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 II | Pages range from 1 to 1012

Go to Page (current volume):  
Index | Previous | Next
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 2, Part 1 (First Manassas Campaign)
Page 471 Chapter IX. THE BULL RUN CAMPAIGN.

at that point then consisted of nine regiments and two battalions of infantry, four companies of artillery, with sixteen without caissons, harness, or horses, and about three hundred cavalry. They were, of course, undisciplined, several regiments without accouterments, and with an entirely inadequate supply of ammunition.

I lost no time in making a complete reconnaissance of the place and its environs, in which the chief engineer, Major (now Brigadier-General) Whiting, ably assisted. The result confirmed my preconceived ideas. The position is untenable by any force not strong enough to take the field against an invading army and to hold both sides of the Potomac. It is a triangle, two sides being formed by the Potomac and the Shenandoah, and the third by Furnace Ridge. The plateau thus inclosed, and the end of Furnace Ridge itself, the only defensible position, which, however, required for its adequate occupation double our numbers, was exposed to enfilade and reverse fires of artillery from heights on the Maryland side of the river. Within that line the ground was more favorable to an attacking than to a defending force. The Potomac can be easily crossed at many points above and below, so that it is easily turned. It is twenty miles from the great route into the valley of Virginia from Pennsylvania and Maryland, by which General Patterson's approach was expected. Its garrison was thus out of position to defend that valley or to prevent General McClellan's junction with General Patterson. These were the obvious and important objects to be kept in view. Besides being in position for them, it was necessary to be able on emergency to join General Beauregard.

The occupation of Harper's Ferry by our Army perfectly suited the enemy's views. We were bound to a fixed point; his movements were unrestricted. These views were submitted to the military authorities. The continued occupation of the place was, however, deemed by them indispensable. I determined to hold it until the great objects of the Government required its abandonment. The practicable roads from the West and Northwest, as well as from Manassas, meet the route from Pennsylvania and Maryland at Winchester. That point was, therefore, in my opinion, our best position. The distinguished commander of the Army of the Potomac was convinced, like myself, of our dependence upon each other, and promised to co-operate with me in case of need. To guard against surprise and to impose upon the enemy, Major Whiting was directed to mount a few heavy guns upon Furnace Ridge and otherwise strengthen the position.

I was deployed until the 13th of June in continuing what had been begun by my predecessor, Colonel (now Major-General) Jackson-the organization, instruction, and equipment of the troops, and providing means of transportation and artillery horses. The river was observed from the Point of Rocks to the western part of the country of Berkeley, the most distant portions by the indefatigable Stuart with his cavalry. General Patterson's troops were within a few hours of Williamsport, and General McClellan's in Western Virginia were supposed to be approaching to effect a junction with Patterson, whose force was reported by well informed persons to be eighteen thousand men.

On the morning of the 13th of June information was received from Winchester that Romney was occupied by two thousand Federal troops, supposed to be the vanguard of McClellan's army. Colonel A. P. Hill, with his own (Thirteenth) and Colonel Gibbons' (Tenth) Virginia Regiments, was dispatched by railway to Winchester. He was directed to move thence towards Romney, to take the best position and best measures to check the advance of the enemy. He was to add to his command


Page 471 Chapter IX. THE BULL RUN CAMPAIGN.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 2, Part 1 (First Manassas Campaign)
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