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DEFENSE

OF

GENERAL MCDOWELL.

269

McDowell's Statement

The Retreat to Fatrax

and the Potomac.

sue.

pursuit been pressed. These was given me by the General-
brigades left Centreville du-in-Chief and heads of the Ad.

ring the night of the 21st-ministrative departments in making the necessary Blenker bringing up the rear in excellent preparations. But the regiments, owing, I was style. * The troops of this command were told, to want of transportation, came over slow.

ly. Many of them did not come across till eight feverishly anxious that the enemy should purThere was no pursuit, however, of any forward without my even seeing them, and without

or nine days after the time fixed upon, and went account, after the troops had fairly passed having been together before in a brigade. The the Run. The enemy had two fresh brigades sending reenforcements to General Patterson, by (Ewell's and Holmes'), besides reserves from drawing off the wagons, was a further and unavoidJohnston's forces then still arriving; but the able cause of delay. Notwithstanding the herculean knowledge of McDowell's strength at Centre-efforts the Quartermaster - General, and his ville, and the presence of Runyon's brigade favoring me in every way, the wagons for ammubeyond, induced Beauregard to refrain from nition, subsistence, &c., and the horses for the periling his dearly-bought victory by pressing trains and the artillery, did not all arrive for more the retreat. He was content to pass over the than a week after the time appointed to move. I Run, after the evacuation of Centreville, was not even prepared as late as the 15th ultimo, there to gather up the spoils which the and the desire I should move became great, and it

was wished I should not, if possible, delay longer teamsters, in their disgraceful and cause

that Tuesday, the 16th ultimo. When I did set out, less panic, had left behind. Many a wagon

on the 16th, I was still deficient in wagons for subof precious freight stood in its ruts around

sistence. But I went forward, trusting to their Centreville that should have been brought lei- being procured in time to follow me. The trains surely away; but, like the want of rigid dis- thus hurriedly gathered together, with horses, wag. cipline in the army, the transportation service ons, drivers and wagon managers, all new and unwas without system, without a head on the used to each other, moved with difficulty and dis. ground; and, as a consequence, each particu- order, and was the cause of a day's delay in getting lar teamster cared for himself rather than for the provisions forward, making it necessary to his goods. A few well-timed shots at the make on Sunday the attack we should have made flying rogues would have relieved horses of on Saturday.

** I could cot, with every exertion, get forward cowardly riders, and thus have saved teams to bear away many a wagon of stores and with the troops earlier than we did. I wished to

go to Centreville the second day, which would have

taken us there on the 17th, and enabled us, so far Regarding the disaster,

as they were concerned, to go into action on the we should give McDowell's

19th, instead of the 21st; but when I went forward own defense because we

from Fairfax Court-House, beyond Germantown, to deem it, to a great degree, satisfactory. urge them forward, I was told it was impossible for He said :

the men to march further. They had only come As my position may warrant even if it does not from Vienna, about six miles, and it was not more call for some explanation of the causes, so far as than six and a half miles further to Centreville--in they can be seen, which led to the results herein all, a march of twelve and a half miles; but the stated, I trust it may not be out of place if I refer

men were foot weary, not so much, I was told, by in a few words to the immediate antecedents of the the distance marched as by the time they had been battle. When I submitted to the General-in-Chief,

on foot, caused by the obstructions in the road and in compliance with his verbal instructions, the plan the slow pace at which we had to move to avoid of operations and estimate of force required, the ambuscades. The men were, moreover, unaccus. time I was to proceed to carry it into effect was fixed tomed to marching, their bodies not in condition for for the 8th of July, Monday. Every facility possible that kind of work, and not used to carrying even

* Several parties claim the honor of “ bringing up the load of light marching order. the rear.” Richardson states positively that his

“We crossed Bull Run with about 18,000 men of brigade was last over tbe ground and last to arrive all arms, the Fifth division (Miles' and Richardson's at Arlington. We believe we are correct, however, brigade) on the left, at Blackburn's Ford to Centrein awarding the honors of “positively the last” to

ville, and Schenck's brigade, of Tyler's division, on Blenker

the left of the road, near the Stone Bridge, not par.

