eHistory logo Primary Sources Section
Primary Sources Home | Search eHistory

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

You are currently in Volume XII | Pages range from 1 to 820

Go to Page (current volume):  
Index | Previous | Next
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 12, Part 2 (Second Manassas)
Page 599 Chapter XXIV. CAMPAIGN IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA.

Wagons could be seen moving off in the direction of Bull Runn and clouds of dust farther off in that direction.

About 3.30 p.m. the enemy's infantry were seen emerging from a wood upon an open field in line of battle, the wood and filed being in front of Jackson's extreme right and to the left and near Feartherston's brigade, this field about 500 yards wide and terminating 150 yards from Jackson's line, the ground here rising rather steeply for a short distance and then level to the railroad, behind the embankment of which at this point were Jackson's men. Seeing this advance of the enemy, I repaired at once to the interval between Pryor's and Featherson's brigades. From this point there was an excellent view of the field and not more than 400 yards distant. The first line of the enemy advanced in fine style across the open field. There was but little to oppose them. They were fired upon by our pickets and skirmishers, but they continued to advance, and, ascending the rise above referred to, came within full view of Jackson's line, and were here received with a terrific fire of musketry at short range. They hesitated for an instant, recoiling slightly, and then advanced to near the embankment. Twice did I see this line advance and retire, exposed to a close and deadly fire of musketry. Seeing a second line issuing from the woods upon the fire upon them when a battery was directed by the major-general commanding to fire upon them, this battery being near the turnpike in an excellent and commanding position. The fire of this battery was most opportunely delivered upon this advancing line of the enemy. They were caught in the open field. The effect of every shot could be seen. A rapid fire of shot, shell, and spherical case, delivered with admirable precision, checked their advance. As the shells and spherical case would burst over in front and near them their ranks would break, hesitate, and scatter. This artillery fire alone broke regiment after regiment and drove them back into the woods.

Seeing these successive lines and regiments of the enemy checked and finally driven back, and yet their front line quite close upon Jackson's line, thus leaving an interval of more than 600 yards between them and the broken retreating lines, I ordered General Featherston to move his brigade by the flank rapidly down the slope in his front, and thus take in rear or intercept the retreat of the enemy that were so closely engaged with Jackson. This order was repeated three times and in the most positive and peremptory manner, but it was not obeyed. At length the front line of the enemy, sadly thinned by the close fire of Jackson's men behind the railway bank, broke and fell back with great precipitancy and disorder, followed by a portion of Jackson's troops. Featherson now descends the slope in his front and joins in the pursuit across the open field. Pryor's brigade was also ordered to follow rapidly. The fleeing enemy, under cover of the woods, endeavored to reform and to contest the field with us, but our men, inspirited by their success, eagerly rush forward, scarcely halting to deliver their fire. The Federals are forced to continue their retreat; the woods through which the enemy fled (some 600 or 700 yards wide) are at length crossed, and a second field, three-quarters of a mile wide, is in our front. The surface of this field, beginning near the woods, ascends slightly, and then descending somewhat further rises again higher than it is near the woods. In the edge of this field I directed my command to halt for a few minutes to reform line, they having become broken and somewhat scattered from their rapid pursuit of the enemy and traversing the thick woods. While my men


Page 599 Chapter XXIV. CAMPAIGN IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 12, Part 2 (Second Manassas)
Index | Previous | Next
This symbol external link icon indicates an external link
All images and content are the property of eHistory at The Ohio State University unless otherwise stated.
Copyright © 2014 OSU Department of History. All rights reserved. [citation and copyright information]
eHistory icon