No. 39. Reports of Colonel Ambrose E. Burnside, First Rhode Island Infantry, commanding Second Brigade, Second Division.
WASHINGTON, D. C., August 19, 1861.
SIR: I have the honor to forward the inclosed report of Colonel A. E. Burnside, late commander Second Brigade, Second Division, of the Army of Northeastern Virginia, in relation to the battle of the 21st ultimo, and in doing so I desire to supply an omission in my own report of the 25th* ultimo, viz: to bring the names of Major Wentworth and Quartermaster Cornell, of the Eighth New York State Militia, to the favorable notice of Brigadier-General McDowell. The above-mentioned officers are deserving of high commendation for their good conduct during the battle at Bull Run.
I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General, U. S. Army, late Commanding Second Div.
Captain J. B. FRY,
HDQRS. SECOND BRIGADE, SECOND DIVISION, MAJOR-GENERAL MCDOWELL'S COLUMN, Washington, July 24, 1861.
SIR: I have thee honor to report that the brigade under my command, in common with the rest of the division, left Washington at 3 o'clock p.m. on Tuesday, July 15; encamped that night at Annandale; occupied Fairfax Court-House, and encamped there on Wednesday. On Thursday, July 17, proceeded to Centreville, where we remained till Sunday morning, July 21, when the whole Army took up its line of march to Bull Run.
Nothing of moment occurred till the arrival of the division at the crossing of Bull Run, about 9.30 o'clock, when intelligence was received that the enemy was in front with considerable force. The brigade was ordered to halt for a supply of water and temporary rest. Afterwards an advance movement was made, and Colonel Slocum, of the Second Rhode Island Regiment, was ordered to throw out skirmishers upon either flank and in front. These were soon confronted by the enemy's forces, and the head of the brigade found itself in presence of the foe. The Second Regiment Rhode Island Volunteers was immediately sent forward with its battery of artillery, and the balance of the brigade was formed in a field to the right of the road.
At this time, much to my sorrow, I met you retiring from the field, severely wounded, and was requested to take charge of the formation of the division in the presence of the enemy. Finding that the Second Regiment Rhode Island Volunteers was closely pressed by the enemy, I ordered the Seventy-first Regiment New York Militia and the Second Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers to advance, intending to hold the First Regiment Rhode Island Volunteers in reserve. But owing to delay in formation of the two former regiments, the First Rhode Island Regiment was at once ordered on the field of action. Major Balch, in command, gallantly led the regiment into action, where it performed most effective service in assisting its comrades to repel the attack of the
*No. 32, p.383.