Today in History:

99 Series I Volume II- Serial 2 - First Manassas


As the position of the pieces was under your own observation, it is only necessary to state that the Parrott gun and one howitzer were posted in the battery immediately on the right of the road leading to Hampton; that a howitzer was placed in the battery erected on the right beyond the ravine, through which a passway was made for the purpose of withdrawing the piece if necessary; a howitzer was posted near the bridge; the rifled howitzer was placed on the left of the road behind the right of a redoubt erected by the North Carolina regiment, and a howitzer was posted in the rear of the road leading from the Half-way House, a howitzer having been previously sent to the Half-way House under the command of Lieutenant Moseley.

Early in the action the howitzer in the battery on the right having been spiked by the breaking of the priming wire, was withdrawn from its position, and the infantry supporting it fell back upon the church; but it was subsequently replaced by the howitzer of Lieutenant Moseley, which arrived at later period of the action.

The ford on the left being threatened, the howitzer at the bridge was withdrawn and sent to than point, and the rifled howitzer was withdrawn from the left for the road and sent to assist in the protection of the rear. The same disposition was subsequently made for the howitzer at the main battery situated immediately on the right of the road .

The enemy came in sight on the road leading from hampton a few minutes before 9 o'clock a. m., and their advance guard halted at a house on the roadside about six hundred yards in front of our main battery. Fire, however, was not opened upon them for ten or fifteen minutes, when from the number of bayonets visible in the road we judged that a heavy column was within range. The action then commenced by a shot from the Parrott gun, aimed by myself, which struck the center of the road a short distance in front of their column, and probably did good execution in its ricochet. At no time could we see the bodies of the men in the column, and our fire was directed by their bayonets, their position being obscured buy the shade of the woods on their right, and two small houses on their, left and somewhat in advance of them. Our fire was immediately returned by a battery near the head of their column, but concealed by the woods and the houses so effectually, that we only ascertained its position by the flash h of the pieces. The fire was maintained on our side for some time by the five pieces posted in front of our position, but, as already stated one of them being spiked and another withdrawn to protect the ford early int he action, the fire was continued with three pieces, and at no time did we afterwards have more than three pieces playing upon the enemy. The fire on our part was deliberate, and was suspended whenever masses of the enemy were within range, and the execution was good, as I afterward ascertained by a personal inspection of the principal position of the enemy. The cannonade lasted with intervals of suspension from a few minutes before 9 o'clock a. m. until 1 1/2 o'clock p. m., and the fact that during this time but ninety eight shot were fired by us tends to show that the firing was not too rapid. The earthworks thrown up by the battalion were struck several times by the cannon-shot of the enemy, but no injury was sustained. They fired upon us with shot, shell, spherical case,canister, and grape from 6 and 12-pounders, at a distance for about six hundred yards, but the only injury received front heir artillery was the loss of one mule.

We found in front of our main battery, in and near the yard of the small house already mentioned, five killed and one mortally wounded by the fire of our artillery. We heard of two others killed at Cramdall's about a mile from us, and have reason to believe there were many