewell's, Jones' and Longstreet's bri-
gades and some troops of other brigades. McDowell consulted the
division and brigade commanders who were at hand upon the ques-
tion of making a stand or retreating. The verdict was in favor of
the latter, but a decision of oflBcers one way or the other was of no
moment; the men had already decided for themselves, and were
streaming away to the rear in spite of all that could be done. They
had no interest or treasure in Centreville, and their hearts were not
there. Their tents, provisions, baggage and letters from home were
upon the banks of the Potomac, and no power could have stopped
them short of the camps they had left less than a week before. As
before stated, most of them were sovereigns in uniform, not sol-
diers. McDowell accepted the situation, detailed Richardson's and
Blenker's brigades to cover the retreat, and the army, a disorgan-
ized mass, with some creditable exceptions, drifted as the men
pleased away from the scene of action. There was no pursuit, and
the march from Centreville was as barren of opportunities for the
rear guard as the withdrawal from the field of battle had been. [Fry
might have added that several regiments of three months' men,
whose time had expired, refused to stay longer.]

From Centreville, at 5:45 p. m. of the 21st, while the
sun was yet an hour and a half high, McDowell tele-
graphed to Scott :

We passed Bull run. Engaged the enemy, who, it seems, had
just been reinforced by General Johnston. We drove them for sev-
eral hours, and finally routed them. They rallied and repulsed us,
but only to give us again the victory, which seemed complete. But
our men, exhausted with fatigue and thirst and confused by firing
into each other, were attacked by the enemy's reserves, and driven
from the position we had gained, overlooking Manassas. After this
the men could not be rallied, but slowly left the field. In the mean-
time the enemy outflanked Richardson at Blackburn's ford, and we
have now to hold Centreville till our men can get behind it Miles'
division is holding the town.

Later, from Fairfax Court House, he telegraphed :

The men having thrown away their haversacks in the battle and
left them behind, they are without food ; have eaten nothing since
breakfast. We are without artillery ammunition. The larger part
of the men are a confused mob, entirely demoralized. It was the
opinion of all of the commanders that no stand could be made this
side of the Potomac. We will, however, make the attempt at Pair-
fax Court House. From a prisoner we learn that 20,000 from John-
ston joined last night, and they march on us to-night.


Early the next morning, from Fairfax Court House,
he again wired:

Many of the volunteers did not wait for authority to proceed to
the Potomac, but left on their own decision. They are now pouring
through this place in a state of utter disorganization. They could
not be prepared for action by to-morrow morning even were they
willing. I learn from prisoners that we are to be pressed here to-
night and to-morrow morning, as the enemy's force is very large and
they are elated. I think we heard cannon on our rear guard. I
think now, as all of my commanders thought at Centreville, there is
no alternative but to fall back to the Potomac, and I shall proceed
to do so with as much reg^arity as possible.

Of McDowell himself, Fry, his adjutant-general, wrote:
"When the unfortunate commander dismounted at Arling-
ton next forenoon in a soaking rain, after thirty-two hours
in the saddle, his disastrous campaign of six days was
closed. The first martial effervescence of the country
was over. The three months' men went home, and the
three months' chapter of the war ended — with the South
triumphant and confident, the North disappointed but
determined. ' '

Blenker remained in position at Centreville, as rear
guard, until about midnight, when he was ordered to fall
back on Washington. He reported that the retreat of
"great numbers of flying soldiers continued until 9
o'clock in the evening, the great majority in wild con-
fusion, but few in collected bodies. " : He mentioned that
he was several times attacked by squadrons of Confed-
erate cavalry, before he left Centreville.

Walt Whitman, a noted Northern writer, says :*

The defeated troops commenced pouring into Washington, over
the long bridge, at daylight on Monday, 22d — a day drizzling all
through with rain. The Saturday and Sunday of the battle (the 20th
and 2ist) had been parched and hot to an extreme. . . . But the
hour, the day, the night passed ; and whatever returns, an hour, a
day, a night like that can never again return. The President,
recovering himself, begins that very night — sternly, rapidly sets
about the task of reorganizing his forces, and placing himself in
position for future and surer work. . . . He endured that hour, that
day, bitterer than gall — indeed a crucifixion day — ^but it did not con-
quer him — ^he unflinchingly stemmed it and resolved to lift himself
and the Union out of it.

Colonel Henderson, of the British Staff college, in his
life of Stonewall Jackson, says :

Before twenty-four hours had passed reinforcements had increased
the strength of Johnston's army to 40,000. Want of organization

* In his volume, " Specimen Days and Collect."


had doubtless prevented McDowell from winning a victory on the
igth or 20th, but pursuit is a far less difficult business than attack.
There was nothing to interfere with a forward movement There
were supplies along the railway, and if the mechanism for their dis-
tribution and the means for their carriage were wanting, the counties
adjoining the Potomac were rich and fertile. Herds of bullocks
were grazing in the pastures, and the bams of the farmers were
loaded with grain. It was not a long supply train that was lacking,
nor an experienced staff, nor even well-disciplined battalions ; but a
general who grasped the full meaning of victory, who understood
how a defeated army, more especially of new troops, yields at a
touch, and who, above all, saw the necessity of giving the North no
leisure to develop her immense resources. For three days Jackson
impatiently awaited the order to advance, and his men were held
ready with three days' cooked rations in their haversacks. But his
superiors gave no sign, and he was reluctantly compelled to abandon
all hope of reaping the fruits of the victory.

