a large portion of my brigade engaged by this force in their front of the rebel their number, backed by batteries of artillery at several points opposite our front, and by skirmishers advanced in front of our lines, he meanwhile marched his main column of 25,000 or 30,000 men by Sudley's Mill to take the whole position in flank and rear. I shall endeavor briefly to show in what manner he was met by my command both in our first position and subsequent movements.
The enemy having taken up his position in our front early in the morning, fired his first gun about 5.30 a. m. This seemed to be a signal gun, as it was answered from Mitchell's Ford, four miles below, and where also on that day he made an attack, and this gun might also have been a signal to the column marching by Sudley's Mill on our left. The batteries in our front along Bull Run continued firing on Stone Bridge, on Lewis' house, and on our position at Lewis' Ford until a late hour in the day. The battery in front of Lewis' Ford was responded to with marked effect by Captain Latham's first section, aided by the section of Rogers' bd by lieutenant Heaton, skirmishers occasionally making their appearance, emerging from the dense growth of pines covering the main body of the enemy. Whilst this was going on in our front the enemy, having arrived to threaten Major Evans' left flank, with overwhelming numbers of his main column marched by Sudley's Mill. The major promptly and heroically turned to meet him with his entire force, having necessarily to abandon the former front of his position at Stone Bridge. Never perhaps in the history of modern warfare was there so unequal a contest as now ensued. With his small but heroic numbers Major Evans advanced to fight the head of a column of 25,000 men, amongst whichever some of the best regiments of the Federal army, strengthened by numerous batteries of well appointed artillery of the most modern improved kind. For more than an hour this contest was maintained without assistance, the other troops of my command being held to their positions by the strong demonstrations in their front, which positions, if they had been abandoned at this stage of the battle, would have opened the way to an advance of the enemy also on this side, and thus inevitably have caused us the loss of the day. As soon, however, as I perceived the first movement of Major Evans I dispatched the reserved section of Rogers' battery at full speed to cover the approaches to the Stone Bridge. This section got into position in good time to fire into a column of the enemy attempting to pass the Stone Bridge and drove it back. In the meanwhile General Bee and Colonel Bartow, the first to come up to our support, the general reporting to me on Lewis' hill, were informed by me of the progress of the battle on major Evans' left, and those gallant commanders, without halting their commands, marched directly to the scene of action and soon commenced their glorious part in the battle. Colonel Hampton with his legion came next. To him, too, I indicated the progress of events, and he promptly marched with his command to the battle. followed next with his brigade, and from time to time other brigades pushed on as they arrived to the deadly conflict. About this time, the contest having become very close and warm and the enemy preparing to gain ground forward and also on our flank, and a stream of wounded men during through the gorge of Young's Branch near the command of Colonel William Smith (as subsequently reported by Captain Harris, of the Engineers, then