War of the Rebellion: Serial 002 Page 0409 Chapter IX. THE BULL RUN CAMPAIGN.

Search Civil War Official Records

the killed and wounded. The horses, men, and two officers of Ricketts' battery lay stretched upon the ground, but the enemy had not yet seized it. Recrossing the Sudley road, I met the First Michigan, Major Bidwell commanding, and, marching with this regiment, we found the enemy now drawn up in a thin line across the field and in possession of the battery. Advancing to the fence on the roadside, the First Michigan opened fire. The right wing fell back to reload, owing to a blundering order, by the left stood firm, expelled the enemy, and retook the battery. The troops here opposed to us I believe to have been the Seventh Georgia. Colonel Heintzelman now came up, and ordered us promptly forward, and, with the promise of another regiment, it was my design to turn the enemy's left. The left wing of the First Michigan recrossed the field, struck into the woods beyond the zouaves, succeeded in destroying and capturing a small number of the enemy, and pushing back his extreme left out of that part or point of the woods adjacent to the Sudley road.

Meantime the right wing of the First Michigan reformed, and advanced in good order. I met it, and we pushed on towards the next point of woods. From this point I found the enemy's left discovered us by our fire, and we became engaged with their rear rank, their front being occupied by the advancing troops of Franklin's or Sherman's brigade. The officers and men of the First Michigan stood up bravely at this critical moment, holding on anxiously for re-enforcments. But, from all I can learn, the Thirty-eighth, which was ordered up to me, was directed to the left of the Robinson house (instead of to the right and along the Sudley road), came in contact with the enemy's center, and never reached me.

It was not 4 o'clock. General Beauregard had been gathering new re-enforcements. General Kirby Smith had joined him with a portion of Johnston's army. Our scattered troops were contending in fractions against the enemy's army, in position and massed on the plateau, with his artillery sweeping every approach. General Johnston was bringing fresh troops to turn our own right. The Twenty-eighth Virginia attacked my own handful from the rear in the woods, and I had the ill-fortune to be wounded, and a few moments afterwards captured. But I was spared witnessing the disaster which further pursued our arms.

In this report I have only endeavored to supply partly the information that was not known or found in any other report, in consequence of my capture. Permit me to add, further, that the Thirty-eighth New York was distinguished for its steadiness in ranks, and for gallantly repelling a charge made upon it by the New Orleans Tigers. The zouaves, though broken as a regiment, did good service, under my own eyes, in the woods, and detachments of them joined other regiments in the fight. The First Michigan deserves the credit of advancing farther into the enemy's lines than any other of our troops, as their dead bodies proved after the battle.

I only regret that, from the fact of my separation from Arnold's battery, I cannot add any testimony of my own to the well-known gallantry with which he and his command conducted themselves.

I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, yours,

O. B. WILLCOX,

Brigadier-General, late Colonel First Michigan Infantry.

Brigadier General L. THOMAS,

Adjutant-General U. S. Army.