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DOCUMENTS AND NARRATIVES.
BATTLE OF BULL RUN.
the left, take place between the stream and second division.
The fifth division (Miles's) will take posiDoo. 1.
tion on the Centreville Heights, (Richardson's
brigade will, for the time, form part of the fifth OFFICIAL REPORTS.
division, and will continue in its present posiGEN, MCDOWELL'S GENERAL ORDERS tion.) One brigade will be in the village, and
one near the present station of Richardson's BEFORE THE BATTLE OF STONE BRIDGE. *
brigade. This division will threaten the BlackHEAD-QUARTEBS, DEPARTMENT ARMY EASTERN VA.,} burn Ford, and remain in reserve at CentreCENTREVILLE, July 20, 1861.
ville. The commander will open fire with arThe enemy has planted a battery on the tillery only, and will bear in mind that it is a Warrenton turnpike to defend the passage of demonstration only he is to make. He will Bull Run; has seized the stone bridge and cause such defensive works, abatis, earthmade a heavy abatis on the right bank, to op; works, &c., to be thrown up as will strengthen pose our advance in that direction. The ford his position. Lieutenant Prime, of the Engiabove the bridge is also guarded, whether with neers, will be charged with this duty. artillery or not is not positively known, but
These movements may lead to the gravest every indication favors the belief that he pro- results, and commanders of divisions and briposes to defend the passage of the stream. gades should bear in mind the immense conse
It is intended to turn the position, force quences involved. There must be no failure, the enemy from the road, that it may be re- and every effort must be made to prevent opened, and, if possible, destroy the railroad straggling. leading from Manassas to the valley of Virginia, No one must be allowed to leave the ranks where the enemy has a large force. As this without special authority. After completing may be resisted by all the force of the enemy, the movements ordered, the troops must be the troops will be disposed as follows: The first division (General Tyler's) with at any moment.
held in order of battle, as they may be attacked
By command of the exception of Richardson's brigade, will, at
Brigadier-General MoDOWELL. half-past two o'clock in the morning precisely,
JAMES B. Fry, Adjutant-General. be on the Warrenton turnpike to threaten the passage of the bridge, but will not open fire The following was General McDowell's order until fall daybreak.
for the issue of rations : The secord division (Hunter's) will move HEAD-QUARTERS, DEPARTMENT NORTDEASTERN VA., from its camp at two o'clock in the morning
CENTREVILLE, July 20, 1861. precisely, and, led by Captain Woodbury, of The commanders of divisions will give the the Engineers, will, after passing Cab Run, turn necessary orders that an equal distribution of to the right and pass the Bull Run stream above the subsistence stores on hand may be made the ford at Sudley's Spring, and then turning immediately to the different companies in their down to the left, descend the stream and clear respective commands, so that they shall be away the enemy who may be guarding the provided for the same number of days, and that lower ford and bridge. It will then bear off to the same be cooked and put in the haversacks the right and make room for the succeeding of the men. The subsistence stores now in the division.
possession of each division, with the fresh beef The third division (Heintzelman's) will that can be drawn from the chief commissary, march at half-past two o'clock in the morning, must last to include the 23d instant. and follow the road taken by the second divi- By command of sion, but will cross at the lower ford after it
Brigadier-General MoDOWELL. has been turned as above, and then, going to JAMES B. Fry, Assistant Adjutant-General. * This battle is variously known as the battle of Ball
To the Commanders of Divisions and Bri. Ran, Vanaseas, and Stone Bridge.
gades. VOL. II.-Doc. 1
GENERAL MCDOWELL'S REPORT.
their haversacks. On Saturday orders were HEAD-QUARTERS, DEPARTMENT NORTHEASTERN VIRGINIA, issued for the available force to march. As ARLINGTON, Va., August 4, 1861.
reported to you in my letter of the 19th ultimo, Lieutenant-Colonel E. D. Toronsend, Assistant my personal reconnoissance of the roads to the
Adjutant-General, Head-quarters of the Ar- south had shown that it was not practicable to my, Washington, D. C.
