Battle of Bull Run


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Every movement of the Federal forces was revealed by Beauregard, watching them from the slope two or three miles west, by the clouds of dust that rose over their line of march; and regiment after regiment was hurried northward by him to meet the imminent shock. No strength was wasted by him upon, and scarcely any notice taken of, the feint on his right; but when Burnside's brigade, after crossing at Sudley, had marched a mile through woods down the road on the right of Bull Run, and come out into a clear and cultivated country, stretching thence over a mile of rolling fields down to the Warrenton turnpike, he was vigorously opened upon by artillery from the woods in his front and, as he pressed on, by infantry also. Continuing to advance, fighting, followed and supported by Hunter's entire division, which was soon joined on its left by Heintzelman's, which had crossed the stream a little later and farther down, the attacking column reached and crossed the Warrenton road from Centerville by the Stone Bridge, giving a hand to William T. Sherman's brigade of Tyler's division, and all but clearing this road of the enemy's batteries and regiments, which here resisted our efforts, under the immediate command of General Joseph E. Johnston.

Here Simon G. Griffin's battery, which, with James B. Ricketts's, had done the most effective fighting throughout, was charged with effect by a Confederate regiment, which was enabled to approach it by a mistake of the Federal officers, who supposed it one of their own. Three different attacks were repulsed with slaughter, and the battery remained in our hands, though all its horses were killed. At 3 P.M. the enemy had been driven a mile and a half, and were nearly out of sight, abandoning the Warrenton road entirely to the victorious troops.

General Tyler, on hearing the guns of Hunter on the right, had pushed Sherman's and soon afterward Keyes's brigade over the Run to assail the enemy in his front, driving them back after a severe struggle, and steadily advancing until checked by a heavy fire of artillery from batteries on the heights above the road, supported by a brigade of infantry strongly posted behind breastworks. A gallant charge by the Second Maine and Third Connecticut temporarily carried the buildings behind which the enemy's guns were sheltered; but the breastworks were too strong, and our men, recoiling from their fire, deflected to the left, moving down the Run under the shelter of the bluff, covering the efforts of Captain Alexander's pioneers to remove the heavy abatis whereby the enemy had obstructed the road up from the Stone Bridge. This at length had been effected; and Schenck's brigade and Ayres's battery, of Tyler's division, were on the point of crossing the Run to aid in completing the Federal triumph.

But the Confederates, at first outnumbered at the point of actual collision, had been receiving reinforcements nearly all day; and at this critical moment General Kirby Smith, who that morning had left Piedmont, fifteen miles distant, with the remaining brigade of General Johnston's army, appeared on the field.

Cheer after cheer burst from the Confederate hosts, but now so downcast, as this timely reinforcement rushed to the front of the battle. Smith almost instantly fell from his horse, wounded; but the command of his brigade was promptly assumed by Colonel Arnold Elzey, who pressed forward, backed by the whole reassured and exultant Confederate host, who felt the day was won.

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“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”
Ephesians 2:8-9