War of the Rebellion: Serial 016 Page 0403 Chapter XXIV. CAMPAIGN IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA.

Search Civil War Official Records

Alexandria) at about 6 a.m. and marched to about a mile beyond Fairfax Court-House before halting, at which place we stopped until 4 p.m. Our men here took their dinner, and again started at the hour above, without having halted but once or twice to rest the men, where we arrived at about 10 p.m. The water at Centreville was so bad, on account of dead horses being thrown into it, that we could not halt there, and consequently had to march on to Bull Run before reaching good water. There we learned that a party of guerrillas were committing depredations at Manassas.

The baggage and supply train of General Banks' division was encamped at Bull Run. We saw these safely upon the road and halted to rest our men, who made this forced march of 16 miles without eating but once, and again started in about an hour toward Manassas, having left a guard of 150 or 200 men to guard the train. We marched slowly along, having thrown out our skirmishers in the advance on the flank and in the rear, and arrived at Manassas at about daybreak. We immediately formed our line of battle and marched forward a little past daybreak, and close to the house formerly occupied as General McDowell's headquarters. Our skirmishers engaged the enemy's cavalry, which were posted to the rear of this building, supported by a small battalion of infantry. At the first volley the rebels retreated back to the rear of the house, where they were protected by a rise of ground. Five horses fully equipped, riderless, were soon seen galloping across the hills, and it is supposed that the riders were killed by the volley.

Previous or just about the time of our marching from Bull Run Bridge to Manassas, Captain Von Puttkammer, of the Eleventh New York Battery, overtook us, and reported that he had lost his battery with the exception of two pieces, and all his men killed, wounded, on prisoners, and that the section of artillery of the First New York Artillery, Battery C, under command of Lieutenant James, was captured by the rebels. This led us to suppose that the enemy was in force, and consequently our slow and careful march. Colonel Waagner immediately ordered Captain Von Puttkammer to collect what men he could, and prepare his two remaining pieces and follow the regiment, and just came up as our skirmishers engaged the enemy's cavalry. We immediately opened fire upon them in the rear of this house. The explosion and effect of the first shell caused a decidedly hurried movement among them toward the woods, regardless of order, and must have caused some execution among them, as a number of riderless horses were seen flying in every direction. The wood was then shelled, and the enemy forced back beyond the range of our guns, and also kept falling back as we advanced.

At about 10 o'clock a.m. a demonstration was made by their infantry in force upon our left. Our line of battle we immediately formed in that direction to meet it. One of the pieces was also moved to the left flank. Our pieces both on the right and left now shelled them with severe loss. At this time they opened fire upon us from every fort in the vicinity, as well as from the house before mentioned. Our force being too inadequate to contend with such a force as was now shown by them, a retreat was sounded and effected in good order. Their fire was very accurate, and it is a miracle that more were not killed and wounded than were. Our casualties were about 3 wounded and a prisoner who was taken killed.* The retreat was made in a body

---------------

*See revised statement, p. 257.

---------------