Observations on or from the Battle of Bull Run

Josiah Marshall
Image of unknown
man used for John
Beauchamp Jones.
Image of unknown
woman used for
“refugee” Judith
White McQuire.
Joseph Howland
Horatio Nelson Taft
William Howard Russell

Seven of the writers that I am including at Daily Observations from The Civil War wrote diary entries or letters on July 21, 1861 that related to the battle near Manassas Junction and/or the aftermath.  The following are excerpts from their writings of the day:

Josiah Marshall Favill – “In the order prescribed by the regulations, for a force feeling the enemy preparatory to an attack, we marched forward, passing over the open field and into a piece of full grown timber, apparently the slope of a considerable hill. As we slowly ascended the rising ground, suddenly a loud screeching noise overhead sent more than half the regiment pell mell the other side of a fence that ran along the road side. Here we crouched down flat on our bellies, our hearts in our mouths..,” – Diary of a Young Officer.

John Beauchamp Jones – “The President left the city this morning for Manassas, and we look for a battle immediately. I have always thought he would avail himself of his prerogative as commander-in-chief, and direct in person the most important operations in the field; and, indeed, I have always supposed he was selected to be the Chief of the Confederacy, mainly with a view to this object, as it was generally believed…” – A Rebel War Clerk’s Diary at the Confederate States Capital.

Judith White McQuire – “We were at church this morning and heard Bishop Meade, on the subject of “Praise.” He and his whole congregation greatly excited. Perhaps there was no one present who had not some near relative at Manassas…” Diary of a Southern Refugee During the War.

Joseph Howland – “On The Battle-Field Near Bull Run… Our brigade is making a demonstration in the face of the enemy and a fight is going on on the right of the line five or six miles off.” – Letters of a Family During the War for the Union.

Horatio Nelson Taft – “This has been the most exciting day yet. We have heard the guns all day from the battle which has been raging at or near Mannasses Junction. There is no news that can be relied on public tonight, only that a terrible fight has been going on all day.” – Diary of a Clerk in the U.S. Patent Office.

William Howard Russell – “The calmness and silence of the streets of Washington this lovely morning suggested thoughts of the very different scenes which, in all probability, were taking place at a few miles’ distance. One could fancy the hum and stir round the Federal bivouacs, as the troops woke up and were formed into column of march towards the enemy.” – My Diary North and South.


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