Siege of Washington, D.C., written expressly for little people eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 86 pages of information about Siege of Washington, D.C., written expressly for little people.

CHAPTER IV.

The battle of bull-run, and how it ended.

I consider it of the greatest importance, my son, to present you with an exact portrait of the very distinguished general who led our gallant militiamen to battle at Bull-Run, and followed them home without gaining a victory.  Greater battles than this of Bull-Run have been fought, as well in modern as in ancient times; but it is my honest opinion that it has never had its equal in the small number killed and wounded, as compared to the very large number that got frightened and ran away.  But I shall speak of this more particularly hereafter.

When the bold McDowell had got the courage of our gallant militiamen well up, and was sure they would look the enemy right in the eye, and give him powder and shot to his heart’s content, he led them forth with such pomp and pageantry as had never been seen before.  Yes, my son, our gallant militiamen marched forth on the morning of the 21st of July, 1861, every man a hero, and every man intent on fighting the battle according to his own peculiar notions of how a great and glorious victory ought to be gained.  There was great blowing of bugles, beating of drums, playing of bands, and fluttering of colors; all of which told Mr. Beauregard to put in his powder, that we were coming, and in earnest.  The nation went into a very fever of joy.  Several of our grave Congressmen got up their courage, put pistols in their pockets, and went forth with the army to set our brave boys a noble example by their presence on the field.  Indeed, many otherwise reflecting persons looked forward to this great clash of arms as a grand entertainment, which was to wind up with a feast, to which the vanquished enemy was to be invited.  And to that end they went amply provided with provisions and good wines.  In truth, my son, there was a strong rear guard, made up of Congressmen, editors, and distinguished citizens, all going to see the battle, in wagons well-filled with luxuries.  This was a new feature in the history of war, and quiet people along the road wondered at the sight.

The morning was hot and sultry, and the air was misty with dust clouds.  Our brave boys, who were not up to long marches, had a hard time of it.  But they were full of patriotism, and bore up under it with great fortitude.  Meeting the enemy near Bull-Run, we gave him battle.  That is, we pitched into him and he pitched into us, the fight becoming general and extending over a great deal of ground.  Then the fighting became so mixed up and confused that it was difficult to tell on which side victory was smiling.  Indeed, neither general could tell how things were going.  For a long time both armies kept at a respectful distance, under the evident apprehension that somebody would get injured.  In short, there was a great deal of good ammunition wasted, and a

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