us I returned to Winchester, much to the disappointment of our troops, who were eager for battle with the invaders. Colonel Stuart, with his cavalry, as usual, remained near the enemy.
Before the 15th of July the enemy's force, according to the best intelligence to be obtained, amounted to about thirty-two thousand. Ours had been increased by eight Southern regiments. On the 15th of July Colonel Stuart reported the advance of General Patterson from Martinsburg. He halted, however, at Bunker Hill, nine miles from Winchester, where he remained on the 16th. On the 17th he moved to his left to Smithfield. This created the impression that he intended to attack us on the south, or was merely holding us in check while General Beauregard should be attacked at Manassas by General Scott. About 1 o'clock on the morning of July 18 I received from the Government a telegraphic dispatch informing me that the Northern Army was advancing upon Manassas, then held by General Beauregard, and directing me, if practicable, to go to that officer's assistance, after* sending my sick to Culpeper Court-House. In the exercise of the discretion conferred by the terms of the order, I at once determined to march to join General Beauregard. The best service which the Army of the Shenandoah could render was to prevent the defeat of that of the Potomac. To be able to do this it was necessary, in the first instance, to defeat General Patterson or to elude him. The latter course was the most speedy and certain, and was therefore adopted. Our sick, nearly seventeen hundred in number, were provided for in Winchester. For the defense of that place the militia of Generals Carson and Meem seemed ample, for I thought it certain that General Patterson would follow my movement as soon as he discovered it. Evading him by the dispositions made of the advance-guard, under Colonel Stuart, the Army moved through Ashby's Gap to Piedmont, a station of the Manassas Gap Railroad. Hence the infantry were to be transported by the railway, while the cavalry and artillery were ordered to continue their march.
I reached Manassas about noon on the 20th, preceded by the Seventh and Eighth Georgia Regiments and by Jackson's brigade, consisting of the Second, Fourth, Fifth, Twenty-seventh, and Thirty-third Virginia Regiments. I was accompanied by General Bee, with the Fourth Alabama, the Second, and two companies of the Eleventh Mississippi. The president of the railroad company had assured me that the remaining troops should arrive during the day. I found General Beauregard's position too extensive, and the ground too densely wooded and intricate, to be learned in the brief time at my disposal and therefore determined to rely upon his knowledge of it and of the enemy's positions. This I did readily from full confidence in his capacity.
His troops were divided into eight brigades, occupying the defensive line of Bull Run. Brigadier-General Ewell's was posted at the Union Mills Ford; Brigadier General D. R. Jones' at McLean's Ford; Brigadier-General Longstreet's at Blackburn's Ford; Brigadier-General Bonham's at Mitchell's Ford; Colonel Cocke's at Ball's Ford, some three miles above; and Colonel Evans, with a regiment and battalion, formed the extreme left at the stone bridge. The brigades of Brigadier-General Holmes and Colonel Eearly were in reserve in rear of the right. I regarded the arrival of the remainder of the Army of the Shenandoah during the night as certain, and Patterson's junction with the Grand Army on the 22nd as probable.
During the evening it was determined, instead of remaining in the
*This word erased from some official copies of the report. See Mr. Davis' indorsement, p. 478.