War of the Rebellion: Serial 002 Page 0502 Chapter IX. OPERATIONS IN MD., PA., VA., AND W. VA.

Search Civil War Official Records

Lieutenant Colonel Thomas H. Williamson, the engineer of these works, assisted by Captain D. B. Harris, discharged his duties with untiring energy and devotion as well as satisfactory skill.

Captain W. H. Stevens, engineer C. S. Army, served with the advanced forces at Fairfax Country-House for some time before the battle. He laid out the works there in admirable accordance with the purposes for which they were designed, and yet so as to admit of ultimate extension and adaptation to more serious uses as means and part of a system of real defense when determined upon. He has shown himself to be an officer of energy and ability.

Major Thomas G. Rhett, after having discharged for several months the laborious duties of adjutant-general to the commanding officer of Camp Pickens, was detached to join the Army of the Shenandoah just on the eve of the advance of the enemy, but volunteering his services, was ordered to assist on the staff of General Bonham, joining that officer at Centreville on the night of the 17th, before the battle of Bull Run, where he rendered valuable service, until the arrival of General Johnston, on the 20th of July, when he was called to the place of chief of staff of the officer. It is also, proper to acknowledge the signal services rendered by Cols. B. F. Terry and T. Lubbock, of Texas, who had attached themselves to the staff of General Longstreet. These gentleman made daring and valuable reconnaissances of the enemy's positions, assisted by Captain George and Chichester, they also carried orders to the field, and on the following day accompanied Captain Whiteheard's troop to take possession of Fairfax Court-House. Colonel Terry,

with his unerring rifle, severed the halliard, and thus lowered the Federal flag found still floating from the cupola of the court-house there. He also secured a large Federal garrison flag, designed, it is said, to be unfurled over our entrenchments at Manassas.

In connection with the unfortunate casualty of the day, that is, the miscarriage of the orders sent by courier to Generals Holmes and Ewell to attack the enemy in flank and reverse at Centreville, through which the triumph of our arms was prevented from being still more decisive, I regard it in place to say a divisional organization, with officers in command of division, with appropriate rank, as in European services, would greatly reduce the risk of such mishaps, and would advantageously simplify the communications of a general in command of a field with his troops.

While glorious for our people, and of crushing effect upon the morale of our hitherto confident and overweening adversary, as were the events of the battle of Manassas, the field was only won by stout fighting, and as before reported, with much loss, as is precisely exhibit in the papers herewith, marched F, G, and H,* and being lists of the killed and wounded. The killed outright numbered 369, the wounded 1,483, making an aggregate of 1,852.

The actual loss of the enemy will never be known; it may only be conjectured. Their abandoned dead, as they were buried by our people where they fell, unfortunately were not enumerated, but many parts of the field were thick with their corpses as but few battle-fields have ever been. The official reports of the enemy are studiously silent on this point, but still afford us data for an approximate estimate. Left almost in the dark in respect to the looser of Hunter's and Heintzelman's divisions, first, longest, and most hotly engaged, we are informed that Sherman's brigade, Tyler's division, suffered in killed, wounded, and missing 609; that is, about eighteen per cent. of the brigade. A regiment of

---------------

* Summarized in Numbers 121, post.

---------------