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at 210,000 men in the field. Davis was authorized to increase this number by 400,000 more, and also to add tc the so-called navy. An act respecting alien enemies was passed, ordering thorn to depart out of the confederacy, and another sequestrating their properly, intended as retaliatory for the confiscation act of Congress (see p. 54). After a short session, the Confederate Congress adjourned, September 2d, to meet again in November.
At this period of the contest, when the impression largely prevailed in the North, that the rebellion could be crushed by rapid, decided action, the cry became quite prevalent, "On to Richmond!" People, unacquainted with the science of war and its manifold details, were incapable of fathoming why it was, that, with so large a force as that now in the field, nothing apparently was being done, no victory of moment was gained, the rebels were not at once put down, etc. In their lack of acquaintance with this subject, they cast aside all considerations of the time and drilling needed to make good and efficient soldiers out of new recruits, and the complicated, weighty difficulties connected with furnishing military stores and supplies, at proper times and places, for an army of 50,000 to 100,000 men. The pressure was urgent, and the troops were expected to make a brilliant campaign of three or six months, and speedily reduce the rebels to submission. Military men, having a clearer conception of what was to be done, and the material in hand to work with, were rather doubtful as to the expediency of attempting a great battle
just at this time; but the people, impatient and in general unreasoning, were calling for action, the soldiers wished for action; action seemed one of the easiest things in the world; the enemy was undervalued; and a battle must be fought, on such a scale and in such wise, as to prove the superiority of our forces, and the insignificance of the rebel hosts.
As stated on a previous page (see p. 35), General Patterson, at the beginning of July, crossed the Potomac at Williamsport, with a force of about 20,000 men. The rebels 1§61. retired on his appearance; and on the 15th of July, he moved forward to Bunker Hill, nine miles from Winchester, and occupied it without resistance. On the 17th, instead of advancing on the direct road, he turned to the left and marched to Charlestown, twelve miles eastward and near the Potomac; thus, as it turned out, leaving the road open for Johnston, the rebel general at Winchester, to carry his entire force to Manassas, and do his share in the defeat of our army at Bull Run. The reasons for this course are not at all clear, and the testimony on this subject elicited by the committee on the conduct of the war, is very damaging to the character of General Patterson. Although urged by General Scott to do something efficient, he remained at Charlestown under an idea that he was checking Johnston's advance; in reality, it was to no purpose, and on the 22d, he fell back to Harper's Ferry where, on the 25th of July, Genera. Banks took his place.
General McDowell was in command 1• ;—
I Ch. IV.]
of the department of North-eastern Virginia, an able and excellent officer, to whom was committed the charge of making an assault upon the enemy, who were strongly entrenched, under Beauregard, at Manassas. His force consisted of about forty-five regiments of volunteers, chiefly from New York and the eastern states, with several from the West, a large portion of the whole being called out, under the requisition of the president, for three months only. The remainder were three years' volunteers; but, having
i come into the field later, they had enjoyed but slightly the advantages of
I military drill and discipline. With them were mixed a few of the regular infantry, some companies of United States cavalry, and several light batterias of the United States artillery. The general staff and field officers included a number of the most meritorious officers of the regular army; the company officers, being mostly taken from civil life, were of course less experienced, and much less able to discharge the duties imposed upon them. The Grand Army, as it was called,
, began its march from Washington, on the 16th of July. Gen. Tyler's column took the advance, and spent the night
I at Vienna, a few miles from Fairfax Court House. General Hunter marched with the central column, on the direct road; and Gen. Miles advanced on the extreme left. General McDowell, who was with the centre, arrived at noon, the next day, at Fairfax Court House, the enemy retiring and evidently avoiding a conflict.* On the 18th,
* Our troops were gu'lty of noma excesses here, such VOL. IV.—«
Gen. Tyler, having passed through Centreville, found the rebels strongly posted at Blackburn's Ford on Bull Run, where, under Gen. Longstreet, they resisted the further advance of our troops. The conflict was mainly with artillery, and was well sustained; it proved clearly that the rebel army had taken position between Centreville and Manassas Junction, and intended to remain there. The loss on the Union side was between 80 and 90; the rebel loss was reported at somewhat less.*
Gen. McDowell was convinced, on examination, that the strength and position of the rebels rendered it unadvisable, without a diversion, to risk the main attack directly in front, or to make the attempt to gain Manasses by an approach from the east. Above Stone Bridge, however, the ground appeared more practicable. The stream, Bull Run, might readily be forded, and though there were no good roads leading from the camps in that direction, the country afforded no serious obstacle
as breaking into empty houses, pillaging, and committing other offensive acts; but this disgraceful conduct was immediately repressed and steps were taken to prevent any recurrence of similar outbreaks. Gen. McDowell's stringent order on this subject manifests the spirit and determination of the commanding officers of our army. Compare with this the vile insinuations and falsehoods of Beauregard's proclamation, quoted on p. 34.
