I at once ordered the colors to the front, and emerging upon open ground returned obliquely across a short neck of woods and came in sight of the enemy, who were escaping from the woods in rapid and scattered retreat to their main body upon the turnpike. An effort was made to overtake them, but after pursuing them to the crest of the hill next, the turnpike and above the stone house (Matthews') the regiment was countermarched in a line parallel with the route of the enemy. Advancing upon this route I was directed by General Beauregard in person to cross the turnpike and scour the woods beyond. In performing this service I detached Company A, Captain Patton, with orders to examine the stone house of Matthews, from which a hospital flag was suspended.
In this house were found a large number of the wounded enemy, some dead, and thirty-six men, who surrendered themselves prisoners. Among them were two officers, a surgeon, and assistant surgeon. The latter was liberated on parole, and directed to take charge of and assist the enemy's wounded. There were also found in the house about one hundred arms. I then passed beyond the stone house through the wood designated by General Beauregard, found several killed and wounded, and sent one of the latter, a Carolinian, to the care of our surgeons. The advance of the regiment stopped at this point, being the same, as I learned subsequently, where a severe conflict had occurred between Major (now Brigadier-General) Evans and the enemy. The regiment was then countermarched over the same ground to the turnpike, and down the same to the stone bridge.
From this point I was ordered by General Beauregard to march in the direction of the White House. This order was under execution when I was directed by order of General Beauregard, to take post near Mitchell's Ford, on Bull Run. The regiment reached this point at -- o'clock the same night, a distance of about
miles from the field of battle.
The conduct of the command when called into action or exposed to a fire which they could not return, authorizes me to assure you that it may be relied on for any service which requires courage, energy, and obedience. I shall congratulate myself if it be your opinion that its opportune arrival contributed in any degree to arrest the progress of the enemy at a critical point and period of the fight.
I annex a return of the casualties during the fight.
Respectfully, colonel, your most obedient,
ROBT. T. PRESTON,
Colonel Twenty-eighth Virginia Infantry, C. S. Army.
Colonel P. ST. GEORGE COCKE,
Commanding Fifth Brigade, Virginia Forces, C. S. Army.
Numbers 105. Report of Colonel William Smith, Forty-ninth Virginia Infantry.
HDQRS. FORTY-NINTH REGIMENT, VIRGINIA VOLS., July 31, 1861.
SIR: On the morning of the 21st instant I was posted, by order of Colonel Cocke, on Bull Run, nearly north from Lewis' house, to protect a detachment of Rogers' battery of two guns, under the command of Lieutenant [Heaton]. The enemy made his appearance in the pines some