my entrenchment (known at Fort Evans), one on the Leesburg turnpike, and one on Edwards Ferry. Heavy firing was also heard in the direction of Dranesville.
At 12 o'clock at night I ordered my entire brigade to the Burnt Bridge, on the turnpike. The enemy had been reported as approaching from Dranesville in large force. Taking a strong position on the north side of Goose Creek, I awaited his approach. Reconnoitering the turnpike on Sunday morning, the courier of General McCall was captured, bearing dispatches to General Meade to examine the roads leading to Leesburg. From this prisoner I learned the position of the enemy nea Dranesville. During Sunday the enemy kept a deliberate fire without any effect.
Early on Monday morning, the 21st instant, I heard the firing of my pickets at Big Spring, who had discovered that at an unguarded point the enemy had effected a crossing in force of five companies and were advancing on Leesburg. Captain [Wm. L.] Duff, of the Seventeenth Regiment, immediately attacked him, driving him back, with several killed and wounded.
On observing the movements of the enemy from Fort Evans at 6 o'clock a. m., I found the had effected a crossing both at Edwards Ferry and Ball's Bluff, and I made preparations to meet him in both positions, and immediately ordered four companies of infantry (two of the Eighteenth, one of the Seventeenth, and one of the Thirteenth) and a cavalry force to relieve Captain Duff; the whole force, under the immediate command of Lieutenant Colonel W. H. Jenifer, who was directed to hold his position till the enemy made further demonstration of his design of attack. This force soon became warmly engaged with the enemy, and drove them back for some distance in the woods.
At about 10 o'clock I became convinced that the main point of attack would be at Ball's Bluff, and ordered Colonel Hunton, with his regiment, the Eight Virginia Volunteers, to repair immediately to the battle immediately in the rear of Colonel Jenifer's command and to drive the enemy to the river; that I would support his right with artillery. About 12.20 o'clock p. m. Colonel Hunton united his command with that of Colonel Jenifer, and both commands soon became hotly engaged with the enemy in their strong position in the woods.
Watching carefully the action, I saw the enemy were constantly being re-enforced, and at 2.30 o'clock p. m. ordered Colonel Burt to march his regiment, the Eighteenth Mississippi, and attack the left flank of the enemy concealed in a ravine, and was compelled to divide his regiment to stop the flank movement of the enemy.
At this time, about 3 o'clock, finding the enemy were in large force, I ordered Colonel Featherston, with his regiment, the Seventeenth Mississippi, to repair at double-quick to the support of Colonel burt, where he arrived in twenty minutes, and the action became general along my whole line, and was very hot and brisk for more than two hours, the enemy keeping up a constant fire with his batteries on both sides of the river. At about 6 o'clock p. m. I saw that my command had driven the enemy near the banks of the Potomac. I ordered my entire force to charge and to drive him into the river. The charge was immediately made by the whole command, and the forces of the enemy were completely routed, and cried out for quarter along his whole line.
In this charge the enemy were driven back at the point of the bayonet,