on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, about 9 o clock a. in.
The brigade being formed in proper disposition to advance on Manas-
sas, by order of General Birney I was placed in reserve in column in
rear of the first column of advance. On arriving at Manassas and
finding the enemy had evacuated the brigade halted. About half an
hour after the halt I received orders from General Birney to advance
my regiment to Bull Run on the road taken by the enemy in their
retreat from Manassas, and to throw out scouts across the road. This
duty was performed in accordance with instructions. While the scouts
were performing this duty I personally examined the country in front
of my position for the distance of a mile.
In the mean time General Birney had advanced with a company or
cavalry in the direction of Centreville. General Kearny, arriving on
the ground, directed me to cross the run, and to take an advanced posi-
430 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD. [CHAP. XXIV.
tion on an eminence to protect a fork of the roads on which General
Birney had advanced with the cavalry. After taking position a section
of Randolph s battery arrived, and the regiment took position for its
support. Suddenly a portion of the enemy s cavalry appeared in sight
under a full charge, and approaching within a sufficient distance to dis
cover the reception awaiting them, suddenly wheeled their horses and
retreated amid the dust. I regret to state that Lieutenant Pratt, in
charge of skirmishers in front, was severely wounded in the groin during
The command about an hour afterward advanced to Centreville and
encamped for the night. Left Centreville at 5 a. m. of the 29th and
advanced to Bull Run. Grossed the run about 8 a. m., and was placed
in position by General Birney to support the attack on the enemy.
After advancing some distance, by direction of General Birney I re
mained a short distance in rear as a reserve, the remaining portion of
the brigade advancing. About 12 m. received orders from Lieutenant
Phillips, aide-de-camp, to advance to a position occupied by General
Birney. On arriving at the point designated, and while in the open
field, found that the command of General Birney had moved to the
left, an aide having been dispatched to inform me of the fact having
missed me. I found the regiment surrounded on three sides by a large
force, who poured in their fire from the roads in front and a corn field
on my right and rear. I immediately moved by the left flank to the
road and from thence to the wood on my left, the enemy not following.
1 in the mean time learning General Biruey s locality joined him. In
this skirmish I lost 3 officers and 7 men wounded.
Being again placed in reserve I was ordered during the afternoon to
take an advanced position on an eminence in front and to hold it.
While occupying this position a section of Randolph s battery was
ordered to take position on my right and open fire on the enemy in the
woods in front. The enemy immediately replied with a most terrific
fire for a half hour, covering the whole ground where my regiment was
stationed. The regiment remained in this position until relieved by a
regiment of Ricketts division the next morning, when I joined the
brigade on a hill in the rear. During the afternoon the regiment was
deployed as skirmishers, connecting Birney s with Poe s brigade.
About 5 p. m. I was directed to take position on the road to protect
the flank of the brigade, which was about to retire. This order was
carried out, and I again joined the brigade. During this difficult and
dangerous movement not a man left the ranks, no crowding, no con
fusion, notwithstanding the example offered by officers and men of
other brigades and batteries of running and shouting and endeavoring
apparently to create a panic. The regiment with the brigade moved
about three-quarters of a mile to the hospital in rear, and there halting
took position to repulse any attack on the army retiring. Maneuvering
in various portions of the field in the presence and within hearing of
the enemy until the whole army had retired occupied the time until a
late hour of the night, when we left the field, and arrived at Centreville
about 2 a. m. on the morning of the 31st of August.
J. H. HOBART WARD,
Colonel Thirty-eighth New York Volunteers.
Lieut. S. P. LEE,
Acting Assistant Adjutant- General,
CHAP. XXIV.] CAMPAIGN IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA. f,~~ 431
No. 64. V^<
Report of Lieut. Col. Nelson A. Gesner, One hundred and First New
Infantry, of the battles of Groveton and Bull Run.
HDQRS. 101ST EEGT. NEW YORK STATE VOLS.,
September 4, 1862.
Keport of the movements of the One hundred and first Eegiment New
York State Volunteers on the 29th and 30th of August, 1862 :
The regiment left Centreville for the scene of action early on the
morning of the 29th and arrived there about 10 o clock a. in., when
the brigade moved forward in line of battle for about half a mile and
halted near some woods. In a few minutes the regiment moved for
ward into the woods in line of battle, and going through them into a
clearing were exposed to a heavy shelling from the enemy for about
twenty minutes. At that time, by order of General Birney, who com
manded in person, we marched back toward the woods by the left
flank for about a quarter of a mile, when we halted and came to a front.
