Thursday, July 21, 2011


Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard
(Blog athor's collection)

 [Editor's note: Here are some of the first news reports after the battle on July 21, 1861. The report that President Davis commanded the center of the line was mistaken. He arrived after the battle. The report that Brig. Gen. Kirby Smith was killed was a mistake. He was wounded and recovered.]

 The Richmond Daily Dispatch
July 22, 1861

The great victory.

     We have the inexpressible satisfaction of announcing this morning another victory of our arms; a decisive victory after the most hotly contested and most important battle ever fought on the American continent. The numbers engaged on each side was far beyond precedent in American history; and, fought as the battle was, under the gaze of two capitals of two powerful Confederacies, it possessed an interest and significance such as has attached to few battles ever before fought.
      It is not ascertained how many of the enemy were actually engaged; though the number could not have been much less than seventy-five thousand. The number actually engaged on our own side was nearly fifty thousand.--The skirmishing is said to have begun as early as four o'clockyesterday morning; the heavy fighting between eight and nine o'clock. It continued all day with unabated vigor.--Night closed upon the scene with the enemy in full retreat, hotly pursued by our gallant men.
     Our left was commanded by the brave Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, who had arrived on the field on the day before from Winchester with twenty thousand men. Patterson had, on Monday, marched down from Martinsburg to within a few miles of the entrenchments at Winchester, and had, on Wednesday, suddenly fallen back across the Potomac. Johnston at once determined to reinforce Beauregard, having no doubt that Patterson had been ordered to join Mcdowell. The result proved the correctness of this surmise, for Patterson's column constituted a part of the enemy's fighting force on yesterday.
     The centre of our line was commanded by President Davis in person; the left by the glorious Beauregard.President Davis, with the energy and gallantry that belongs to his character, had no sooner delivered his Message to Congress in this city on Saturday, than he commenced his arrangements for sharing the fate of our army in the field. He accordingly left this city early yesterday morning, and arrived in time to take a decisive part in the battle.
     The heaviest onset of the enemy was made upon our left, under Gen. Johnston, and it was this division that suffered the heaviest loss. --It continued to be pressed during the whole of the day, until about four o'clock in the afternoon, when President Davis advanced his centre, disengaged a portion of the enemy's forces and decided the fortune of the day.
     The day is ours; but the victory, though glorious, has cost us dearly. Some of the casualties are stated in the telegraphic column. While we rejoice over the public success, we have to mourn the loss of some of the most gallant spirits and most valuable men of whom the South could boast. The events of to-day will be looked for with the deepest interest.

Terrific fight at Manassas!

Victory again Perches on our banner.
     Yesterday was a day long to be remembered in the annals of Richmond. During the whole afternoon groups could be seen gathered around the newspaper offices and the hotels, anxiously inquiring whether any news had been received from the scene of expected conflict: Towards the hour at which the Central cars generally arrived, crowds could be seen wending their way to the depot, expecting that news would be received from passengers from the neighborhood of the engagement.
     On inquiry, we a certained that when the cars left Manassas, (7 o'clock, A. M.,) heavy firing was heard in the vicinity of Bull's Run, about three miles from that place, and where the battle of Thursday occurred. Our informant could not distinguish anything like the report of cannon, and therefore concluded the fight was confined principally to skirmishers. Before the train reached this city, however, information had reached them at Gordonsville that the engagement had become general, and that a terrific battle was progressing.
     Private dispatches of the most reliable character were received at a late hour in the evening, informing us that the attack was made by our forces about four o'clock, in consequence of an attempt of the enemy to throw up breastworks under the disguise of burying their lead. In the general engagement President Davis led the centre, Gen. Beauregard the right wing, and Gen. Johnston the left wing of our army.
     The Lincoln army was completely routed. Hampton's Legion suffered considerable loss.
     Sherman's celebrated Battery of Light Artillery was taken by our troops.
     The fight was very severe and fatal on both sides. Among the prominent officers who are reported to have been killed are Col. Bartow, of Georgia; Gen. Bee, of South Carolina, Gen. Kirby Smith, and Col. Johnson, of the Hampton Legion.
     The following dispatch was received by Mrs. President Davis late last evening:
     "We have won a glorious but dear bought victory — the night closed with the enemy in full fight, pursued by our troops."
"Jeff. Davis."

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