Topographical description of the position of my command and of the battle- field.
Beginning near our left at Stone Bridge, over which passes the turnpike road from Alexandria to Warrenton, a flat of some 400 or 500 yards wide extends west of the bridge on either side of the turnpike back to the hills, which rise with some abruptness from the flat to the height of thirty to sixty feet. A dense forest of oaks at one time masked the bridge from view looking from these hills, but the trees had been felled to open the view for firing upon the enemy as he should approach the bridge, and the felled timber served to obstruct his passage over the flat except by the defile of the bridge and road, wich last had been only partially obstructed near the foot of the hill. Westward of the crest overlooking the bridge, and in the direction of our left, rear, and right about the Stone Bridge, the country is broken into hill and valley, and this uneven surface covered by bodies of original forest, copses of pine, interspersed with hedges and fences, offering a field of uneven and diversified surface, all of which was availed of to the utmost by the skill and bravery of our officers and men who met and fought the enemy on that field. From a short distance below the Stone Bridge toward the right of my position, and throughout the entire extent of Lewis' farm (Portici), the hills of Bull Run recede from the stream, of which the banks are generally low, and a long, open plain slopes from the run up to Lewis' house and to the right and left throughout my entire position in that direction. At Lewis' Ford a road crosses Bull Run leading from the turnpike about half a mile in advance of Stone Bridge, diagonally toward and immediately in front of Lewis' house, through a dense thicket of old- field pines extending nearly to the ford, and from that ford to the house half a mile distant over a gentle, open, or unwooded slope from the creek, rising almost uniformly to the house, which stands upon an eminence commanding a view of the surrounding country, the open inclined plane of the farm itself, the course of Bull Run, of the fords crossing the same, of the position of Stone Bridge, as also many of the enemy's approaches through the woods on the opposite side of the creek. On our extreme right of Lewis' farm, three- quarters of a mile below Lewis' Ford, is Ball's Ford, where the old public road passing from Alexandria to Warenton crosses Bull Run, a trace of which road is still distinct and the road quite passable, although disused for public purposes since the construction of the turnpike passing over the Stone Bridge. To our right of this old road on the western side of Bull Run a heavy forest of oak extends from the creek backward nearly to the crest of the hill southward of Lewis' house. The bank of the creek along Lewis' farm is generally low and easy to be passed, and bordering as it does the extensive open inclined place above described, rendered this part of the position one without military strength and everywhere open to the attack of an enterprising enemy except at or near Lewis' Ford, where for a few hundred yards on either side a precipitous bank of some twenty feet rises from the water of the creek and commands the flat or level on the opposite side of the creek. At Ball's Ford the creek bank on our side is flat and wholly untenable for abut 500 yards above in the direction of Lewis' Ford, whilst a wooded eminence rising to an elevation of from sixty to seventy feet on the eastern or enemy's side of the creek and stretching from opposite that ford the whole length of Lewis' farm in the direction of Stone Bridge, thus giving the enemy, if in possession of those heights with his artillery, the absolute command of the entire plain of Lewis' farm in every direction as far back as the crest of the hill upon which the house is situated