Kenton Harper's Manassas Battle Report to T.J. Jackson

Kenton Harper. ALS as Colonel, 4pp, 7.5 x 9.5 in., "Head Quarters 5th Infantry, Camp Jackson." July 22, 1861. Addressed to General T.J. Jackson, the following excerpts come from Colonel Harper's report of his command of the 5th Virginia on July 21, 1861:

About 4 A.M. I repaired as directed by you to the position occupied by General Longstreet, where I held my command for some considerable time, in anticipation of an advance of the enemy on that point, until it became manifest to you that the demonstration made was but a feint. Under your orders I then reunited with the rest of your brigade and moved to a position on the right of General Cocke's and in rear of Colonel Bartoe's command, where I remained about one hour. My regiment was again reunited to the brigade and advanced to a position in rare of General Bee's brigade. Here I was ordered to advance to support of a battery then being brought into a position on my left. My instructions were to hold on to the position until the enemy approached over the crest of the hill, which would bring them within about fifty yards, when I was to fire upon them and charge. This order I executed in part, though subjected to an annoying fire of artillery and musketry, sheltering my men as best I could in my position of inactivity...

After briefly falling back, Harper advanced for a second time, reaching the top of the hill and finding the enemy advancing from different points. He again retired to his first position, falling back through the skirt of woods in his rear, where he found...General Bee actively engaged in an effort to rally his scattered forces...Very soon...General Beauregard appeared on the field, under whose orders I subsequently acted. We advanced at once upon the enemy, keeping up a brisk and effective fire, which caused them to give way.

After regaining the summit of the hill I ordered a charge to be made upon a battery of six pieces, commanded by Captain Ricketts, but such was the eagerness of the men in keeping up their fire upon the retiring foe, I could rally only a portion of the command to the work. At this juncture a considerable number of our troops of different commands had rallied on my left and formed perpendicularly to my line - who were seemingly inactive. I dispatched my adjutant to inform them of my purpose and invite their co-operation which was promptly given.

After advancing his regiment to a hill on the right where Colonel Robert Preston's regiment was stationed, Harper received orders from General Beauregard ...to move towards Centreville by way of the stone bridge. While passing by the battery, I found it operating against the retiring enemy in the distance. This, I am informed, was done by order of Colonel James F. Preston, of our brigade...After passing beyond the stone bridge the troops were halted and held together until near sunset when my command was marched back to Manassas Junction.

Harper closes the report with warm acknowledgement of the co-operation of Lt. Colonels Harman and Baylor, as well as the losses of his regiment, including six killed, 47 wounded, and 13 missing.
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