Numbers 29. Report of Brigadier General Abner Doubleday, U. S. Army, commanding Second Brigade, of engagement near Gainesville and battles of Groveton and Bull Run.
HDQRS. FIRST DIVISION, FIRST ARMY CORPS,
Near Purcellville, Va., November 2, 1862.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that on Thursday, August 28, about 5.30 p.m., while my brigade was marching in rear of Gibbon's brigade, on the road from Gainesville to Centreville, a well directed and heavy fire opened upon us at very short range from a battery on a hill to the north of us. Sheltering my men as much as possible behind a small rise of ground in the road, I directed them to halt and await orders. Receiving none, and unable to obtain them I almost immediately sent two regiments of my brigade-the Fifty-sixth Pennsylvania, under Colonel S. A. Meredith, and the Seventy-sixth New York, under Colonel W. P. Wainwright-to aid General Gibbon, who had pushed his whole brigade forward through a piece of woods to attack the battery, under the impression that it was merely supported by cavalry. General Gibbon was received with a tremendous fire from a large army in position, under Jackson, Ewell, and Taliaferro. Knowing he would be overpowered if not succored, I immediately complied with his earnest request and sent him the two regiments referred to, leaving myself but one regiment in reserve.
Campbell's battery, attached to Gibbon's brigade, was posted on the right, but, having no infantry support, was unable to open fire. I was thus compelled to send my only remaining regiment, the Ninety-fifth New York, under Lieutenant-Colonel Post, as a support to the battery. The battle lasted until the approach of night, when the enemy ceased to fire, and the contest ended. Throughout the whole action my men held their ground unflinchingly, and in this their maiden fight covered themselves with glory. It will be seen from the inclosed tabular statement that our loss in killed, wounded, and prisoners was nearly one-half of our force engaged.
At 1 a.m. on the 29th the division moved on the road to Manassas Junction, by order of General King, reaching the Junction at 7 a.m., having made a march of abut 8 miles. After a short rest, which scarcely availed to refresh our weary and battle-worn soldiers, my brigade, together with the rest of the division, returned on the Centreville road again to a point about a mile east of the battle-field of the night before.
Here Jackson's army was drawn up to dispute the passage to Washington. King's division was posted on the left of General McDowell's line of battle. We remained in this position for tow or three hours when an order came for Hatch's and my brigades to attack the enemy's right, it being represented that his whole line was in great confusion, and that it was only necessary for us to move forward to render his rout complete and capture a large number of fugitives. Under this impression we advanced, to the attack at the double-quick step, my brigade leading the way, accompanied by Captain Gerrish's battery. As we gained the crest of a hill the battery opened on the enemy, but without much effect, owing to their being well sheltered. I have learned subsequently, from prisoners taken in the action, that we did not encounter Jackson's force at all. It was Longstreet's division,
24 R R-VOL XII, PT II