When McClellan, summoned in hot haste from north-
western Virginia to avert further disaster, reached Wash-
ington, on the 26th of July, he rode around the city
inspecting the existing conditions. Of these he wrote :

I found no preparations whatever for defense, not even to the
extent of putting the troops in military positions. Not a regiment
was properly encamped, not a single avenue of approach guarded.
All was chaos, and the streets, hotels and bar-rooms were filled with
drunken officers and men, absent from their regiments without leave
— a perfect pandemonium. Many had even gone to their homes,
their ffight from Bull Run terminating in New York, or even New
Hampshire and Maine. There was really nothing to prevent a
small cavalry force from riding into the city. A determined attack
would doubtless have carried Arlington heights and placed the city
at the mercy of a battery of rifled guns. If the secessionists
attached any value to the possession of Washington, they committed
their greatest error in not following up the victory of Bull Run.

That same day. Secretary of War Stanton wrote :

The capture of Washington seems now to be inevitable ; during the
whole of Monday and Tuesday (July 22d and 23d) it might have
been taken without resistance. The rout, overthrow, and demoral-
ization of the whole army were complete.

Of the attitude of the Southern people after this great
victory, which might have been decisive. Colonel Hen-
derson says:

When the news of Bull Run reached Richmond, and through the
crowds that thronged the streets passed the tidings of the victory,
there was neither wild excitement nor uproarious ]oy. No bonfires
lit the darkness of the night; no cannon thundered out salutes; the
steeples were silent till the morrow, and then were heard only the
solemn tones that called the people to prayer. It was resolved, on
the day following the battle, by the Confederate Congress: "That
we recognize the hand of the Most High God, the King of kings and


Lord of lords, in the glorious victory with which He has crowned
our arms at Manassas, and that the jjeople of these Confederate
States are invited, by appropriate services on the ensuing Sabbath,
to offer up their united thanksgivings and prayers for this mighty

Johnston wrote as follows of the Confederate army-
after Bull Run:

The Confederate army was more disorganized by victory than that
of the United States by defeat. The Southern volunteers believed
that the objects of the war had been accomplished by their victory,
and that they had achieved all that their country required of them.
Many, therefore, in ignorance of their military obligations, left the
army — ^not to return. Some hastened home to exhibit the trophies
picked up on the field; others left their regiments without ceremony
to attend to wounded friends, frequently accompanying them to
hospitals in distant towns. Such were the reports of general and
staff officers, and railroad officials. Exaggerated ideas of the vic-
tory, prevailing among our troops, cost us more men than the Fed-
eral army lost by defeat.

On the 2Sth of July, Johnston and Beauregard united
in a congratulatory proclamation to the "Soldiers of the
Confederate States," of which the beginning and con-
clusion are quoted :

One week ago a countless host of men, organized into an army,
with all the appointments which modem and practical skill could
devise, invaded the soil of Virginia. Their people sounded their
approach with triumphant displays of anticipated victory. Their
generals came in almost royal state ; their great ministers, senators,
and women came to witness the immolation of our army and the sub-
jugation of our people, and to celebrate the result with wild revelry.
It is with the profoundest emotions of gratitude to an overruling"
God, whose hand is manifest in protecting our homes and our liber-
ties, that we, your generals commanding, are enabled, in the name
of our whole country, to thank you for that patriotic courage, that
heroic gallantry, that devoted daring, exhibited by you in the
actions of the i8th and 21st, by which the hosts of the enemy were
scattered and a signal and glorious victory obtained. . . . Comrades,
our brothers who have fallen have earned undying renown upon
earth, and their blood, shed in our holy cause, is a jjrecious and
acceptable sacrifice to the Father of Truth and of Right. Their
graves are beside the tomb of Washington ; their spirits have joined
with his in eternal communion. . . . We drop- one tear on their lau-
rels and move forward to avenge them. Soldiers, we congratulate
you on a glorious, triumphant and complete victory, and we thank
you for doing your whole duty in the service of your country.

In this first great battle in Virginia many officers-
served, on both sides, who afterward became distin-
guished, or famous. On the Confederate side were
Johnston, Beauregard, "Stonewall" Jackson, Stuart,
Fitz Lee, Longstreet, Kirby Smith, Ewell, Early, Whit-
ing, D. R. Jones, Sam Jones, Holmes, Evans, Elzey^


Radford and Jordan — all graduates of West Point.
Among those holding inferior positions, but subsequently
distinguished, were Munford, Kirkland, Kershaw, Rodes,
Featherston, Skinner, Garland, Corse, Cocke, Hunton,
Withers, William Smith, Hays, Barksdale, Kemper,
Wheat, Terry, Hampton, Shields, Imboden, Allen, Pres-
ton, Echols, Gumming, Steuart, A. P. Hill, Pendleton,
and others.

Stuart, on the 21st, followed the retreating Federals
12 miles beyond Manassas, when his command was
so depleted by sending back detachments with prisoners,
that he gave up the pursuit and returned to encamp near
Sudley church. He advanced to Fairfax Court House
on the morning of the 23d, and a little later established

Online LibraryClement Anselm EvansConfederate military history; a library of Confederate States history → online text (page 12 of 153)