* Beauregard, who, as he says, was "opportunely informed," i. e., by the numerous spies and traitors in and about Washington, of McDowell's purpose to advance upon Manassas, claims it as a stroke of policy that his men retreated and thereby deceived McDowell as to his ulterior designs at Bull Run. Major Barnard, chief-engineer of the Army of the Potomac, has criticised this costly reconnaissance by Gen. Tyler in sevcro terms, and pronounces that the affair had a bad effect upon the morale of our raw forces. Swinton terms it "silly ambition " on the part of Tyler to do as he did — 'Army of the Potomac," p. 47.
THE GRAND ARMY MOVES.
to the movement of troops. It was accordingly resolved, by a flank movement, to turn the enemy's position on their left with a suflicient force, which should co-operate with a direct attack on their position at Stone Bridge, and thus open the turnpike road from Centreville, and cut off the railroad communication of Manassas with the army of Johnston in and about Winchester. McDowell intended to make the attack on Saturday, July 20th, but was hindered by delays in receiving proper supplies, which did not reach him till Friday night, at Centreville, about seven miles to the north-east of Manassas. Rations were distributed and issued; and in order as far as possible to avoid marching in the heat before the fight, orders were given to move at half-past two o'clock, on Sunday morning, the 21st, expecting to open the battle at all points at six, A.m. Delays occurred, owing to the inexperience of the officers and men, so that it was some three hours later, in one of the hot July mornings in Virginia, that the troops crossed at Sudley Spring, and soon after were engaged in battle.* Full details are beyond our limits; and we must content ourselves with an extract or two from Gen McDowell's report, which will suffice to render the
* Gen. McDowell, speaking of his reasons for fighting when he did, declared that he could not push on faster, nor could he delay. The best part of his troops were three months volunteers, whose term of service was just expiring. They refused to stay an hour beyond their timo. McDowell and the secretary of war pleaded with them (volunteers from Pennsylvania and New York), but in vain. They insisted on their discharge that Saturday night. It was granted of course; "and the next morning, when the army moved forward into battle, these troops moved to the rear, to the sound of the enemy's cannon."
general course of procedure and the result sufficiently clear to our readers. As events turned out, McDowell termed it "a great misfortune" that delays occurred, as noted above. The wood road from the Warrenton Turnpike was longer than was expected, and the upper ford was not reached as speedily as was desired. General Tyler, in front of Stone Bridge, commenced with his artillery, at half-past six, A.m., but the enemy made no reply, rendering it doubtful as to his plans. Other brigades moved forward, and Tyler was directed to advance, as large bodies of the enemy were passing in front of him to attack the division which had crossed over under Burnside.
"The ground between the stream and the road leading from Sudley Spring south, and over which Burnside's brigade marched, was for about a mile from the ford thickly wooded, whilst on the right of the road for about the same distance, the country was divided between fields and woods. About a mile from the road the country on both sides of the road is open, and for nearly a mile further large rolling fields extend down to the Warrenton turnpike, which crosses what became the field of battle, through the valley of a small watercourse, a tributary of Bull Run." The enemy opened fire upon our troops, who stood the shock well, and on being reinforced drove the eneny out of the wood and across the road tp the slopes on the other side.
"While this was going on, Ileintzelman's division was moving down the field to the stream, and up the road beyond. Beyond the Warrenton road,
and to the left of the road, down which our troops had marched from Sudley Spring, is a hill with a farm-house on it. Behind this hill the enemy had, early in the day, some of his most annoying batteries planted. Across the road from this hill was another hill, or rather elevated ridge, or table of land. The hottest part of the contest was for the possession of this hill with a house
on it Rickett's battery, which
did such effective service and played so brilliant a part in this contest, was, together with Griffin's battery, on the side of the hill, and became the object of the special attention of the enemy, who succeeded—our officers mistaking one of his regiments for one of our own, and allowing it to approach without firing npon it—in disabling the battery, and then attempting to take it. Three times was he repulsed by different corps in succession, and driven back, and the guns taken by hand, the horses being killed, and pulled away.*
"The enemy was evidently disheartened and broken. But we had been fighting since half-past ten o'clock in the morning, and it was after three o'clock in the afternoon. The men had been up since two o'clock in the morning, and had made what, to those unused to such things, seemed a long march before coming into action, and were without food. They had done
* The rebel general, T. J. Jackson, was of especial service at this period of the battle. Coming up with his brigade of fresh troops, and displaying great steadiness, one enthusiastic South Carolina officer I shouted, " Look, there is Jackson standing tike a stoncI wall/" This epithet was considered a happy one, and i! was very generally attached afterwards to Jackson's name.—See Cooke's " Lift if Jackson" pp. 68, 77.
