Monday, July 18, 2016

HISTORY AS IT HAPPENED -- The Battle of Blackburn's Ford, Va., July 18, 1861

Volunteer with the 11th Va. Infantry
(Liljenquist Family Collection, Library
of Congress)
[The Richmond Daily Dispatch, July 19, 1861]
Glorious News.
Grand battle at Manassas.
Confederates Victorious.
     We have the infinite pleasure of announcing a great victory at Manassas yesterday. The enemy having occupied Fairfax the day before, and our advanced post at that place having fallen back to Bull's Run, the former pushed on to the latter place at 4 o'clock yesterday morning, when the ball opened. The fight soon became general, and extended throughout our lines.
     We are unable to give details. The news is however, that the battle lasted several hours, and that our gallant soldiers repulsed the enemy at all points with great slaughter. At latest accounts, the Federalists were in full retreat towards Alexandria.
     It is said that the South Carolinians and Virginians who occupied the advance position suffered severely.
     The New Orleans Washington Artillery are reported to have literally mowed the enemy down with their well-directed fire.
    The heroic Beauregard was in command.
     Under our telegraphic head will be found a dispatch from Manassas giving some details. The news which appears above is similar to that received by the Confederate authorities from officers who participated in the engagement.

First Virginia Regiment
(Va. Nat'l. Guard photo)

[The Richmond Daily Dispatch, July 20, 1861]
The fight at Manassas!
brilliant Victory!
the enemy Complete'y Routed.
from 1,000 to 1,500 Federal troops killed!
heroic conduct of our troops.
Partial list of killed and wounded on our side.
the Alexandria Riflemen.
&c., &c., &c.,
[special correspondence of the Dispatch.]
Manassas Junction, July 18-- 10 P. M.
     Victory perches upon our banners. The army of the Potomac, under the command of General Beauregard, gave battle to the enemy to-day, at Bull's Run, four miles from Manassas Junction, in a Northwest direction, and three miles to the left of the Alexandria Rail-Road. The enemy attempted to cross the ford of several points in great numbers, but were repulsed by our brave and determined troops three times, with heavy loss on the enemy's side. The enemy retreated about five o'clock in the afternoon in confusion, two of our regiments pursuing them. A large number of them have been taken prisoners. On our side, the casualties are few.
      Yesterday the enemy appeared in force at Fairfax Court House, when, after exchanging a few shots with them, our troops retreated to Roll's Run, General Beauregard preferring to give them battle there. The General was hurriedly sent for and quickly came to the scene of action, when he ordered the retreat, which has proved to be a brilliant strategic movement. At first our troops were much displeased, believing the retreat had been ordered by some junior officer, but when they learned that the order emanated from their General-in-Chief, they were perfectly satisfied, having in him unbounded confidence. The regiments engaged in this brilliant and successful battle were the First Virginia, the Seventeenth (Alexandria) Virginia, the Mississippi and the Louisiana.
     All of our men behaved with the utmost ruggedness  and fought like the disciplined soldiers of a Napoleon. It would be invidious to single out the troops from any particular State as having exhibited qualities not found in all. The conduct of our gallant little army (never before under fire,) on this occasion surpasses all praise. For steadiness under a most galling fire, indifference to their peril, good order and precision of aim, history may be ransacked in vain for a parallel. The enemy out numbered them in the proportion of three to one. The Washington Artillery, of New Orleans, were at an early stage of the battle given all opportunity of displaying their high state of efficiency and marksmanship, and they abundantly justified the reputation of the battalion. An eye-witness says at every fire they made a wide gap in the envoy's ranks.
      The First Virginia Regiment, (Col. Moore's,) bared the brunt of the action, the killed and wounded on our side being chiefly in that Regiment, as I have already informed you per telegraph. Col. Moore himself was wounded slightly soon after the battle commenced When being unable to continue at the head of his men, the command devolved upon Lieut. Col. Fry, aided by Major Skinner and Adjutant Mitchell, who inform me that the bullets of the enemy came like bail. He saw eleven of his men wounded at one volley.-- Capt. James K. Lee, company B., of same regiment, was mortally wounded. While I write, he is still in life, but not expected to survive the morning.
The following are all members of Colonel Moore's Regiment:
Lieut. H. H. Miles was mortally wounded.
Lieut. W. W. Harris, slightly wounded.
Capt. W. J. Allen, slightly wounded.
Private Reilly, Company E, mortally wounded.
Private Whitaker, Company C, mortally wounded.
Private Diaconte, Company K, instantly killed.
Private Wilkinson, Company G, instantly killed.
Private Mallory, Company C, instantly killed.
Private Allen, Company B, probably killed Sergeant Lumpkins, Company B, hand not off
Lieut. English, Company C, slightly wounded.
     I have not yet been able to learn the killed and wounded in other Regiments. The enemy is variously reported to have lost from five to fifteen hundred--the former probably being nearest the truth. Not having been on the field. I am unable to describe the ground, but am informed the enemy were strongly posted with numerous heavy guns on the embankment which slopes down to the ford, while our troops were in the hollow disputing their advance to the other side.
     It has been stated that the enemy threw chain shot and fired upon our hospital while the yellow flag, which secures immunity in civilized nations, was flying. General Beauregard had a narrow escape, a ball having passed through the kitchen of a house where he was partaking of dinner. I need not say the General has displayed qualities of the highest order as a military commander, with, perhaps, the pardonable exception of indifference to his own life, now so valuable to the Confederacy. He exhibited great coolness during the engagement, and was in all parts of the field.
    The Alexandria Riflemen are said to have particularly distinguished themselves, having crossed the ford in the face of a terrific fire from the enemy's artillery, and fought hand to hand with the Yankee hirelings.
     Capt. Dulany, of the Fairfax Riflemen, was seriously wounded. Lieut. Javins, of the Mount Vernon Guard, of Alexandria, was also seriously wounded. Wm. Sangster, of the Alexandria Riflemen, was killed. One of the enemy's Colonels was killed by a squad of Col. Kershaw's 2d South Carolina Regiment, his horse shot, and $700 in gold found upon his person.
     The enemy will doubtless return to-morrow with reinforcements, being exasperated by their humiliating defeat.
     I shall probably be able to ascertain additional particulars when the official reports come in. D. G. D.
[The reader is referred to the telegraph column for special intelligence from Manassas]

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