Sigel himself came upon the ground, and superintended the placing of a battery of the reserve artillery, in addition to the one of our brigade then engaged, and after some two or three hours' heavy firing the rebel batteries were silenced or withdrawn. Shortly after Bohlen's brigade, of Schurz' division, was sent over the river for some purpose unknown to me. They crossed the river near the left of our by wading the stream. The ford was deep and the banks of difficult ascent. After they had penetrated some distance into the country on the opposite, side of the river heavy firing was heard, and it presently became evident that our forces were falling back to the ford. By our direction my regiment was placed as quickly as possible in a situation to cover the ford and protect our troops in recrossing. The enemy advanced in heavy force, upon receiving our third fire retired, and all the troops on the south side passed safely before dark. In this skirmish we had out 1 man wounded. We remained that night at Freeman's Ford.
On the morning of the 23rd we received orders to march, and after some considerable delay we started on our return to the Springs. We arrived in the neighborhood of the Springs after sundown. A sharp skirmish occurred on our left, which was kept up until some time after dark. I was informed that it was Milroy's brigade that was engaged.
On the morning of the 24th my regiment and the Seventy-third Ohio, and four pieces of De Beck's battery, under the command of Colonel Smith, of the Seventy-third Ohio, was sent on a reconnaissance, and after advancing some 2 miles it was ascertained that the rebels had recrossed the river had some batteries in position on the opposite side. They were opened upon by our battery, but did not reply to us. Shortly afterward we were joined by the brigade, and marched to Waterloo Bridge and encamped for the night. We remained in the neighborhood of Waterloo Bridge all day of the 25th. Nothing of importance occurred except that all day large bodies of rebel troops could be seen passing north and west at a distance of some 4 or 5 miles from the river, and about sundown it was said that they had crossed above us in force.
About dark we received orders to march, and proceeded in the direction of Warrenton. The night was very dark, the roads miserable, and our progress very slow and exceedingly fatiguing to the men. We arrived at Warrenton about 2 o'clock on the morning of the 26th, remaining at that place during all that day and night, and started again in the morning of the 27th for Gainesville, which we reached about dark. When within about 4 miles of that place our advance guard came up with the rear of some rebel force. Skirmishing was kept up until we stopped for the night, and several prisoners were taken.
On the 28th we were marched toward Manassas. Several prisoners were taken along the road. When within a short distance of Manassas we were turned around and marched back toward Gainesville, and having proceeded in that direction for some distance we were again counter-marched and marched toward Manassas, and then turned to the left toward Bull Run. About sundown we came in sight of the rebel force, and after some skirmishing took up a position, and our batteries opened upon a rebel battery in the edge of the woods opposite. About dark a sharp engagement took place a mile or two to our left, between the rebels and our forces, under General King.
Early on the morning of the 29th we were in motion and advanced on the south side of the road in all, perhaps, 2 miles and occupied
19 R R-VOL XII, PT II