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not the armies of the aliens to us, but, with | upper reaches were now to be the arena of a the dress, the colors, the officers, of every regi- larger conflict. But it was after sunrise when inent, we were so familiar that those of each the van of General Tyler's column came to the had for us their own interest, and a different edge of the wooded hill overlooking those charm. We knew the men, their discipline, reaches. The sun had risen as splendid as the their respective heroes; what corps were most sun of Austerlitz. Was it an auspicious omen relied on; whose voice was to be that of Hec- for us, or for the foe? Who could foretell? tor or Agamemnon in the coming fray. How The scenery was too beautiful and full of naanother day would change all this! How some ture's own peace, for one to believe in the long-vaunted battalions would perhaps lose possibility of the tumult and carnage just at their, as yet, unearned prestige, while acci- hand, or that among those green oak forests dent or heroism should gild the standards of lurked every engine of destruction which humany before undistinguished! Then, as I fol- man contrivance has produced, with hosts of lowed along that procession of rumbling can- an enemy more dangerous and subtle than the non-carriages and caissons, standards and ban- wild beasts which had once here made their ners, the gleaming infantry with their thousands hiding-places. Then, too, it was Sunday mornof shining bayonets, and the mounted officers ing. Even in the wilderness, the sacred day of every staff, what fine excitement was added seems purer and more hushed than any other. to the occasion by the salutations and last as- It was ours to first jar upon the stillness of the sarances of the many comrades dearer than morning, and becloud the clearness of that the rest! The spirit of the soldiery was mag- serene atmosphere with the rude clangor of nificent. They were all smarting under the the avant messenger that heralded our chalreproach of Thursday, and longing for the op- lenge to a disloyal foe. portunity to wipe it out. There was glowing rivalry between the men of different States.
The Battle. “Old Massachusetts will not be ashamed of us From the point I mention, where the road to-night.” “Wait till the Ohio boys get at slopes down to a protected ravine, we caught them." “We'll fight for New York to-day," the first glimpse of the enemy. A line of inand a hundred similar utterances, were shouted fantry were drawn up across a meadow in the from the different ranks. The officers were as extreme distance, resting close upon woods glad of the task assigned them as their men. I behind them. We could see the reflection of rode a few moments with Lieut.-Col. Haggerty, their bayonets, and their regular disposition of the Sixty-ninth. He mentioned the news- showed them expectant of an attack. After a paper statement that he was killed at the for- moment's inspection, General Tyler ordered mer battle, and laughingly said that he felt very Carlisle to advance with his battery to the warlike for a dead man, and good for at least front, and here one could think of nothing but one battle more. This brave officer was almost Milton's line : the first victim of the day. The cheery voice “ Vanguard ! to right and left the front unfold." of Meagher, late the Irish, now the American The ancient order for the disposition of adpatriot, rang out more heartily than ever. vance ranks is still in military usage ; for the Then there were Corcoran, and Burnside, and second and third Tyler brigades under Schenck, Keyes, and Speidel, and many another skilled were at once formed in line of battle, in the and gallant officer, all pushing forward to the woods on either side—the First Ohio, Second first fruition of their three months' patient Wisconsin, Seventy-ninth, Thirteenth, and Sixpreparation. In the ranks of the Connecticut ty-ninth New York regiments succeeding each and other regiments, were old classmates and other on the right, and the Second Ohio, and fellow-townsmen, with whom it was a privi- Second New York being similarly placed on lege to exchange & word on this so different the left, while the artillery came down the occasion from any anticipated in those days road between. when all the States were loyal, and the word great 32-pound rifled Parrott gun-the "disunion” was a portion of an unknown only one of its calibre in our field servicetongue.
was brought forward, made to bear on the General McDowell's carriage halted at the point where we had just seen the enemy, (for junction of the two roads, a place most favor- the bayonets suddenly disappeared in the able for the quick reception of despåtches from woods behind,) and a shell was fired at fifteen all portions of the field. The column assigned minutes past Ő a. M., which burst in the air ; to Colonel Hunter here divided from the main but the report of the piece awoke the country, body and went on its unknown, perilous jours for leagues around, to a sense of what was to ney around the enemy's flank.