carry out the original plan of turning the eneColonel :- I have the honor to submit the my's position on their right. The affair of the following report of the battle of the 21st of 18th at Blackburn's Ford showed he was too July, near Manassas, Virginia. It has been strong at that point for us to force a passage delayed till this time from the inability of the there without great loss, and if we did, that it subordinate commanders to get earlier a true would bring us in front of his strong position at account of the state of their commands. Manassas, which was not desired. Our infor
In my communication to you of the 20th ult., mation was that the stone bridge over which I stated it as my intention to move that after the Warrenton road crossed Bull Run, to the noon, and drive the enemy from the east side west of Centreville, was defended by a battery of Bull Run, so as to enable the engineers to in position, and the road on his side of the make a sufficiently accurate reconnoissance to stream impeded by a heavy abatis. The alter. justify our future movements. Later in the native was, therefore, to turn the extreme left day they had obtained enough information of of his position. Reliable information was obthe passage across the stream to dispense with tained of an undefended ford about three miles this reconnoissance, and it was decided to move above the bridge, there being another ford bewithout delay. It had been my intention to tween it and the bridge, which was defended. inove the several columns out on the road a It was therefore determined to take the road to few miles on the evening of the 20th, so that the upper ford, and after crossing, to get behind they would have a shorter march in the morn- the forces guarding the lower ford and the ing; but I deferred to those who had the bridge, and after occupying the Warrenton road greatest distance to go, and who preferred east of the bridge, to send out a force to destroy starting early in the morning, and making but the railroad at or near Gainesville, and thus one move.
break up the communication between the eneOn the evening of the 20th ultimo my com- my's forces at Manassas and those in the valley mand was mostly at or near Centreville. The of Virginia, before Winchester, which had been enemy was at or near Manassas, distant from held in check by Major-General Patterson. Centreville about seven miles to the southwest. Brigadier-General Tyler was directed to move Centreville is a village of a few houses, mostly with three of his brigades on the Warrenton on the west side of a ridge running nearly north road, and commence cannonading the enemy's and south. The road from Centreville to Ma- batteries, while Hunter's division, moving after nassas junction was along this ridge, and crosses him, should, after passing a little stream called Bull Run about three miles from the former Cub Run, turn to the right and north, and more place. The Warrenton turnpike, which runs around to the upper ford, and there turn south nearly east and west, goes over this ridge, and get behind the enemy. Colonel Heintzelthrough the village, and crosses Bull Run about man's division was to follow Hunter's as far as four miles from it, Bull Run having a course the turning off place to the lower ford, where between the crossing from northwest to south- he was to cross after the enemy should have east. The first division (Tyler's) was stationed been driven out by Hunter's division; the fifth on the north side of the Warrenton turnpike, division (Miles's) to be in reserve on the Centreand on the eastern slope of the Centreville ville ridge. ridge, two brigades on the same road, and a I had felt anxious about the road from Mamile and a half in advance, to the west of the nassas by Blackburn's Ford to Centreville, ridge, and one brigade on the road from Cen- along the ridge, fearing that whilst we should treville to Manassas, where it crosses Bull Run be in force to the front, and endeavoring to at Blackburn's Ford, where General Tyler had turn the enemy's position, we ourselves should the engagement of the 18th ultimo. The sec- be turned by him by this road; for if he should ond division (Hunter's) was on the Warrenton once obtain possession of this ridge, which turnpike, one mile east of Centreville. The overlooks all the country to the west to the third division (Heintzelman's) was on a road foot of the spurs of the Blue Ridge, we should known as the Old Braddock road, which comes have been irretrievably cut off and destroyed. into Centreville from the southeast, about a I had, therefore, directed this point to be held mile and a half from the village. The fifth di- in force, and sent an engineer to extemporize vision (Miles's) was on the same road with the some field-works to strengthen the position. third division, and between it and Centreville. The fourth division (Runyon's) had not been A map which is herewith, marked A, will show brought to the front further than to guard our these positions better than I can describe them. communications by way of Vienna and the
On Friday night a train of subsistence ar- Orange and Alexandria Railroad. His ad. rived, and on Saturday its contents were or- vanced regiment was about seven miles in the dered to be issued to the command, and the rear of Centreville. men required to have three days' rations in The divisions were ordered to march at half
past two o'clock A. M., so as to arrive on the brigade, and a regiment detached from Heintground early in the day, and thus avoid the zelman's division to the left, forced the enemy heat which is to be expected at this season. back far enough to allow Sherman's and Keyes's There was delay in the first division getting out brigades of Tyler's division to cross from their of its camp on the road, and the other divisions position on the Warrenton road. These drove were in consequence between two and three the right of the enemy, understood to have hours behind the time appointed--a great mis- been commanded by Beauregard, from the fortune, as events turned out. The wood road front of the field, and out of the detached leading from the Warrenton turnpike to the woods, and down to the road, and across it up upper ford was much longer than we counted the slopes on the other side. Whilst this was upon, the general direction of the stream being going on, Heintzelman's division was moving oblique to the road, and we having the obtuse down the field to the stream, and up the road angle on our side.
