Fire Zouaves at Bull Run
July 21, 1861


Bull Run
Alexandria, Va.
July 22d, 1861

Thanks be to God that I am alive and well. We started for the Gap at 2 o’clock Sunday morning and after marching 10 miles we came upon the enemy. We rested for a few moments, while we unslung our overcoats and were drawn up in line of battle. Their batteries were concealed in the woods and out of sight. As soon as we got in sight they commenced to throw shot and shell at us from two batteries. We were ordered forward and as we did a company of cavalry, 75 in number, came up in our rear and attacked us. We killed all but nine.

We would fire and then fall flat and load again. In the mean time they opened on us with grape, canister and shot, which whistled around our heads like so many hail stones and wounded and killed a great many of our boys. We then fell back for a few minutes, when we were ordered forward again, when our artillery commenced to retreat, and we were ordered to do the same.

There are about 400 of us either killed or wounded. They even bayoneted our wounded as they lay on the field. I never want to see such a sight again; it was horrible. We commenced to retreat and they tried to head us off, and came very near doing it. We had marched about ten miles when they opened on us again, but nobody was hurt. My comrade was wounded, and as he lay on the field they stabbed him five times with their bayonets. We had a hospital a little distance from the battle field and they even destroyed that and I expect that all of our wounded were killed. We have marched 50 miles and are now at Alexandria, waiting for the boat to take us to Washington.

My feet are blistered and I feel very tired, otherwise I am perfectly well. We marched day and night till we got here. I have been thinking what your and mother’s thoughts are. I am going to telegraph as soon as I get in Washington and that will relieve mother. Our regiment done the best they could, and it is too bad that we did not win the day. It is the fault of the general field officers. It is nothing but murder to march up in face of them. There were about 80,000 of them. There were 14 regiments that weren’t called into action at all. We are going to stop in Alexandria tonight, and I suppose we will go to Washington tomorrow.

W.H.M., Jr.


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