be the order of the day. The reverberation A mile along—and by this time the white was tremendous, shaking through the hills morning twilight gave us a clearer prospect like the volley of a dozen plebeian cannon, than the fading radiance which had thus far and the roar of the revolving shell indescribillumed the march-we could look across an able. Throughout the battle that gun, whenopen country on the left to the farm-house, ever it was fired, seemed to hush and overwhere we knew Col. Richardson was stationed, power every thing else. We waited a moment and to the blood-stained valley beyond, whose for an answering salute, but receiving none,
sent the second shell at a hill-top, two miles | mystery of those thickets. No soldiers are off, where we suspected that a battery had willing to have their fighting entirely confined been planted by the rebels. The bomb burst to storming infernal earthworks at the point like an echo close at the intended point, but of the bayonet. Every regiment, yesterday, still no answer came, and Gen. Tyler ordered was at times a “forlorn hope. Carlisle to cease firing, and bring the rest of A few dead and wounded began to be brought his battery to the front of the woods and onr in, and the battle of Manassas had commenced. column, ready for instant action. It was now Carlisle's howitzers and the great rifled gun about 7 o'clock. For half an hour but little were opened in the direction of the battery, more was done; then skirmishers were de- which answered promptly, and a brief, but terployed into the forest on each side, in order rific cannonading ensued. In less than half an to discover the whereabouts of our nearest hour the enemy's guns were silenced, two of foes. Before us lay a rolling and compara- Carlisle's howitzers advancing through the tively open country, but with several hills and woods to gain a closer position. But a fatal groves cutting off any extended view. In the error was here made, as I thought, by General western distance on the left we could see the Tyler, in not ordering in a division to drive out outskirts of Manassas Junction. The woods the four rebel regiments stationed behind the at whose edge our line of battlo formed, ex- battery, and to seize its eight guns. Through tended half around the open fields in a kind of some inexplicable fatuity he seemed to assume semicircle, and it was into the arms of this that when a battery was silenced it was concrescent that our skirinishers advanced. Soon vinced, and there it remained, with its defendwe began to hear random shots exchanged in ers, unheard from and unthought of until the the thicket on the left, which proved the ex- latter portion of the day, wlien it formed one istence of an enemy in that direction. (What cause of our final defeat. It is actually a fact, can be done against men who, to all the science that while our whole forces were pushed along and discipline of European warfare, add more the right to a co-operation with Hunter's flankthan the meanness and cowardly treachery of ing column, and a distance of miles in advance, the Indian? We had, all through the day, to this position on the left, close to the scene of hunt for the foe, though he numbered his the commencement of the fight, and just in myriads of men.) At the same time, a scout front of all our trains and ammunition wagons on the right captured a negro native, who was -a position chosen by all spectators as the led to the general, shaking with fear, and anx- most secure-was, through the day, within fire ious to impart such information as he had. minutes' reach of a concealed force of infantry, Through him we learned that the rebels were and a battery which had only been “silenced." quartered among the woods on the right and No force was stationed to guard the rear of our left, and in the groves in the open country; left flank. It was near this very point, and with that they had erected a battery on the distant the assistance of this very infantry, that the hill, and had kept him at work for three days, enemy's final charge was made, which created assisting to fell trees, so that a clear range of such irretrievable confusion and dismay. And the road we occupied could be obtained. after the first few hours no officer could be
