Owing to the great loss of horses, the exhaustion of the men, and the fear that I should not be able to bring my pieces off the field, the volunteers supporting me having left the position them very soon after I commenced firing, I was induced, after consultation with my officers, to withdraw to the left and rear, when Lieutenant Barrige was dispatched to Colonel Heintzelman. He returned without finding him. I then, in the absence of any superior officers, moved to the right, where I thought I could be of great service, and at once received orders from Captain Fry to cover the retreat, as I was informed the order to retreat had been given.
During the rest of the day I commanded the left section and brought up the rear, the right section, under Lieutenant Barriger, being in advance of the regular cavalry. At one time a body of the enemy's cavalry threatened our rear, but two rounds of canister dispersed them, and we were not again threatened until we arrived near Cub Run, when the battery was exposed to a severe flank and enfilading fire from artillery and infantry to a bridge across that stream, which had been destroyed or broken in by the advanced trains and artillery. Seeing at once that it was impossible to push forward or extricate the guns, I gave orders to spike them and clear as many horses as possible. Had my battery not been detailed in the rear, it might have been saved; but it was sacrificed to prevent a total rout and great loss, which would certainly have ensued had not the display of cavalry and artillery given the impression that the Army was retiring in good order.
Too much praise cannot be bestowed upon the officers of my company, Lieutenants Barriger and Throckmorton, for their gallantly and efficiency during the action. The non-commissioned officer and privates all to a man stood to their posts and performed their duties most gallantly.
From fifteen to twenty horses were killed and wounded on the battle-field and Cub Run.
The following is a list of the killed, and missing.*
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Captain, Fifth Artillery, Commanding Light Co. D, Second Artillery.
To the ACTING ASSISTANT ADJUTANT-GENERAL,
No. 51. Report of Colonel Oliver O. Howard, Third Maine Infantry, commanding Third Brigade, Third Division.
HEADQUARTERS THIRD BRIGADE, THIRD DIVISION, Bush Hill, four miles from Alexandria, July 26, 1861.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the march, battle, and its results, so far as concerned my brigade, on Sunday, the 21st instant:
The column was formed at 2.30 a.m. in rear of Colonel Willcox's brigade, about a mile this side of Centreville. Here we waited till the sun was an hour high, when the rear of Colonel Willcox's column began to move. We followed with the usual haltings along the Warrenton
*Embodied in division return, p.405.
27 R R-VOL II