on the heights south of Young's Branch, near Bull Run, I received orders to "attack the enemy vigorously" the next morning. I accordingly made the necessary preparations at night and formed in order of battle at daybreak, having ascertained that the enemy was in considerable force beyond Young's Branch, in sight of the hills we occupied. His left wing rested on Catharpin Creek, front toward Centerville, with his center he occupied a long stretch of woods parallel with the Sudley Springs New Market road, and his right was posted on the hills on both sides of the Centerville-Gainesville road. I therefore directed General Schurz to deploy his division on the right of the Gainesville road, and by a change of direction to the left to come into position parallel with the Sudley Springs road. General Milroy, with his brigade and one battery, was directed to form the center, and to take possession of an elevation in front of the so-called "stone house," at the junction of the Gainesville and Sudley Springs roads. General Schenck, with his division, forming our left, was ordered to advance quickly to an adjoining range of hills, and to plant his batteries on these hills at an excellent range from the enemy's position.
in this order our whole line advanced from point to point, taking advantage of the ground before us, until our whole line was involved in a most vehement artillery and infantry contest. In the course of about four hours, from 6.30 to 10.30 o'clock in the morning, our whole infantry force and nearly all our batteries were engaged with the enemy, Generals Milroy and Schurz advancing 1 mile and General Schenck 2 miles from their original positions.
at this time (10.30 o'clock) the enemy threw forward large masses of infantry against our right, but was resisted firmly and driven back three times by the troops of Generals Milroy and Schurz. To assist these troops, so hard pressed by overpowering numbers, exhausted by fatigue, and weakened by losses, I ordered one battery of reserve to take position on their left, and posted two pieces of artillery, under Lieutenant Blume, of Schirmer's battery, supported by the Forty-first New York Volunteer Infantry, beyond their line, and opposite the right flank of the enemy, who was advancing in the woods. These pieces opened fire with canister most effectively, and checked the enemy's advance on that point. I now directed General Schenck to draw his lines nearer to us, and to attack the enemy's right flank and rear by a change of front to the right, thereby assisting our troops in the center. This movement could not be executed by General Schenck with his whole division, as he became briskly engaged with the enemy, who tried to turn our extreme left.
At this critical moment, when the enemy had almost outflanked us on both wings, and was preparing a new attack against our center, Major-General Kearny arrived on the field of battle, and deployed by the Sudley Springs road on our right, while General Reno's troops came to our support by the Gainesville turnpike. With the consent of General Reno I directed two regiments and one battery, under Brigadier-General Stevens, to take position on the right of General Schenck-the battery on an eminence in front and center of our line, where it did excellent work during the rest of the day, and where it relieved Captain Dilger's battery, which had held this position the whole morning. Three regiments were posted between General Milroy and General Schenck, and two others, with two mountain howitzers, were sent to the assistance of General Schurz. Scarcely were these troops in position when the contest began with renewed vigor and vehemence, the enemy attacking furiously along our whole line, from the extreme right