We advanced some little distance and were soon under fire of the
enemy, which was returned with spirit. At this time General Birney
sent word that we were being flanked on the left, and we were ordered
to march by the left flank and file left, and formed line of battle at
right angles with the first line some 200 paces to the rear. In the ex
ecution of this order we had to cross a deep cut in the road and a small
open space. Here we received a severe fire from the enemy and a num
ber of men fell. After remaining in position for about an hour we
were marched some distance to the rear and stacked arms. At 2 o clock
p. m. we were again moved forward, and took position in rear of Ean-
dolph s battery. We remained here an hour, when we were moved a
short distance to the left, and remained there about an hour. W 7 e were
then ordered to march forward and attack the enemy. We moved for
ward by the flank into the woods, and upon arriving near the enemy
formed line of battle the Fortieth New York and One hundred and
first being together, the Fortieth being on our right. We then ad
vanced, and soon the enemy opened a heavy fire of musketry on us.
The line then halted and commenced firing. After a few minutes the
order was given " Forward," and the regiment went on in splendid
order, through a heavy fire, at a double-quick. The enemy could not
stand the charge, but broke and fled (a few now and then turning to
fire). After falling back some distance they came to a deep cut. Here
they attempted to rally, and partially succeeded. We arrived too soon,
however, and they again broke and fled. We continued to drive them
before us, stopping now and then to fire a volley into them, until we had
driven them clean out of the woods into the clear space beyond. Here
we received a heavy cross-fire from the left at a distance of about 200
paces. I here turned, and found that my regiment in the charge had
got somewhat scattered, and ordered a halt in order to reform. After
remaining here half an hour, and continuing to fire upon and receive
the fire of the enemy, I found that their fire was increasing and work
ing more to our rear. Not seeing any support on our left, and finding
that the combined strength of the Fortieth and One hundred and first
would not amount to over 250 men, I deemed it prudent to retire, and
accordingly the command was given, and we fell back in good order, at
quick-time. W T e halted in the center of the woods and took shelter be
hind a sort of rifle pit, built of fence rails, until we were ordered by
General Birney to fall back and camp.
432 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD. [CHAP. XxrV,
I wish, general, to speak in the highest terms of both officers and men
of the One hundred and first Regiment New York State Volunteers ; the
men were cool and courageous, and obeyed every command I gave them
with a silence and order that surprised me. To Major Sniper much
praise is due for his coolness and courage. He was of the utmost service
in keeping the men in their places and urging them forward. Adjutant
Dodge also was of great service to me, and in fact every officer of the
regiment, without* one exception, behaved nobly and courageously.
We took into the battle 153 enlisted men, and out of these 74 were killed
or wounded. The following is a list of the wounded officers: Capts. W.
C. Allen, D. L. Beckwith, P. McLennan: Second Lieuts. W. H. Warner
and E. B. Wicks.
During the 30fch of August we lay with the rest of the brigade in an
open place in the woods somewhat to the rear of the scene of the day
before. Late in the afternoon we moved rapidly some distance to the
rear and halted. The brigade forming line of battle shortly afterward,
we were ordered forward into a piece of woods, going at a double-quick,
the men being inspired by the example of both the generals command
ing the division and brigade. During the day we were shelled by the
enemy at times, but with small loss, 2 men being wounded. After
being withdrawn from the woods we took up our m arch for Centre ville,
arriving there late in the night.
N. A. GESNEB,
Lieut. Col.j Comdg. One hundred and first New York Vols.
Itinerary of the Third (Berry s) Brigade, August 15-30.*
August 15, broke camp at Harrison s Landing at 5 o clock a. m. ;
men in light marching order, with two days cooked rations in haver
sacks and six days rations in wagons; marched to hill overlooking the
Ohickahominy at Jones Ford. Held right of Long Bridge road and
covered road to the valley of the Ohickahominy.
August 16, Second and Third Michigan Volunteers marched onto
island in the Chickahominy ; First and Thirty -seventh New York Vol
unteers remaining on south side of the river in the valley, and the Fifth
Michigan Volunteers detached to support a battery up the river about
1J miles, by order of General Heintzelman.
