Thursday, July 21, 2011

5:00 pm: Bridge down on Cub Run, mass panic

Blackburn Ford
The offensive against Richardson was resumed, this time with only Longstreet and Bonham. Richardson offered no resistance, following the army wide order to retreat. Longstreet sent word back to Johnston to send them reinforcements as fast as he could, so they could reach Centreville before the bulk of McDowell’s army and capture them.

Sudley Ford
One of or both of Porter and Burnside commanded the last troops over Sudley Ford, trying to stave off J.E.B. Stuart’s cavalry. It’s widely agreed that the last unit over the ford was the battalion of regulars from Porter’s brigade, but both commanders claimed to have been leading them.

Regardless, the real delay for Stuart was the huge number of prisoners he had captured that bogged down his cavalry.

Warrenton Turnpike
With all his concern for clearing the bridge, Bayard had not made plans to blow it up to stop the Confederate pursuit. Porter Alexander witnessed the chaos as Northern soldiers, officers, and VIP civilians mixed together in flight.
As I got near the head of the rear regiment I saw a very fine looking sergeant major come out of the woods on the left with a small man in citizen’s dress & take him before the colonel at the head of the regiment… as I approached… he had drawn his revolver and was trying to shoot the little citizen who was dodging behind the big sergeant major as… [the colonel was] swearing with a fluency that would have been creditable to a wagon master. “You s. of a b.! [sic] You came to see the fun did you? God damn your dirty soul! I’ll show you.”
Alexander stepped in and reminded the colonel of Beauregard’s orders not to shoot prisoner, to which the irate man replied that his prisoner was a member of Congress, come to watch the battle. The crisis was averted only when the colonel gave up his prey to Alexander upon learning that there might be a senator nearby.

Fry later insisted that the retreat had not been disorganized up to that point:
There was no panic, in the ordinary meaning of the word, until the retiring soldiers, guns, wagons, congressmen, and carriages were fired upon, on the road east of Bull Run. Then the panic began, and the bridge over Cub Run being rendered impassable for vehicles by a wagon that was upset upon it, utter confusion set in: pleasure-carriages, gun-carriages, and ammunition wagons which could not be put across the Run were abandoned and blocked the way, and stragglers broke and threw aside their muskets and cut horses from then- harness and rode off upon them.
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1 comment:

  1. dude, it's not over yet?! What slow agony war is.