Tuesday, August 28, 2012

9pm: Pope changes plan again, will take Jackson at Brawner's Farm


East of the Lower Fords

At his headquarters, commanding general of the Army of Virginia John Pope received a report from one of McDowell’s staffers who had spent the evening with Rufus King of the action of the division around Brawner’s Farm. Having spent most of the month of August a step behind Stonewall Jackson, Pope was delighted by news of the clash. “The game is in our hands,” he proclaimed. “I do not see how it is possible for Jackson to escape without very heavy loss.”

Forgetting that escaping without very heavy loss was the very thing that Jackson did best, Pope told the staff officer to return to King and order him to hold his division there, then set to work writing out orders for the rest of his scattered forces.


The firing had mostly died down, with only the pop of pickets’ guns from time to time. The sounds of the inferno were now replaced by the sobs and groans of the wounded, calling out for their friends to rescue them, or, in the case of those near death, calling for loved ones or God. Both sides did their best to recover the wounded, but with so much uncertainty between the sides a flag of truce was impossible, and would have likely been denied anyway.

Jubal Early, commanding one of Ewell’s brigades not engaged in the battle, set off with Ewell’s friend and chief of staff Campbell Brown on a particular mission. When the messengers from Hill’s two brigades had arrived and gone looking for orders it had driven home that the general was missing. Early had found Brown and the two of them retraced Ewell’s last known whereabouts.

Eventually, they located him in the ravine, in severe pain and bleeding badly. The old soldier begged the two of them to amputate his leg on the spot, he had seen plenty of wounds and swore this one was fatal, but the ornery Early argued his hard-headed commander back to headquarters, where Brown arranged for his evacuation to a nearby farmhouse, and for Lawton to take over command of the division. In the morning, Jackson’s personal surgeon, Hunter McGuire, would amputate Ewell’s leg.

Thoroughfare Gap

The Gap secured, Robert E. Lee and Pete Longstreet had retired to bed long before. But Neighbor Jones remained awake and planning an assault with his division on Ricketts’ cannon, still bombarding his men. He must have been relieved when the firing stopped and it was evident the Northerners had truly retreated, since the narrow Gap created a wonderful target for artillery, and prevented him from setting up any of his own. He sent a message to the following division that they could recall their men who had climbed the mountain, and instead set to work planning a camp for his exhausted men on the east side of the Gap.

To the south, Cadmus Wilcox was nearing Hopewell Gap. Unsure how large a force had been defending the passes to the east side of Bull Run Mountain, he would slowly reconnoiter before determining that it was completely clear and moving the division to the east side for the night.

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