Great Battle at Manassas!!
Disastrous Defeat of U. S. Troops.
4,000 to 5,000 Killed and Wounded!
WASHINGTON, July 22.
After the latest information was received from Centreville, at 7:30 last night, a series of events took place in the intensest degree disastrous. Many confused statements are prevalent, but enough is known to warrant the statement that we have suffered in a degree which has cast a gloom over the remnants of the army and excited the deepest melancholy throughout Washington.
The carnage was tremendous heavy on both sides, and on ours is represented as frightful. We were advancing and taking their masked batteries gradually but surely, and driving the enemy toward Manassas Junction, when they seemed to have been reinforced by Gen. Johnston, who it is understood took command and commenced driving us back, when a panic among our troops suddenly occurred and a regular stampede took place. It is thought that Gen. McDowell undertook to make a stand at or near Centreville, but the panic was so fearful that the whole army became demoralized, and it was impossible to check them either at Centreville or Fairfax Court House.
Gen. McDowell intended to make another stand at Fairfax Court House, but our forces being in full retreat he could not accomplish the object. Beyond Fairfax Court House the retreat was kept up until the mob reached their regular encampments — a portion of whom returned to them, but a still larger portion coming inside the entrenchments.
A large number of the troops in their retreat fell on the wayside from exhaustion, and were scattered along the route all the way from Fairfax Court House.
The road from Bull's Run was strewn with knapsacks, arms, &c.; some of our troops deliberately throwing away their guns and appurtenances, the better to facilitate their travel. Gen. McDowell was in the rear exerting himself to rally his men, but with only partial effect. The latter part of the army, it is said, made their retreat in order. His orders on the field did not at all times reach those for whom they were intended.
It is supposed the force sent out against our troops consisted, according to a prisoner's statement, of about 80,000 men, including a large number of cavalry.
According to the statement of two of the Fire Zouaves, they have only about 200 men left from the slaughter, while the 69th and other regiments frightfully suffered in killed and wounded. The number cannot be known.
Sherman's, Carlisle's, Griffith's and the West Point batteries were taken by the enemy, and the eight seige 32-pound rifled cannon. It is supposed all the provision trains were saved. Large droves of cattle were saved by being driven back.
It is supposed here to-day that General Mansfield will take command of the fortifications of the other side of the river, which are able, it is said by military engineers, to be held against any force that the enemy can bring against them. Large rifled cannon and mortars are being rapidly sent over and mounted.
An officer, just from Virginia reports that the road from Centreville to the Potomac is strewn with stragglers. The troops are resuming the occupation of the entrenchments on the [unknown] of the Potomac. — Col. Heintzleman was wounded in the wrist. In addition to those reported yesterday it is said that Col. Wilcox, the gallant commander of a brigade, was killed, also Capt. McCook, brother of Col. McCook, of Ohio.
The city, this morning is in the most intense excitement. Wagons are continually arriving bringing in the dead and wounded, and the feeling is awfully distressing. — Both telegraphs and steamboats are suppressed to-day to the public. The greatest alarm prevails throughout the city.
LATER. — The Rhode Island battery was captured at the bridge across Bull's Run, where their retreat was cut off. Their horses were all killed. It is reported the black horse cavalry made an attack on the rear of our retreating army, when the remnant of the Fire Zouaves turned and fired, killing, but six of them. The Seventy-First New York lost about half of their men.
It is vaguely reported that Gen. Patterson's division arrived in the vicinity of Manassas this morning, and commenced an attack on the rebel forces. He was within twenty-five miles of the battle ground yesterday, but the exhausted condition of his men prevented him from coming to Gen. McDowell's aid. It is also reported that 4,000 of our troops have been rent to Fairfax from the other side of the river.
It is probable that the number of killed and wounded is magnified by large numbers who are missing.
The lowest estimate of the killed and wounded may be placed at from 4,000 to 5,000.
It is known that on the day previous to the battle, a large number of the Ohio regiments publicly protested against being led by Gen. Schenck, and it was only through the importunities of Col. McCook, in whom they placed all confidence, and other officers, that they were prevented from making a more formidable rebellion. It was known to our troops yesterday that General Johnston had formed a junction with Beauregard on the night of the first action at Bull's Run. Our men could distinctly hear the cars moving from Manassas Junction, and the cheers with which the Confederates hailed their newly arrived comrades.
They knew that the enemy was superior in numbers, and in their own position. — This was further confirmed by prisoners taken, but these facts were probably unknown at Washington. Gen. Schenck, as well as the elder field officers, acted admirably. He collected his forces and covered the retreat, and up to the last moment was personally engaged in the endeavor to rally his men to make a stand at Centreville.
It was the arrival of fresh reinforcements to the enemy in superior numbers which turned the scale of battle.
The enemy before now might perhaps [unknown line].