By this time our scouts reported the enemny found in this vicinity to pay any attention to in some force on the left. Two or three Ohio its security. All had gone forward to follow skirmishers had been killed. Carlisle's battery the line of the contest. was sent to the front of the woods on the right, Meantime, Richardson, on the extreme left, where it could be brought to play where needed. could not content himself with “ maintaining A few shell were thrown into the opposite his position," for we heard occasional discharges thicket, and then the Second Ohio and Second from two of his guns. However, he took no New York marched down to rout out the en- other part in the action than by shellirg the emy. In ten minutes the musketry was heard, forces of the enemy which were sent rapidly and then a heavy cannonade answer. They from his vicinity to the immediate point of conhad, without doubt, fallen upon a battery in test. From the hill behind we could see long the bushes. For a quarter of an hour their columns advancing, and at first thought they firing continued, when they came out in good were Richardson's men moving on Bull Run; order, confirming our surmises. After advanc- but soon discovered their true character. Ining a furlong they saw the enemy, who ex- deed, from every southward point the enemy's changed their fire and retired through the reinforcements began to pour in by thousands. forest. Suddenly from a different direction a Great clouds of dust arose from the distant voice was heard, exclaiming, “Now, you roads. A person who ascended a lofty tree Yankee devils, we've got you where we want could see the continual arrival of cars at the you !” and several heavy guns were opened nearest point on the Manassas railroad, with upon them with such effect that Schenck hosts of soldiers, who formed in solid squares finally ordered them to retire, which they did and moved swiftly forward to join in the conin perfect order. The boys came out indignant test. The whistle of the locomotive was plainly at the practices of the rebels, and swearing audible to those in our advance. It is believed they would rather fight three times their force that at least fifty thousand were added during in the open field than encounter the deadly the day to the thirty thousand rebels opposed
to us at the onset. It was hard for our noble in the fierceness of its most extended fury. The fellows to withstand these incessant reinforce- batteries on the distant hill began to play upon ments, but some of our regiments whipped sev- our own, and upon our advancing troops, with eral corps opposed to them in quick succession, hot and thunderous effects. Carlisle answered and whenever our forces, fresh or tired, met the for us, and Sherman for Hunter's division, enemy in open field, they made short work of while the great 32-pounder addressed itself rehis opposition.
sistlessly to the alternate defences of the foe. At 10A. M. Hunter was heard from on the The noise of the cannonading was deafening extremne right. He had previously sent a cou- and continuous. Conversely to the circumrier to General McDowell, reporting that he had stance of the former engagement, it completely safely crossed the run. The general was lying drowned, at this period, the volleys of the muson the gronnd, having been ill during the night, ketry and riflemen. It blanched the cheeks of but at once mounted his horse und rode on to the villagers at Centreville, to the main street join the column on which so much depended. of which place some of the enemy's rifled shell From the neighborhood of Sudley Church he were thrown. It was heard at Fairfax, at Alsaw the enemy's left in battle array, and at exandria, at Washington itself. Five or six once advanced upon them with the Fourteenth heavy batteries were in operation at once, and New York and a battalion of regular infantry to their clamor was added the lesser roll of -Colonel Hunter ordering up the stalwart twenty thousand small-arms. What could we Rhode Island regiments, (one led by that model civilians see of the fight at this time? Little : of the American volunteer, Burnside,) the Sec- yet perhaps more than any who were engaged ond New Hampshire, and our own finely-disci- in it. How anxiously we strained our eyes to plined Seventy-first. Gov. Sprague himself catch the various movements
, thoughtless of directed the movements of the Rhode Island every thing but the spectacle, and the successes brigade, and was conspicuous through the day or reverses of the Federal army. Our infantry for gallantry. The enemy were found in heavy were engaged in woods and meadows beyond numbers opposite this unexcelled division of our view. We knew not the nature or position our army, and greeted it with shell and long of the force they were fighting. But now and volleys of battalion firing as it advanced. But then there would be a fierce rush into the open on it went, and a fierce conflict ensued in the prospect, a gallant charge on one side and a northern battle ground. As soon as Hunter retreat on the other, and we saw plainly that was thus discovered to be making his way on our columns were gaining ground, and steadily the flank, Gen. Tyler sent forward the right pursuing their advantage by their gradual wing of his columa to co-operate, and a grand movement, which continued towards the disforce was thus brought to bear most effectually tance and the enemy's centre. on the enemy's left and centre.
