Camp near Fairfax Seminary
September 3, 1862
Last Friday we started for Manassas & marched as far as Annandale. Saturday we marched most to the old battlefield of the 21st of July 1861. We got there about dark & just in time to prevent another Bull Run disaster. Cavalry ambulances, government wagons, artillery, wounded soldiers & those not wounded were coming as fast as they could but Franklin stopped them most at Centreville & there he kept them & so stopped the panic. You can thank Franklin’s Corps for preventing another Bull Run. You have no idea how they were scared & it kept growing worse. The Rebs had driven back McDowell on the left, besides killed a large number. The men are all down on him & hope that he will get shot. His own men say he is a traitor.
Sunday. We stopped on Centreville Hill last night. This morning it rains very hard. We were put in a fort today with some artillery. It is a very good fort—one that the Rebs built last summer. Not much firing. Ambulances are coming in & taking off the wounded & sick.
Monday. We moved out of the fort last night. There are immense wagon trains here now all of which are moving back towards Washington.
Tuesday. We had a very heavy thundershower last evening. We marched all of last night through the deep mud & water part of the time with the wagon train. We left a few troops on the hill. There has been a skirmish at Fairfax yesterday afternoon. We stopped about a mile beyond Fairfax until after noon & then formed in line of battle. After lying in that position a while, we started for our old camp which we reached after dark. We did not have any fighting to do. The whole army has fallen back—most of them this side of Fairfax.
I have not been promoted yet. Do not know when I shall be, if ever, but still I stand a good show. The captain gave most of the boys liquor on the march. He offered it to me twice but I did not take any although a little stimulus would have done me good. But instead of whiskey, I smoked a cigar which done me good, I think.
I have got a woman washing my shirt again. She lent me one to wear. Some of the boys have not had on a clean shirt since they left Harrison’s Landing. I think that the Rebs will try to take Washington but they have got to fight for it. We have five days mail due us now. A part of our brigade have gone out on picket up to Bailey’s Crossroads. We are back where we were 14 months ago & still going down but still we will not give up the ship but stick & hang to the [____& _____] than have the Union destroyed. I would arm every man that could carry a gun or march ten miles in a day.
Today has been one of rest to us poor fellows who are marched here & there where our superiors like & think best.
Respectfully, — C. E. Bradley