A Southern writer, in recounting the incidents of the battle of Bull Run, says:
Our regiment by this time had come in reach of the enemy’s cannon. The balls fell before and behind us, but no damage was done. We now threw our knapsacks away to engage in a hand-to-hand fight. We ran to the point at which the fire seemed to be most severe. Advancing in front of the cannon, we got within musket-shot of our enemy, and fell to the ground, having a slight mound to protect us. Had we been standing, scarcely one would have been left. Twice did the cannon-balls throw dirt upon me, and musket-balls whistled by the hundred within a few inches of my head. Several of our regiment (18th Virginia) were killed, but the exact number I know not. Young Hatchett was wounded, but not seriously, the ball entering his leg. Men would raise their heads a few inches from the ground to peep, and several times were shot in that position. Men fell on my right and left. We remained about ten minutes receiving the enemy’s fire, and were not allowed to return fire. The command to fire came at last. We rose and fired with deadly effect upon our foes. We rushed forward to the top of the hill and fired again; also a third time. Now, for the first time, the foe began to retire in a run, and in great disorder. I think that a great majority of the regiment upon which we fired were killed. No boasting,—God forbid! to him all praise is due. At our approach the enemy left an excellent rifled battery, manned by regulars, in our hands. They fought until all their horses were killed, and nearly every man. We were now left victors of the field, and started in pursuit of the foe. We followed them a mile or so, and were then brought back within a mile or so, and were then brought back within a mile of Manassas, marching at night a distance of six or seven miles. The fight lasted eight hours–from nine to five. I cannot describe the horrors of the fight. Noise and confusion of many kinds prevailed–the firing of cannon, the discharge of musketry, the whizzing of balls, the bursting of bombs, the roar of artillery, the tramp of horses, the advance of infantry, the shouts of the conquering, the groans of the dying, the shrieks of the wounded, large numbers of the dead lying upon the ground, the carrying of the wounded by scores, and all enveloped in a dark cloud of smoke,–all go to make one vast spectacle of horrors such as I never wish to see again, or hear. Many were the dead and wounded over which I was forced to pass, both of our men and of our foes. O, how I wanted to aid them, but could not! The fight was desperate. The enemy succeeded in carrying off hundreds of their dead, but left many behind. Our cavalry, who pursued them in the direction of Centreville, report the road strewn with dead and wounded.
Our enemies are not cowards. Many men were found with bayonets in them, some side by side, each with his bayonet in the other. Our enemy is said to have run generally when we advanced with the bayonet. Certainly this was the worst of the fight. Gen. Beauregard, who commanded in person, told us that he would depend principally upon the bayonet. Gen. B. cheered us as we advanced, and our loud cheers in return were said to have frightened the enemy.
Originally posted 2008-08-06 15:41:59.