await further orders from me. The officer in command of the regiment at that time, Lieutenant-Colonel Stevens [Colonel McConnell being unwell, but on the ground], immediately executed that order, and put his regiment in close column. I went to another part of the field, and on returning found this regiment deployed in line of battle, and in another position. I inquired of Colonel Stevens the reason of their position being altered. He told me that Colonel Miles had directed this movement. I asked him why. Colonel Stevens replied, "I do not know, but we have no confidence in Colonel Miles." I inquired the reason, and Colonel Stevens replied, "Because Colonel Miles is drunk." that closed thee conversation. I sent Colonel Stevens back with his regiment to form close column by division, as at first. I then reported to Captain Alexander that I had been interfered with in my disposition of the troops during the day, and I could not carry out General McDowell's orders as long as I was interfered with by a drunken man. Captain Alexander then said that General McDowell now rested the whole disposition of the troops with me, and that I must use my own judgment. I went to place another battalion in line, when I was met by Colonel Miles, who ordered me to form that regiment in another direction. I replied that I should obey no more orders that he might see fit to give me. Colonel Miles then said, "Colonel Richardson, I shall put you in arrest." I told him I never should obey his arrest, and that he never could put me in that position. Colonel Miles answered that he "did not understand this." I made no reply, and went on with the further disposition of the forces, which was done according to the inclosed diagram.*
As soon as the line of battle was well formed the enemy's cavalry made his appearance on the Centreville and Manassas road. I ordered Lieutenant Benjamin to open his rifled cannon upon them, which he did, and the cavalry disappeared after a few shots. It was now nearly dark, and the troops encamped in their present position. About 10 o'clock General McDowell informed me that a retreat was resolved upon; that the troops must be started on the road to Fairfax as soon as possible, and ordered me to move last and cover the retreat of the Army with my brigade. I told the general I would do so, and would stand by him as long as any man would. I left with my brigade at 2 o'clock a.m., after all the other regiments and batteries had retired. On reaching Fairfax I found it abandoned by our troops, and I covered the rear, bringing up my brigade in good order, the New York regiment in front, then the Massachusetts regiment, the two Michigan regiments in rear of the whole. Arrived at Arlington at 2 o'clock p.m. on Monday after the action.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully,
I. B. RICHARDSON,
Colonel, Commanding Fourth Brigade.
My brigade in general behaved itself nobly, and always stood firm. Of my staff, Mr. Eastman, first lieutenant, U. S. Army, did his duty to my satisfaction. Lieutenant Brightly, U. S. Army, was sick and unable to perform much duty, but did all he could. Cadet John R. Meigs, U. S. Military Academy, acted as my volunteer aide, carried my orders promptly, and a braver and more gallant young man was never in any service. I most earnestly recommend him to be appointed at once a