beyond. Beyond the Warrenton road, and to General Tyler commenced with his artillery the left of the road, down which our troops had at half-past six a. M., but the enemy did not marched from Sudley's Spring, is a hill with a reply, and after some time it became a question farmhouse on it. Behind this hill the enemy whether he was in any force in our front, and had, early in the day, some of his most annoyif he did not intend himself to make an attack, ing batteries planted. Across the road from and make it by Blackburn's Ford. After firing this hill was another hill, or rather elevated several times, and obtaining no response, I held ridge, or table of land. The hottest part of the one of Heintzelman's brigades in reserve, in contest was for the possession of this hill with case we should have to send any troops back a house on it. The force engaged here was to reinforce Miles's division. The other bri- Heintzelman's division, Wilcox's and Howard's gades moved forward as directed in the general brigades on the right, supported by part of Pororders. On reaching the ford, at Sudley's ter's brigade and the cavalry under Palmer, and Spring, I found part of the leading brigade of Franklin's brigade of Heintzelman's division, Hanter's division (Burnside's) had crossed, but Sherman's brigade of Tyler's division in the the men were slow in getting over, stopping to centre and up the road, whilst Keyes's brigade drink. As at this time the clouds of dust froin of Tyler's division was on the left, attacking the direction of Manassas indicated the imme- the batteries near the stone bridge. The Rhode diate approach of a large force, and fearing it Island battery of Burnside's brigade also partimight come down on the head of the column cipated in this attack by its fire from the north before the division could all get over and sus of the turnpike. The enemy was understood to tain it, orders were sent back to the heads of have been commanded by J. E. Johnston. regiments to break from the column and come Rickett's battery, which did such effective serforward separately as fast as possible. Orders vice and played so brilliant a part in this conwere sent by an officer to the reserve brigade test, was, together with Griffin's battery, on of Heintzelman's division to come by a nearer the side of the hill, and became the object of road across the fields, and an aide-de-camp was the special attention of the enemy, who sucsent to Brigadier-General Tyler to direct him ceeded-our officers mistaking one of his regito press forward his attack, as large bodies of ments for one of our own, and allowing it to the enemy were passing in front of him to at- approach without firing upon it-in disabling tack the division which had crossed over. The the battery, and then attempted to take it. ground between the stream and the road lead- Three times was he repulsed by different corps ing from Sadley's Spring south and over which in succession, and driven back, and the guns Burnside's brigade marched, was for about a taken by hand, the horses being killed, and mile from the ford thickly wooded, whilst on pulled away. The third time it was supposed the right of the road for about the same dis- by us all that the repulse was final, for he was tance the country was divided between fields driven entirely from the hill, and so far beyond and woods. About a mile from the road the it as not to be in sight, and áll were certain the country on both sides of the road is open, and day was ours. He had before this been driven for nearly a mile further large rolling fields ex- nearly a mile and a half, and was beyond the tend down to the Warrenton turnpike, which Warrenton road, which was entirely in our Crosses what became the field of battle through possession from the stone bridge westward, and the valley of a small water course, a tributary our engineers were just completing the removal of Ball Ran.
of the abatis across the road, to allow our reShortly after the leading regiment of the first inforcements (Schenck's brigade and Ayers's brigade reached the open space, and whilst battery) to join us. others and the second brigade were crossing to The enemy was evidently disheartened and the front and right, the enemy opened his fire, broken. But we had been fighting since halfbeginning with artillery and following up with past ten o'clock in the morning, and it was infantry. The leading brigade (Burnside's) after three o'clock in the afternoon. The men had to sastain this shock for a short time with had been up since two o'clock in the morning, est support, and did it well. The battalion of and had made what to those unnsed to such regular infantry was sent to sustain it, and things seemed a long march before coming into sbortly afterwards the other corps of Porter's I action, though the longest distance gone over
was not more than nine and a half miles; and At the time of our retreat, seeing great acthough they had three days' provisions served tivity in this direction, much firing, and columns out to them the day before, many no doubt of dust, I became anxious for this place, fearing either did not eat them, or threw them away if it were turned or forced, the whole stream on the march or during the battle, and were of our retreating mass would be captured or therefore without food. They had done much destroyed. After providing for the protection severe fighting. Some of the regiments which of the retreat by Porter's and Blenker's brihad been driven from the hill in the first two gades, I repaired to Richardson's, and found the attempts of the enemy to keep possession of it whole force ordered to be stationed for the had become shaken, were unsteady, and had holding of the road from Manassas by Blackmany men out of the ranks.
