War of the Rebellion: Serial 016 Page 0742 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

Search Civil War Official Records

without difficulty. General Trimble remarks that he admits that it was taken without difficulty so far as my executions contributed to its capture. I certainly could not have participated more than I did without officiously interposing to assist Brigadier-General Trimble to command two regiments of his brigade in an enterprise attended with so little difficulty. I commanded in the capture of Manassas quite as much as either General Jackson or General Lee would have done had either been present.

That Colonel Flournoy did not enter the place until two or two hours and a half after its capture may have been he may have been ordered elsewhere previously. In fact, other regiments did not get in until late the next day. Does that signify that Wickham with his regiment was not in the right place and performed the important part assigned him, as stated so circumstantially by him?

General Trimble says I did not reach the place until 7 or 8 o'clock. I was in plain view all the time, and rode through, around, and all about the place soon after its capture. (See Dr. Eliason's statement.) General Trimble is mistaken. I can account for it, however, by the fact that I did not find him until probably that hour, for I looked and inquired for him, but could not find him. I took direction of affairs, I gave orders. I know they were obeyed by infantry as well as cavalry. I ordered details to man the enemy's guns; put Major Terrill, of General Robertson's staff, in charge of the guns; he extemporized lanyards; fired upon the enemy in accordance with my orders. I led a regiment or battalion myself during the morning to an exposed redoubt on the right, which the enemy was threatening to seize, so as to flank and enfilade the place. I did innumerable acts, which, if not in command, I never would have dreamed of doing, and as long as my authority was unquestioned I deemed it entirely unnecessary to notify General Trimble and others, whom I supposed already cognizant of the fact that I was in command; and even if General Jackson had not specially intrusted me with this command, as a major-general on the spot I was entitled to it and would have assumed it as a matter of course, in accordance with the Articles of War; and never until a few days ago did I conceive that any one claimed to be in command by myself. General Trimble lays stress on my idea of the distance of the enemy's works from where he overtook me. A dark night, what is more natural than to mistake the degree of proximity of lights in the distance? They were the lights of Manassas. According to Dr. Eliason the artillery had reached us before General Trimble's arrival, and the report as well as other noises gave strength to the conviction that we were very near the place. We had captured a picket much farther out, and I desired to convey the idea that we were very near the main body; whether it was posted as grand guard, reserve, or entrenched garrison is not so material in that statement.

In the face of General Trimble's positive denial of sending me such a message referred to, "that he would prefer waiting until daylight," or anything like it, while my recollection is clear that I did receive such a message, and received it as coming from General Trimble, yet, as he is so positive to not having sent it or anything like it, I feel bound to believe that either the message was misrepresented or made up by the messenger, or that it was a message received from General Robertson, whose sharpshooters had been previously deployed. When matters follow each other so closely it is difficult in a report written some time after to fix the order of time, but General Trimble does the cavalry injustice in his report. There seems to be a growing tendency to abuse and underrate the services of that arm of service by a few officers