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arms.

McDowell's Statement of Causos of the

Disaster.

McDowell's Statement

ticipating in the main action. the events of the 21st ult., that the general order

The numbers opposed to us for the battle to which I referred was, with slight have been variously estimated; I may safely modification, literally conformed to; that the corps say, and avoid even the appearance of exaggera. were brought over Bull Run in the manner propostion, that the enemy brought up all he could which ed, and put into action as before arranged, and that were not kept engaged elsewhere. He had notice up to late in the afternoon every movement ordered of our coming on the 17th, and had from that was carrying us successfully to the object we had time up to the 21st to bring up whatever he had. proposed before starting—that of getting to the railIt is known that in estimating the force to go against road leading from Manassas to the valley of Virginia, Manassas I engaged not to have to do with the and going on it far enough to break up and destroy enemy's forces under Johnston, then kept in check the communication and interviews between the in the valley by Major-General Patterson, or those forces under Beauregard and those under Johnston. kept engaged by Major-General Butler, and I know And could we have fought a day or a few hours every effort was made by the General-in-Chief that sooner, there is everything to show how we could this should be done, and that even if Johnston join-have continued successful, even against the odds ed Beauregard, it would not be because he could with which we contended." not be followed by General Patterson, but from He did “not engage to have to do with causes not necessary for me to refer to, if I knew the enemy's forces under Johnston”—that is them all. This was not done, and the enemy was his best defense. All other facts cited are free to assemble from every direction in numbers only forcible for extenuation, but that disonly limited by the amount of his railroad rolling claimer against fighting two fine armies instock and his supply of provisions. To the forces, stead of one, is his justification, and fixes the therefore, we drove in from Fairfax Court-House,

responsibility upon the Pennsylvania General Fairfax Station, Germantown, and Centreville, and

for his non-action and want of vigilance. those under Beauregard at Manassas, must be

That the enemy only played with the cauadded those under Johnston from Winchester, and those brought up by Davis from Richmond and other tious old General (Patterson) is evident from places at the South, to which is to be added the the fact, as elsewhere stated, that the rebel levy en masse ordered by the Richmond authorities, Generals, without any re

General Patterson's which was ordered to assemble at Manassas. What ference to Patterson, had Responsibility for all this amounted to I cannot say-certainly much arranged to throw Johnmore than we attacked them with.

ston's army upon McDowell at Centreville, “I could not, as I have said, more early push on from the north, as early as the 18th or 19th, faster, nor could I delay. A large and the best part but could not move in that direction quickly of my forces were three months' volunteers, whose enough owing to lack of transportation. term of service was about to expire, but who were

Patterson, on the 18th, was treated to the sent forward as having long enough to serve for the

following reminder to duty: purpose of the expedition. On the eve of the bat

“WASHINGTON, July 18th, 1861. tle the Fourth Pennsylvania regiment of volunteers

“MAJOR-GENERAL PATTERSON, &c. : I have cerand the battery of volunteer artillery of the New York Eighth militia, whose term of service expired, not, to hear that you had felt hin strongly, or at

tainly been expecting you to beat the enemy. If insisted on their discharge. I wrote to the regiment least had occupied him by threats and demonstraexpressing a request for them to remain a short

tions. You have been at least his equal, and I suptime, and the Honorable Secretary of War, who was

pose superior, in number. Has he not stolen a at the time on the ground, tried to induce the battery to remain at least five days. But in vain. They Junction? A week is enough to win a victory.

march and sent reenforcements toward Manassas insisted on their discharge that night. It was grant.

“ WINFIELD SCOTT." ed, and the next morning, when the army moved forward into battle. these troops moved to the rear,

To this he sententiously replied from to the sound of the enemy's cannon.

