Page:Memoirs of Henry Villard, volume 1.djvu/211

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Blackburn's Ford and Bull Run.—1861

THE advance of the army commenced on July 16. It took so much time to get the several divisions under way from their encampments in the fortifications along Arlington Heights and at Alexandria that only a few miles were accomplished that day. As the headquarters were not to move until the next day, I joined General Tyler and staff, commanding the First Division, which had the lead and had started from near the Georgetown bridge. Coming up with the rear regiment, I had to pass all the troops of the division, as they were following the same road. In passing the brigade commanders and staffs, I rode with them for a time for a chat. Thus I had a short talk with Colonel W. T. Sherman, of the regular army, the future army commander, who had under him the so-called Irish brigade, formed of the Irish New York City regiments. I knew from visits at Fort Corcoran, where the Colonel had had his brigade headquarters, that he was not very proud of his command, which hardly contained a single competent officer, and both the rank and file of which it was especially difficult to discipline properly. But the prospect of active service seemed to have put him into rather good humor. In passing the Sixty-ninth New York regiment, I came up with Captain Thomas Francis Meagher, whose Zouave company formed part of it. He was mounted, but wore a plain undress uniform instead of the gorgeous one already described. As I approached him, I noticed that he was resting his right hand with a cocked revolver on his hip. “Well, Captain,” I sang out to him, “you are all ready for the fray?” “Yes,” he re-