August 17, marched at 4.15 a. m. as the rear guard of the division.
The Second Michigan Volunteers detached to hold New Kent Court-
House road until Hooker s division arrived. The First New York Vol
unteers detached to hold the hill near the brick mill (about 3 miles
from last camp) until General Hooker s division arrived. Brigade con
centrated on the march after the two regiments were relieved, except
the Fifth Michigan Volunteers, crossed the Diascund River, and biv
ouacked near the Brick Church, a distance of 22 miles.
August 18, marched at 6 a. m. and encamped near and west of Will-
iamsburg about 2 p. m., a distance of 12 miles. The Fifth Michigan
rejoined the brigade at 8 p. m., by order of General Heintzelman.
August 19, marched from Williamsburg at 8 o clock a. m. and biv
ouacked at Yorktown, east of fortifications. Colonel Poe in command
of the brigade.
*From " Record of Events" on return for month of August, 1862.
CHAP. XXIV.] CAMPAIGN IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA. 433
August 20, marched to wharf at Yorktowu at 12 noon. The Second
Michigan Volunteers, colonel commanding brigade, and staff embarked
on board the steamer Express; the Third Michigan Volunteers and
three companies of the Fifth Michigan Volunteers embarked on the
steamer Swan, and the balance of the brigade embarked on the steamer
August 21, steamer Express arrived at Alexandria, Va. The Sec
ond Michigan Volunteers disembarked and marched up Little River
turnpike about 2 miles and bivouacked.
August 22, steamer Swan arrived at Alexandria, Va., about 12 noon.
The troops disembarked and marched to the camp of the Second Michi
August 23, brigade ordered to proceed np the railroad to Warreutou
Junction, a distance of 39 miles. The Thirty-seventh New York Volun
teers and Ninety-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers arrived at Alexandria.
The brigade embarked on railroad and proceeded to Warrenton Junc
tion, except two companies of the Thirty-seventh New York Volunteers
and seven companies of the Fifth Michigan Volunteers.
August 24, balance of Fifth Michigan Volunteers and Thirty-seventh
New York Volunteers proceeded by railroad to Warrenton Junction
and joined the balance of the brigade. At 8 a. m. marched up the rail
road 4 miles beyond Warren ton Junction and 2 miles from Bealeton
Station, and bivouacked near the Warren ton pike.
August 25, at 4 p. m., sent Third Michigan on dirt road to Ellstou,
4J miles, to guard against the enemy s cavalry, reported in force in that
vicinity. At midnight the balance of the Fifth Michigan and Thirty-
seventh New York Volunteers arrived from Alexandria.
August 26, the Second Michigan relieved the Third Michigan Volun
August 27, marched at 4 a. in. for Catlett s Station, and halted until
Birney s brigade retired. At 11 o clock a. m. continued the march,
taking the Greenwich road, and bivouacked at sunset near Greenwich.
August 28, continued march at 4 a. m. to Bristoe Station ; thence to
Manassas Junction, arriving at 12 noon. The Ninety-ninth Pennsyl
vania Volunteers sent on a reconnaissance as far as the railroad bridge
crossing at Bull Bun, with orders from General Kearny to remain until
relieved. At 2 p. m. proceeded toward Centre ville, via Blackburn s
Ford, Third Michigan in advance, as skirmishers. Brigade in line of
battle moved through woods and open tields beyond to earthworks,
and entered the town as the enemy s cavalry fled, declining to give
August 29, at 4 a. m., marched down the Warrenton road 6 miles,
crossed Bull Euu half a mile below stone bridge, formed line of battle
near the brown house, advanced through the field to the right, and
encountered a heavy fire from the enemy s artillery. About 3 p. m. the
Third Michigan Volunteers, temporarily assigned to General Kobin-
son s brigade, went into action. Loss heavy. Lay upon arms all night.