much severe fighting. Some of the regiments which had been driven from the hill in the first two attempts of the enemy to keep possession of it had become shaken, were unsteady, and had many men out of the ranks.
"It was at this time that the enemy's reinforcements came to his aid from the railroad train, understood to have just arrived from the valley with the residue of Johnston's army.* They threw themselves in the woods on our right and towards the rear of our right, and opened a fire of musketry on our men, which caused them to break and retire down the hillside. This soon degenerated into disorder, for which there was no remedy. Every effort was made to rally them, even beyond the reach of the enemy's fire, but in vain. The retreat soon became a rout, and this soon degenerated still further into a panic. Finding this state of affairs was beyond the efforts of all those who had assisted so faithfully during the long and hard day's work in gaining almost the object of our wishes, and that nothing remained on the field but to recognize what we could no longer prevent, I gave the necessarjr orders to protect their withdrawal, begging the men to form in line, and offer the appearance at least of organization. They returned by the fords to the Warrenton road, protected, by my order, by Col. Porter's force of regulars. Once on
* Beauregard, in his elaborate report, made some considerable time later, states that the balance of Johnston's force arrived under Kirby Smith, about three P.M., having left Manassas by railroad at noon. It was just at this critical moment that 4,000 fresh troops carao to their help, and the rebels were enabled I to gain the day.
the road, and the different corps coming together in small parties, many without officers, they became intermingled, and all organization was lost.
"By sundown," as General McDowell states, in conclusion, " most of our men had gotten behind Centreville Ridge, and it became a question whether we should or not endeavor to make a stand there. The condition of our artillery and its ammunition, and the want of food for our men, who had generally abandoned or thrown away all that had been issued the
day before, and the utter disorganization and consequent demoralization of the mass of the army, seemed to all who were near enough to be consulted—division and brigade commanders and staff—to admit of no alternative but to fall back. On sending the officers of the staff to the different camps, they found, as they reported to me, that our decision had been anticipated by the troops, most of those who had come in from the front being already on the road to the rear, the panic with which they came in still continuing and hurrying them along. At about ten o'clock, the rear guard (Blenker's brigade), moved, covering the retreat, which was effected during the night and next morning."
Jefferson Davis left Richmond by railroad on this eventful Sunday morning, and reached the field of battle about 4 P.m., when the contest was virtually decided. He telegraphed the welcome news to the Confederate Congress that same night, stating, truly enough, that it had been " a hard fought field." but, with needless mendacity,
asserting, that the Union army was beaten by a force less than half their own number.* Davis was in favor of immediate pursuit and a dash at the capital, which course indeed was the natural one to be adopted in order to reap the fruits of victory; but it was evident that the rebels were in no condition to avail themselves of their opportunity.f
Beauregard, though boasting of his great success, gives as his excuse for not following up and destroying the enemy, that his men were worn down by a long fight in a July day, and were hungry and thirsty; also, that the next day it rained steadily, and he had no cavalry. Johnston accorded with this view of the subject, and said, in addition, that the certainty that General Patterson, if needed, would reach Washington with his army of 30,000 men sooner than they could, prevented any serious thoughts of advancing against the capital. From all which, it may safely be inferred that the ability, not the will, was wanting, and that the rebels acted judiciously in not making a futile attack upon Washington.
The losses at Bull Run were, according to General McDowell's report, 481
* Beauregard's army numbered not less than 30,000, and was fully equal in numbers to that under command of General McDowell, and yet Davis unds took to say, as above, "our force was 15,000; that of the enemy estimated at 35,000." See Beauregard's Beport, and Pollard's " First Year of the War," p. 101.
f See " Stonewall Jackson; a Military Biography" (New York, 1866) by John Esten Cooke, a profound admirer of the man who had attained so singular a sobriquet. According to Mr. Cooke, Jackson, as he sat on his horse looking at the retreating Union troops, exclaimed, " Give me ten thousand men, and I will be in Washington to-night 1"