We indeed heard continuous tidings of heroThe famous Irish regiment, 1,600 strong, who ism and victory; and those in the trees above have had so much of the hard digging to per- us told us of more than we could discover with form, claimed the honor of a share in the hard our field glasses from below. We heard that fighting, aud led the van of Tyler's attack, fol- Hunter had fairly rounded the enemy's flank, lowed by the Seventy-ninth (Highlanders) and and then we listened for ourselves to the sound Thirteenth New York and Second Wisconsin. of his charges in the northern woods, and saw
It was a brave sight—that rush of the Sixty- for ourselves the air gathering up smoke from ninth into the death-struggle! With such their branches, and the wavering column of the cheers as those which won the battles in the Mississippians as they fled from their first batPeninsula, with a quick step at first, and then tery, and were forced into the open field. Then a double quick, and at last a run, they dashed we saw onr own Sixty-ninth and Seventy-ninth, forward, and along the edge of the extended corps animated by a chivalrous national rivalry, forest. Coats and knapsacks were thrown to press on to the support of the more distant coleither side, that nothing might impede their imn. We could catch glimpses of the continwork, but we knew that no guns would slip ual advances and retreats; could hear occasionfrom the hands of those determined fellows, ally the guns of a battery before undiscovered ; even if dying agonies were needed to close could guess how terribly all this accumulation them withi a firmer grasp. As the line swept of death upon death must tell upon those unalong, Meagher galloped towards the head, cry- daunted men, but could also see—and our ing" Come on, boys! you've got your chance cheers continually followed the knowledge at last!” I have not since seen him, but hear that our forces were gradually driving the that lie fought magnificently, and is wounded. right of the enemy around the second quarter
Tyler's forces thus moved forward for half a of a circle, until by one o'clock the main battle mile, describing quite one-fourth of a circle on was raging at a point almost directly opposite the right, until they met a division of the en- our standing-place-the road at the edge of the erny, and of course a battery of the enemy's woods, where it had commenced six hours beinost approved pattern.
There was a hill at the distance of a mile The heat of the Contest.
and a half, to which I have heretofure alluded. It was noon, and now the battle commenced From its height overlooking the whole plain, a
few shell had reached us early in the day, and personally experienced it. And so the conflict as it was nearer the Manassas road than al- lulled for a little while. It was the middle of most any other portion of the field, more of the a blazing afternoon. Our regiments held the enemy's reinforcements gathered about its ridge positions they had won, but the enemy kept than to the aid of the beaten rebels in the receiving additions, and continued a flank movewoods and valleys. Here there was an open ment towards our left-a dangerous movement battery, and long lines of infantry in support, for us, a movement which those in the rear ready, for a wonder, to let our wearied fellows perceived, and vainly endeavored to induce see the fresh forces they had to conquer. some general officer to guard against.
As the Sixty-ninth and Seventy-ninth wound Here was the grand blunder, or misfortune round the meadows to the north of this hill, of the battle. A misfortune, that we had no and began to cross the road apparently with trvops in reserve after the Ohio regimients were the intention of scaling it, we saw a column again sent forward, this time to assist in buildcoming down from the farthest perspective, ing a bridge across the run on the Warrenton and for a moment believed it to be a portion road, by the side of the stone bridge known to of Hunter's division, and that it had succeeded be mined. A blunder, in that the last reserve in completely turning the enemy's rear. А was sent forward at all. It should have been wild shout rose from us all. But soon the retained to guard the rear of the left, and every look-outs saw that the ensigns bore secession other regiment on the field should have been banners, and we knew that Johnston or some promptly recalled over the route by which it other rebel general, was leading a horde of had advanced, and ordered only to maintain fresh troops against our united riglit ard centre. such positions as rested on a supported, continIt was time for more regiments to be sent for- uous line. Gen. Scott says, to-day, that our ward, and Keyes was ordered to advance with troops had accomplished three days' work, and the First Tyler brigade. The three Connecti- should have rested long before. But McDowell cut regiments and the Fourth Maine came on tried to vanquish the South in a single struggle, with a will: the First Connecticut was posted and the sad result is before us. in reserve, and the other three corps swept up As it was, Capt. Alexander, with his sappers the field, by the ford on the right, to aid the and miners, was ordered to cut through the struggling advance.