August 30, cannonading commenced at sunrise on the left and soon
became general. At 10 a. in. the Ninety-ninth Pennsylvania Volun
teers rejoined brigade, the Fifth Michigan deploying as skirmishers
along the railroad; the Ninety-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers in line
of battle in rear. About 5 p. m., it becoming evident that the left and
center were giving way, General Kearny ordered the brigade to be
withdrawn and formed on crest of hill 1,000 yards in rear, the Second
Michigan retiring as skirmishers on the front. Immediately on forin-
28 R R VOL xn, PT ii
434 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD. [OiiAr. XXIV.
ing line received orders to move to the rear. Crossed Bull Bun half a
mile above stone bridge under the enemy s guns. Shelling was con
tinued until beyond range. The enemy s cavalry made several charges,
but were each time successfully repulsed by the skirmishers, emptying
many saddles, with but slight loss. Arrived at Centreville at 10 p. m.
Bivouacked for the night on the west side of town.
August 31, marched to eastern slope of the hill, near ravine, and
bivouacked for the night.
Reports of Col. Orlando M. Poe, Second Michigan Infantry , commanding
Third Brigade, of the battles of Oroveton, Bull Run, and Chantilly.
HEADQUARTERS THIRD BRIGADE, KEARNY S DIVISION,
September 1, 1862.
SIR : For the information of the general commanding division I have
the honor of reporting the following as the operations of this brigade
during the days of the 29th and 30th of August :
We left Centreville at 5 o clock on the morning of the 29th and
moved forward via the Warrentou turnpike until we reached the large
house beyond the stone bridge, where we made a slight detour to the
right, taking a position indicated by the major-general commanding,
forming the brigade in two lines, with skirmishers covering the front.
In a short time the order to advance was received and the advance
made along the Leesburg road, our left resting upon that road. We
found a good deal of difficulty in preserving our organization because
of the woods through which we were moving. Our advance was con
tinued until our skirmishers had crossed. Bull Bun some 400 or 500
yards, and three regiments in support had also crossed. (I should have
stated that the Ninety-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers was not with us,
having been detached for special service the day before and not hav
ing yet rejoined us.) I saw the enemy s skirmishers deployed to meet
us along the line of the railroad, and could see the glistening of the
bayonets of the supports in the corn field beyond. The enemy now
opened about six guns upon us, disposed by sections in such a way as
to make our position a very bad one, and in accordance with orders
from the maior-general in person the troops were recalled across the
creek and took up their position upon the steep bluff bordering the
creek. Our disposition at this time was as follows: The Second Michi
gan Volunteers deployed as skirmishers, their left resting upon the
Leesburg road and extending to the right along the bank of Bull Bun
a distance of about a half mile, the Third Michigan and Fifth Michi-
an supporting them, and the Thirty-seventh New York facing the
eesburg road and about 70 yards from it.
In the afternoon the major-general commanding division sent for a
Michigan regiment to report to Brigadier-General Bobinsou. The
Third Michigan being the only one which I could at that moment call
upon, and being one of the best, it was sent. This was the only regi
ment of the brigade hotly engaged under a musketry fire.
The list of casualties in this regiment a heavy one is transmitted.*
A full report will, I suppose, be transmitted through General Bobin-
* Embodied in revised statement, p. 258.
CHAP. XXtY.] CAMPAIGN IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA. 435
sou, who had the immediate command. The whole brigade, except
the Ninety-ninth Pennsylvania, was exposed to an artillery fire, which
caused what losses we suffered in the Second and Fifth Michigan and
the Thirty-seventh New York.
On the 30th our general disposition was the same as on the 29th.
In the forenoon the Ninety-ninth Pennsylvania reported to me. About
the middle of the afternoon a change was made in our line, the Second
Michigan keeping its old position, also the Thirty- seventh New York,
but the Ninety-ninth Pennsylvania was put in line of battle facing the
Leesburg road, and the Third Michigan held in reserve, ready to be
thrown to any point where needed. The Fifth Michigan was deployed
as skirmishers along the Leesburg road, their right connecting with the
left of the Second Michigan. When it became evident that the forces
on our left were giving way, the major-general commanding the division
directed this brigade to fall back to the crest of the next ridge and form
in line of battle facing the Leesburg road. This was done, our skir
mishers as we retired exchanging shots with the enemy. When we had
fairly gotten into position I looked to the left for General Kobinson s
brigade, which I understood was to form at the large brown house in
that direction. I saw his troops apparently passing the house, which I
have since learned was in obedience to orders from General Heiutzel-
inau. I at onve ordered the brigade to the crest of the next ridge, 400
yards farther to the rear. Our right was still resting on Bull Bun. At
this time the enemy opened with one section of artillery upon our right
At the same time I found the ridge enfiladed by a battery to our
left, which, however, was not firing at us, but the shots from which
came right down the ridge. I ordered the brigade farther to the rear,
keeping our right all the time upon Bull Run, until we crossed at dusk.
