Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/94

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88 Southern Historical Society Papers.

graves was rather depressing ; the trees were lopped and mangled by shot and perforated by minnie balls. The short, dry grass showing in very many spots a dark chocolate hue, spreading irregularly like a map, which the next day became a too familiar sight. We could not make anything out of the fight, beyond that here was the ford, and here they came down to cross in force. They were simply re- pulsed from the ford; there was no pursuit, the artillery remaining on the hills beyond; and it was agreed that here, any day now, we were to fight against a direct assault. The enemy's object, we supposed, was to get to Manassas Junction, murder every one there, and destroy buildings and stores.

The art of war was so simple and so well understood by all in those early days, that the opinions of high-up college graduates and suc- cessful lawyers were even sought for, and in all cases, I must do them justice to say, were given with the utmost freedom and liberality. Every man who had been in the Mexican war, or had been fighting abroad, was a colonel or a brigadier at once, and they swelled and swaggered around, dispensing willing information of tactics and grand strategy in the most profuse and generous way to an absorbent and listening crowd. The whole of Saturday, the 2Oth, did we lie in the pines, resting and surmising, greeting each new regiment as it arrived at all hours of the day and night, panting for the fight. Ques- tions asked were: "Had the fighting begun yet?" Are we too late?" " When was it to be? Let us get a good place where we can

kill every d d Yankee, and then go home." Not a sound or

shot disturbed the quiet of long Saturday, and we slept peacefully in the pines that night. As the next day (Sunday, the 2ist) broke we were jumped out of our lairs by the loudest gun I ever heard, ap- parently fired right at our heads, as we supposed, and from just over the bank of Bull Run, only a hundred yards distant; but it proved to be the signal gun from Centerville, four miles away, in the encamp- ment of General McDowell. At a double quick we were in line along the bank of the stream, momentarily expecting the enemy to appear and open on us, and thus we awaited until the sun got over the tops of the trees, when a mounted officer rode up, and after a hurried interview with Colonel Jackson, we were, to our surprise, wheeled to the rear, and at double-quick, over fields and through the woods, we went to the extreme left of our army.

It then turned out that at that day and hour General McDowell had decided to attack us on our left; and as General Beauregard had decided to attack the Federals on their left, so, had it not been dis-