Thursday, July 21, 2011

12:30 pm: Reinforcing Henry Hill and the assault on Henry Hill

Matthew’s Hill
McDowell assumed Tyler had crossed the First Division at Stone Bridge, but couldn’t understand why he wasn’t making progress moving the Union line up Bull Run so that Henry Hill would be surrounded on three times. The answer, of course, was that Tyler had not crossed his whole division, only two of his three brigades, and the third was fruitlessly trying to find a down river ford that it could cross. And Tyler himself had quickly followed Sherman to the action and was now caught up in the scrum at the foot of Henry Hill.

Unaware of this McDowell sent a staffer to hurry Tyler up, then spurred his own horse to join Heintzelman down Sudley Road.

Henry Hill
Heintzelman’s division had been surprised, but was not discouraged and they were getting ready on the other side of Sudley Road to attack again.

Beauregard turned to Johnston and made a startling request – to leave the battlefield. After a hasty conversation, though, Johnston reluctantly agreed. Beauregard argued that the senior commander needed to arrange reinforcements and keep a battlefield-wide vision, while the junior could limit his focus to a specific sector.

Johnston first road to the closest brigade, that of Philip St. George Cocke. But Tyler’s negligence had unintentionally made it impossible for Cocke to go to Henry Hill without opening up the fords for the missing Northern brigade to cross. Johnston took a regiment, Eppa Hunton’s 8th Virginia, and directed it to Henry Hill, then took his staff to a nearby farmhouse called Portici to set up a headquarters.

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