At Locke s Ford, while we were crossing, the Second Michigan, which
was still upon our flank as skirmishers, was attacked by the enemy s
cavalry. The latter were driven back, with some half a dozen empty
saddles. The officer commanding the cavalry fell, but whether killed
or wounded I do not know.
The enemy at this time had two pieces of artillery at a distance of
about 800 yards, with which they were trying to command the ford. It
was behind this artillery that the cavalry rallied when repulsed by us.
After crossing the ford I ordered line of battle to be formed upon the
crest of a ridge among the corn. This was a tolerably strong position,
and we would have been able to have held it for some time, but after
two regiments had formed an officer, representing himself to be of Gen
eral McDowell s staff, rode up and said that line of battle was being
formed in the edge of the woods, and that General McDowell wanted
us there. 1 moved to the edge of the woods, but found no line of bat
tle nor indication of any. Everything seemed to be in confusion. In
stead of there being staff or any other officers directing matters, not
one such was to be seen. It was now quite dark, and I deemed it best
to move on to Centreville, and did so, arriving there at about 10.30 or
11 p. m. with all the regiments of the brigade.
I append a list of the killed, wounded, and missing.*
The men behaved well, being perfectly cool under the severe fire
of artillery to which we were on several occasions subjected. Al
though not a witness of it myself, yet the long list of casualties in the
Third Michigan testifies to the good conduct and hard fighting of that
regiment. I would particularly mention Colonel Ghampliu, of the Third
* Embodied in revised statement, p. 358.
436 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD. [CHAP.XXIV.
Michigan, who was severely wounded at Fair Oaks, but who joined his
regiment and led it into the fight on the 29th, although his wounds
were far from being healed indeed, so far that his wounds broke out
afresh on the field owing to over-exertion, and he is now completely
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
ORLANDO M. POE,
Colonel Second Michigan Volunteers, Comdg. Brigade.
Acting Assistant Adjutant- General.
CAMP WILTON, VA.,
September 9, 1862.
SIB : I have the honor of reporting for the information of the briga
dier-general commanding division that on Monday afternoon, Septem
ber 1, the Third Brigade of this division, of which I was then in com
mand, moved from its camp at Centreville, taking the road to Fairfax
Court- House. Some 3 or 4 miles out on this road I received orders
from General Kearny to form the brigade in line of battle on the road
and move forward in the direction of the firing then going on between
Reno s division and the enemy until our left connected with General
Robinson s right. We did so, and halted for a few minutes, when
Lieutenant-Colonel Brown, aide-de-camp, brought me an order to move
forward by a road which he would point out and support Eeno s left
flank. We did so, until arriving a short distance in the rear of where
Randolph s battery had been at work, where we halted, and in the
absence of other officers, who could not at the moment be found (Gen
eral Kearny was not then known to have been killed), I reported to
General Reno, who directed me to remain where I was until further
orders, at the same time telling me to detach one regiment in support
of a battery upon our left. The Fifth Michigan was sent to perform
this duty. It was now dark, when an order came from General Biruey,
who had assumed command of the division in the prolonged absence of
General Kearny, to move to the front and relieve the First Brigade,
which had expended its ammunition in the fight. We did so at once,
relieving the Thirty -eighth New York with the Second Michigan, the
Fortieth New York with the Ninety-ninth Pennsylvania, and with the
Third Michigan and Thirty- seventh New York in support. These
arrangements had scarcely been made when I was ordered to leave one
regiment on picket in the advanced position and form the other three
in column of regiments at a point indicated. While executing this
movement some firing took place between the pickets, and whatever
loss (see list appended)* we suffered occurred at this time. The firing
soon stopped. At 2.30 a. m. I was directed to withdraw in the direc
tion of Fairfax Court-House, following the Second Brigade. We moved
in the indicated direction, leaving the Second Michigan on picket until
the brigade was fairly in motion, when it was withdrawn, acting as the
rear guard until we struck the main road, where we met and passed
General Hooker s division, reaching Fairfax Court-House at an early