Charlestown, to which point he had (on the In the next few days, day by day, I should have 17th) turned off from Bunker Hill, the direct lost 10,000 of the best armed, drilled, officered and approach to Winchester : disciplined troops in the army. In other words,

“ CHARLESTOWN, July 18th, 1861. every day which added to the strength of the enemy “ COLONEL E. D. TOWNSEND, A. A. G., &c. : Telemade us weaker.

gram of to-day received. The enemy has stolen no In conclusion, I desire to say, in reference to march upon me. I have kept him actively employ.

the Defeat.

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ed, and by threats and reconnoissances in force | port, as having been the original design, caused him to be reenforced. I have accomplished characterizing the movement upon Centreinore in this respect than the General-in-Chief asked, ville as a mere demonstration." It was all or could well be expected, in face of an enemy far changed by Tyler's “reconnoissance” of the superior in numbers, with no line of communication 18th, by which he brought on the conflict at to protect. “R. PATTERSON."

Blackburn's Ford, on that day. Fearing the He really accomplished nothing which the worst, that Beauregard was in force at that General - in - Chief expected of him. Scott point, ready to press back the advance if not said, in his testimony before the Investigating to occupy Centreville, McDowell hastily left Committee : “Although General Patterson Sangster's for Centreville, ordering Heintzelwas never specifically ordered to attack the man to follow with all speed. The ilank enemy, he certainly was told and expected, movement by Brentsville was instantly abaneven with inferior numbers,* to hold the doned. rebel army in his front on the alert, and to After the 18th, reconnoissances followed ; prevent it from reenforcing Manassas Junc- and, from what was learned by them, as well tion, by threatening manæuvres and demon- as from residents and scouts, McDowell so strations; results often obtained in war with far modified his original programme for the half numbers. After a time General Patter- descent upon Manassas Junction, as to deterson moved from Bunker Hill, and then fell mine him to turn Beauregard's position at off upon Charlestown, whence he seems to Bull Run, by the right. This would strike have made no other demonstration that did the rebel line of reenforcements, and, with not look like a retreat out of Virginia. From McDowell's then disposable strength, would that moment Johnston was at liberty to join force his enemy back upon Manassas. It Beauregard with any part of the army of

was a clear, sensible, well-arranged proceedWinchester."

ing, and only failed of success from his havYes, more than this : Johnston, at any ing to cope with two well-ordered armies inmoment, was at liberty to join Beauregard stead of one As to whether the battle couli so far as Patterson was concerned; and only or could not have been fought a day or two failed to leave Winchester on the 17th, be- days earlier, is a question for military experts cause of his want of conveyance. He under- to decide. If the battle had resulted favorstood the Federal commander more fully ably to our arms, every movement unquesthan the Department at Washington. Had tionably would have been commended as he moved off on the 17th, Patterson's orders marked by prudence and military sagacity; were to push for Leesburg and force a march and, if victory would have resulted had Patafter him to Centreville ; but, it is highly terson's army done its alprobable that the story of Centreville and Bull lotted duty, it is but fair Run would have become history before he to give to McDowell the credit of having should have appeared in view of Fairfax well performed his part. The great, glaring Court-House,

blemish which stands out all over the hisAs to the plan of the ad- tory of that brief campaign, is the want of Views Regarding the

vance, we believe it to have discipline among officers as well as troops.

been well ordered. It al. With Colonels in command of brigades ready has been stated that Heintzelman was with a Brigadier-General in chief command, to strike off from Sangster's Station, to there was, from the very date of organization threaten Manassas by Brentsville, while Mc- of the several corps, a want of unity, an abDowell should “feel” of Beauregard at Bull sence of radical subordination. The prime Run, and approach Manassas, at the same defect lay in the military system then in time, by way of Union Mills and Blackburn's force, rendering volunteer commands of the Ford. This Major Barnard refers to in his re- same grade subordinate to those of the reg

* See Appendix, page for citations of evi. ular service, thus creating enmities, conflicts dence before the Committee, regarding the inferior of authority and military jealousies enough ity of Johnston's force to that of Patterson. to distract any well-laid scheme. It was a

The Great Evil.