abatis by the side of the mined bridge, in the All eyes were now directed to the distant valley direct before us, and lay pontoons hill-top, now the centre of the fight. All could across the stream. Carlisle's artillery was desee the enemy's infantry ranging darkly against tailed to protect the work, and the Ohio and the sky beyond, and the first lines of our nien Wisconsin reserve to support the artillery. moving with fine determination up the steep Meanwhile, in the lull which I have mentioned, slope. The cannonading upon our advance, the the thousand heroic details of Federal valor and struggle upon the hill-top, the interchange of the shamelessness of rebel treachery began to position between the contestants, were watched reach our ears. We learned the loss of the by us, and as new forces rushed in upon the brave Cameron, the wounding of Heintzelman enemy's side the scene was repeated over and and Hunter, the fall of Haggerty, and Slocum, over again. It must have been here, I think, and Wilcox. We heard of the dash of the Irishithat the Sixty-ninth took and lost a battery men and their decimation, and of the havoc made eight times in succession, and finally were com- and sustained by the Rhode Islanders, the Highpelled, totally exhausted, to resign the comple- landers, the Zouaves, and the Connecticut Third; tion of their work to the Connecticut regiments then of the intrepidity of Burnside and Sprague which had just come up. The Third Connecti- | -how the devoted and daring young governcut finally carried that summit, unfurled the or led the regiments he had so munificently Stars and Stripes above it, and paused from the equipped again and again to victorious charges, fight to cheer for the Union cause.
and at last spiked, with his own liands, the Then the battle began to work down the guns he could not carry away. The victory hill, the returning half of the circle which the seemed ours. It was an hour sublime in unenemy, driven before the desperate charges of selfishness, and apparently glorious in its reour troops, described during the day, until the sults ! very point where Tyler's advance commenced At this time, near four o'clock, I rede forthe action. Down the hill and into the valley ward through the open plain to the creek where thickets on the left, the Zouaves, the Connecti- the abatis was being assailed by our engineers. cut, and New York regiments, with the uncon- The Ohio, Connecticut, and Minnesota regiquerable Rhode Islanders, drove the continually ments were variously posted thereabout; others enlarging but always vanquished columns of were in distant portions of the field ; all were the enemy. It was only to meet more batter- completely exhausted and partly dissevered; no ies, earthwork succeeding earthwork, ambus- general of division, except Tyler, could be found. cade after ambuscade. Our fellows were hot Where were our officers? Where was the fue? and weary; most had drunk no water during Who knew whether we had won or lost? hours of dust, and smoke, and insufferable heat. The question was to be quickly decided for No one knows what choking the battle atmos- us. A sudden swoop, and a body of cavalry phere produces in a few moments, until he has I rushed down upon our columns near the bridge.
They came from the woods on the left, and in- I was Washburne, and I learned he was the fantry poured out behind them. Tyler and his member by that name fronu Illinois. The Hon. staff, with the reserve, were apparently cut off Mr. Kellogg made a similar effort. Both these by the quick maneuvre. I succeeded in gaining Congressmen bravely stood their ground till the position I had just left, there witnessed the the last moment, and were serviceable at Cencapture of Carlisle's battery in the plain, and treville in assisting the halt there ultimately saw another force of cavalry and infantry pour- made. And other civilians did what they could. ing into the road at the very spot where the But what a scene! and how terrific the onset battle commenced, and near which the South of that tumultous retreat. For three miles, Carolinians, who manned the battery silenced hosts of Federal troops-all detached from their in the morning, had doubtless all day been lying regiments, all mingled in one disorderly routconcealed. The ambulances and wagons had were fleeing along the road, but mostly through gradually advanced to this spot, and of course the lots on either side. Army wagons, sutlers' an instantaneous confusion and dismay resulted. teams, and private carriages, choked the pasOur own infantry broke ranks in the field, sage, tumbling against each other, amid clouds plunged into the woods to avoid the road, got of dust, and sickening sights and sounds. Hacks, up the hill as best they could, without leaders, containing unlucky spectators of the late affray, every man saving himself in his own way. were smashed like glass, and the occupants
were lost sight of in the debris. Horses, tlying The Flight from the Field.
