War of the Rebellion: Serial 016 Page 0310 OPERATIONS IN N.VA., W.VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

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Permit me to say also, in conclusion, that of the colonel commanding the brigade and of our gallant division general we are, one and all, justly and highly proud; and for their attention and personal example through all the scenes of those eventful days, from first to last, profoundly grateful.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Sixty-first Ohio.


Commanding First Brigade, Third Division.

No. 21. Report of Major Franz Blessing, Seventy-fourth Pennsylvania Infantry, of the battle of Groveton and Bull Run.


The regiment reached the heights of Manassas Plains on the 28th of August toward evening. I was ordered to reconnoiter the grounds in a direction east, but found no enemy. The skirmishers advanced through thin woods on to Young's Branch, where they halted as pickets for the night, the regiment 500 paces in their rear. At 5 o'clock a.m. August 29 we left this place, meeting our brigade, commanded by Colonel A. Schimmelfennig, at 6 o'clock. After a rest of about fifteen minutes the regiment was ordered to take its position on the extreme right of the army corps then advancing. Under cover of skirmishers in the front and right flank we advanced in quick-time over an open field until we arrived at the center of the woods, where in an opening we halted. The skirmishers met the skirmishing line of the enemy, opened fire, and drove them from the woods. Forced by the heavy artillery fire of the enemy we changed several times our positions. From the right flank came the report that a strong column was advancing, but it was impossible to recognize whether friend or foe. It was afterward ascertained to be General Kearny's corps for our relief. The regiment was then ordered to the left, where it took its position in the general battle line, after advancing about 400 yards under the heavy fire of the enemy, driving the latter back and out of his positions; but by the withdrawing of a regiment stationed on the left of the Seventy-fourth the enemy took advantage, and, outflanking us, we were forced back about 100 yards. Forming again in column for attack the regiment advanced in quick-time toward the enemy, who gave way until he arrived at the other side of the railroad dam. Here again flanked by the enemy, and under a galling fire of grape-shot and canister, the regiment had to leave its position, which it did by making a flank movement to the left, forcing the enemy to withdraw from the woods. We advanced over our former position, capturing an ambulance with two wounded officers, to the seam of the woods. At this point a heavy shower of grape-shot and canister pouring into us, we withdrew to the railroad dam. After resting here for about thirty minutes we were ordered by General Schurz to support a battery on the extreme right, keeping in that position till the battery left. We then again joined our brigade. Wearied and exhausted, we camped for the night on the same ground the enemy held the night previous.