Plan of the Battle.

The Numbers En.

painful spectacle to read official reports where- engaged, six regiments of

The Numbers En. in crimination and gross charges against su- Miles' division, and the five

gaged on Both Sides, periors or equals found place; wherein a regiments of Runyon's briNajor assumed the character of censor and gade, from which we have neither sound nor critic even of the plans and orders of the wounded prisoners. Making all allowances Commanding General ; and, when we are for mistakes, we are warranted in saying further informed that, at the council of war that the Federal army consisted of at least called on the evening of the 20th, even new- fifty-five regiments of volunteers, eight comly-made Colonels opposed the plans for the panies of regular infantry, four of marines, advance, we can scarcely wonder if what nine of regular cavalry, and twelve batteries, left Washington as an army should have re- one hundred and nineteen guns." turned a rabble.

But, taking his own estimate of eight hunOne good came of that defeat: the coun- dred to a regiment, after deducting the six. try was made to realize the importance of a teen regiments of reserves-nine in Miles' thorough reorganization of our Army Sys- division, six in Runyon's and one in Tyler's tem-the necessity for discipline and drill- - we have but thirty-two thousand as his the futility of the “On to Richmond” cry estimate of the Federal force in action. This until a clear, straight-forward and palpable is overstated about eight thousand: not to policy was ordained in Administration circles. exceed twenty-four thousand were on the

The number engaged has field, we are sure.

been so variously stated, Of the strength of his own force we are gaged on Both Sides.

that it is now, and doubt left in much doubt. He states positively less ever will be, a matter of some specula- that he had, on the 21st, twenty-seven thoution, McDowell named eighteen thousand sand effectives, which included sixty-two os the actual number of those who cross-hundred from Johnston's army and seventeen ed Bull Run; but this, we surmise, rep- hundred from Fredericksburg. But, the resented the divisions of Hunter and Heint- enumeration of his brigades and regiments zelman alone-those who first crossed. Add conclusively proves these figures to be an ing the brigades of Sherman and Keyes, under-estimate; while the fact that Johnafterwards sent over, and we have, for the ston's reenforcement is set down as but sixtyactual Federal force engaged, about twenty-two hundred, shows how much of the truth four thousand roops, exclusive of the artil- was suppressed—that reenforcement actually lery. This would leave fifteen thousand to amounting to seventeen thousand effective represent the number of the reserves, con

It was the arrival on the ground, at sidering the entire army to have aggregated three o'clock in the afternoon, of a fresh body forty thousand, which, we believe, was the of these men, (about five thousand strong,) force set apart for the advance. This did which gave the Confederates the victory.* not include the reenforcements dispatched by the Secretary of War after his return to * Jefferson Davis, in his speech at Richmond, an. Washington, on the evening of the 20th, but nouncing the victory and its results, stated the Con which had not passed Fairfax when the re- federate force engaged to have been but eighteen treat was sounded.

thousand. How near this was to the truth, may be Beauregard places the numbers of McDow-inferred from his further statement, that the cap. ell at over fifty thousand. He arrives at his tures included “sixty pieces of splendid artillery" estimates in the following manner : “To and“ provisions enough to feed an army of fifty serve the future historian of this war, I will thousand men for twelve months.” As the entire

Federal artillery on the field consisted of but twenty. note the fact that among the captured Federal

two pieces, [See Major Barry's Official Report,) and ists are officers and men of forty-seven regiments

as McDowell had to keep open his communications of volunteers, besides from some nine different with Washington in order to obtain his daily subreyiments of regular troops, detachments of sistence, the statements of the President may be which were engaged. From their official re- pronounced so at variance with the truth as to be ports we learn of a regiment of volunteers surprising even for him.

men.