wildly from the battle-field, many of them in By the time I reached the top of the hill, the death agony, galloped at random forward, joinretreat, the panic, the hideous headlong confu- ing in the stampede. Those on foot who could sion, were now beyond a hope. I was near catch them rode them bareback, as much to the rear of the novement, with the brave save themselves from being run over, as to Capt. Alexander, who endeavored by the most make quicker time. Wounded men, lying along gallant but unavailable exertions to check the the banks—the few neither left on the field nor onward tumult. It was difficult to believe in taken to the captured hospitals-appealed with the reality of our sudden reverse. ** What raised bands to those who rode horses, begging does it all mean?” I asked Alexander. “It to be lifted bebind, but few regarded such pemeans defeat," was his reply. “We are beat- titions. Then the artillery, such as was saved, en; it is a shameful, a cowardly retreat! Hold came thundering along, smashing and overup men ! " he shouted, “don't be such infernal powering every thing. The regular cavalry, I cowards ! ” and he rode backwards and for- record it to their shame, joined in the mêlée, wards, placing bis horse across the road and adding to its terrors, for they rode down foot. vainly trying to rally the running troops. The men without mercy. One of the great guns teams and wagons confused and dismembered was overturned and lay amid the ruins of a every corps. We were now cut off from the caisson, as I passed it. I saw an artilleryman advance body by the enemy's infantry, who running between the ponderous fore and after had rushed on the slope just left by us, sur wheels of his gun-carriage, hanging on with rounded the guns and sutlers' wagons, and both hands, and vainly striving to jump upon were apparently pressing up against us. “ It's the ordnance. The drivers were spurring the 10 use, Alexander,” I said, "you must leave horses; he could not cling much longer, and a with the rest.” “I'll be dd if I will," was more agonized expression never fixed the featthe sullen reply, and the splendid fellow rode ures of a drowning man. The carriage boundback to make lois way as best he could. Meaned from the roughness of a steep hill leading to time I saw officers with leaves and eagles on a creek, he lost his hold, fell, and in an instant their shoulder-straps, majors and colonels, who the great wheels had crushed the life out of had deserted their commands, pass me gallop- him. Who ever saw such a flight? Could the ing as if for dear life. No enemy pursued just retreat at Borodino have exceeded it in confuthen; but I suppose all were afraid that his sion and tumult? I think not. It did not slack guns would be trained down the long, narrow in the least until Centreville was reached. avenue, and mow the retreating thousands, and There the sight of the reserve_Miles's brigade batter to pieces army wagons and every thing! --formed in order on the hill, seemed someelse which crowded it. Only one field-officer, what to reassure the van. But still the teams 80 far as my observation extended, seemed to and foot-soldiers pushed on, passing their own have remembered his duty. Lieut.-Col. Spei- camps and heading swiftly for the distant del, a foreigner attached to a Connecticut regi- Potomac, until for ten miles the road over ment, strove against the current for a league. which the grand army had so lately passed I positively declare that, with the two excep- southward, gay with unstained banners, and tions mentioned, all efforts niade to check the flushed with surety of strength, was covered panic before Centreville was reached, were with the fragments of its retreating forces, confined to civilians. I saw a man in citizen's shattered and panic-stricken in a single day. dress, who had thrown off his coat, seized a From the branch route the trains attached to musket, and was trying to rally the soldiers Hunter's division had caught the contagion of who came by at the point of the bayonet. In the flight, and poured into its already swollen & reply to a request for his name, he said it I current another turbid freshet of confusion and