burn's Ford to Centreville, on the march, under It was at this time that the enemy's rein- the orders from the Division-Commander for forcements came to his aid from the railroad Centreville. I immediately halted it and ortrain, understood to have just arrived from the dered it to take up the best line of defence valley with the residue of Johnston's army. across the ridge that their position admitted of, They threw themselves in the woods on our and subsequently taking in person the comright and towards the rear of our right, and mand of this part of the army, I caused such opened a fire of musketry on our men, which disposition of the forces which had been added caused them to break and retire down the hill- to by the First and Second New Jersey and the side. This soon degenerated into disorder, for De Kalb regiments, ordered up from Runyon's which there was no remedy. Every effort was reserve before going forward, as would best made to rally them, even beyond the reach of serve to check the enemy. The ridge being the enemy's fire, but in vain. The battalion of held in this way, the retreating current passed regular infantry alone moved up the hill oppo- I slowly through Centreville to the rear. The site to the one with the house on it, and there enemy followed us from the ford as far as Cub maintained itself until our men could get down Run, and, owing to the road becoming blocked to and across the Warrenton turnpike, on the up at the crossing, caused us much damage way back to the position we occupied in the there, for the artillery could not pass, and sevmorning. The plain was covered with the re- eral pieces and caissons had to be abandoned. treating troops, and they seemed to infect those in the panic the horses hauling the caissons with whom they came in contact. The retreat and ammunition were cut from their places by soon became a rout, and this soon degenerated persons to escape with, and in this way much still further into a panic.
confusion was caused, the panic aggravated, Finding this state of affairs was beyond the and the road encumbered. Not only were efforts of all those who had assisted so faith- pieces of artillery lost, but also many of the fully during the long and hard day's work in ambulances carrying the wounded. gaining almost the object of our wishes, and By sundown most of our men had gotten bethat nothing remained on the field but to re- hind Centreville ridge, and it became a quescognize what we could no longer prevent, Ition whether we should or not endeavor to gave the necessary orders to protect their with make a stand there. The condition of our ardrawal, begging the men to form in line, and tillery and its ammunition, and the want of offer the appearance, at least, of organization. food for the men, who had generally abandoned They returned by the fords to the Warrenton or thrown away all that had been issned the road, protected, by my order, by Colonel Por- day before, and the utter disorganization and ter's force of regulars. Once on the road, and consequent demoralization of the mass of the the different corps coming together in small army, seemed to all who were near enough to parties, many without officers, they became in- be consulted-division and brigade commandtermingled, and all organization was lost. ers and staff-to admit of no alternative but
Orders had been sent back to Miles's division to fall back; the more so as the position at for a brigade to move forward and protect this Blackburn's Ford was then in the possession retreat, and Colonel Blenker's brigade was de- of the enemy, and he was already turning tached for this purpose, and was ordered to go our left. On sending the officers of the staff as far forward as the point where the road to to the different camps, they found, as they the right left the main road.
reported to me, that our decision had been By referring to the general order it will be anticipated by the troops, most of those who seen that, while the operations were to go on had come in from the front being already on in front, an attack was to be made at Black- the road to the rear, the panic with which burn's Ford, by the brigade (Richardson's) sta- they came in still continuing and hurrying tioned there. A reference to his report, and them along. to that of Major Hunt, commanding the artil At — o'clock the rear guard (Blenker's brilery, will show that this part of the plan was gade) moved, covering the retreat, which was well and effectively carried out. It succeeded effected during the night and next morning in deceiving the enemy for a considerable time, The troops at Fairfax station leaving by the and in keeping in check a part of his force. cars took with them the bulk of the supplie: The fire of the artillery at this point is repre- which had been sent there. My aide-de-camp sented as particularly destructive.
Major Wadsworth, stayed at Fairfax court