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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 12, Part 2 (Second Manassas)
Page 384 OPERATIONS IN N.VA., W.VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

marched from New Baltimore through Hay Market, where the troops were relieved of their knapsacks to hasten the movement; but before reaching the Gap, about 3 p.m., met Colonel Wyndham's skirmishers retiring before the enemy, already in possession. Fully realizing the importance of gaining this point I pressed the division forward, although in a wearied condition, determined to effect the object if possible.

The road was entirely obstructed by felled timber, which delayed bringing the batteries into position; the Third Brigade, in advance, then commanded by Colonel Stiles, Eighty-third New York, supported by the First and Fourth Brigades, the Second Brigade being held in reserve. The men moved forward gallantly, but owing to the nature of the ground, the strongest positions being already held by the enemy, we were subjected to severe loss, without any prospect of gaining the Gap, although successfully maintaining our ground until dark, when I ascertained the enemy in superior force were turning both right and left, in the endeavor to surround us. Then, considering our position untenable and all efforts to take the pass unavailing, I dispatched two messengers to you with this report, and retired toward Gainesville for the night, where, hearing from General King he was to retire at 1 a.m. from the pike toward Centreville, and not hearing from you, while considering the position critical, as subsequently proved by the inquiry made by rebel officers as to who ordered that retreat, which defeated their anticipations of capturing the entire division, by their overpowering numbers outflanking us, I retired by the way of Bristoe, and effected a junction with the corps on the evening of the 29th, bivouacking on the field of Bull Run within range of the enemy's guns.

At sunrise on the 30th, I was ordered by you to send two brigades to report to General Kearny, and conducted the First Brigade, General Duryea; Fourth Brigade, Colonel Thoburn, which relieved a portion of General Kearny's division. General Duryea's brigade advanced in the woods, driving the enemy along the line of the old railroad excavation until directly under their guns, the Fourth Brigade a little retired on his right. While occupying this ground General Duryea was subjected to a heavy fire of artillery and infantry, in which he received a slight wound and severe contusion from a shell, but remained at his post animating his men, who behaved admirably. It was in this heavy fire that my aide, Captain Fisher, while with his usual zeal, acting under orders, had his horse shot under him, and was taken prisoner. The Second and Third Brigades, under General Tower, with the four batteries, occupied our left.

While thus disposed I received the order to "Forward my division" from the right on the road leading from Sudley Springs to New Market and follow along that road "in pursuit of the enemy." I gave this order, and reported to General Heintzelman as directed, when informed that the enemy following up the already advanced brigade, and confident that they had no intention of retiring, so reported personally to you, and was then directed to abandon pursuit and resume my first position, where the brigades were soon exposed to a galling cross-fire.

General Tower commanding Second and Third Brigades, was detached to the extreme left with Hall's and Leppien's Maine batteries. This portion of the division most gallantly endeavored to maintain their position, suffering severely, until General Tower fell seriously wounded, and the loss of officers and men was very great.

The engagement now became general from right to left. I moved Thompson's battery to the extreme right of the line to dislodge the


Page 384 OPERATIONS IN N.VA., W.VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 12, Part 2 (Second Manassas)
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