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ADDRESS

OF

THE REBEL

GENERALS.

273

The Losses on Both

Sides.

Of the actual losses we are rounds of small-arms' am

The Spoils. equally uncertain. There munition, four thousand

is much discrepancy in the five hundred sets of accoutrements, over five statements of the two commanders, while hundred muskets, some nine regimental and there are good reasons to doubt the cor- garrison flags, with a large number of pistols, rectness of either. Thus McDowell said : knapsacks, swords, canteens, blankets, a large " It will be seen that our killed amounted store of axes and intrenching tools, wagoas, to nineteen officers and four hundred and ambulances, horses, camp and garrison equipsixty-two non-commissioned officers and pri- age, hospital stores and some subsistence.” vates, and our wounded to sixty-four officers As he assumed that these were his captures and nine hundred and forty-seven non-com- only in part, we are left to infer that further missioned officers and privates. Many of the additions were to be made to the schedule wounded will soon be able to join the ranks, which he had been a month in preparing. and will leave our total of killed and dis- The entire artillery of McDowell, according abled from further service under one thou- to Major Barry's specifications of batteries, sand. The return of the missing is very in- guns and calibre, amounted to forty-nine accurate, the men supposed to be missing pieces twenty-eight of which were rified having fallen into other regiments and gone Twenty-one pieces did not go over the stream to Washington-many of the Zouaves to New at all, and were all (except one) returned York. In one brigade, the number origin- safely to the Potomac. Griffin brought back ally reported six hundred and sixteen, was two guns of his battery-a Parrott piece and yesterday reduced to one hundred and sev- a a twelve-pound howitzer. (Three of his enty-four. These reductions are being made Parrott guns were brought off but two had daily. In a few days a more correct return to be abandoned after the Run was passed, can be made." That correct return never owing to the exhaustion of the horses drag. was made, though the figures were given, ging them.) All of the Ricketts' guns, six eventually, as four hundred and seventy-nine Parrott ten-pounders—were lost, as well as killed, one thousand and eleven wounded, two of Arnold's guns—thirteen-pound James' and about one thousand five hundred taken rifled pieces; three of Griffin's guns—a twelveprisoners. Beauregard, giving the data for pound howitzer and two Parrott guns; the his estimates, made the Federal loss to have Second Rhode Island battery-one thirteenbeen over four thousand five hundred. His pound James' rifled gun left on the field, and report was accompanied by a list of one thou- five lost after having been brought off safely sand four hundred and sixty of the wounded as far as Cub Run, where they had to be and prisoners. As his report was made out abandoned owing to the obstruction of the over a month after the battle, the list must bridge by an overturned wagon-making six have contained every Federal in his hands. guns lost by it. These comprise every gun If so, his confident assumption that our loss lost—heing seventeen in all. Beauregard's exceeded four thousand five hundred, would statement, therefore, of “some twenty-eight make the list of killed reach the extra- field pieces," was a fiction. If his other spoils ordinary number of three thousand. The dwindled down in proportion, the captures killed, as ascertained by company returns were not enough to enrich his treasury. and by a comparison with the lists from

We are prepared, after

Congratulatory AdRichmond, only reached the figures given this sifting of “official" above, viz. : four hundred and seventy-nine.

statements, to lay before Beauregard stated his captures of spoils to the reader the Address issued by the two have included, in part, “some twenty-eight rebel Generals to their troops. It read : field pieces of the best character of arm, with

HEAD-QUARTERS OF TIIE ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, over one hundred rounds of ammunition for

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“ MANASSAS JUNCTION, July 28, 1861. each gun, thirty-seven caissons, six forges, Soldiers of the Confederale States : four battery wagons, sixty-four artillery horses, “ One week ago a conntless host of men, organ. completely equipped, five hundred thousand | ized into an army, with all the appointments which

dress of the Rebel

Generals.

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