[Special Correspondence to the Illinois State Journal.]


Interesting details on the Fight and Retreat.

Sunday 5 P. M., July, 1861.

This has been a day that will long be remembered by Americans. Since early morning the incessant roar and boom (as of distant thunder) of artillery has been heard here, and even in Washington. I am writing this under and amidst the most intense excitement I ever witnessed.

Our forces made the attack this morning; took three batteries, held them some time and they were then retaken by the enemy. Our loss is great — more than you will hear through the press. Col. Cameron (the Secretary's brother,) is killed; Col. Heintzelmann is wounded — some say killed; Col. Hunter is badly wounded; Col. Slocum and others reported killed and wounded.

Our forces fell back in disorder on Centreville, (three miles form Bull Run,) and will make a desperate stand. They were seized with a panic.

The country near about Bull Run is rough, and the Run is a week of some magnitude. The bridges have all been burned. The rebels will make their grand stand here. If we drive them from this position they have to go seventeen miles for water.

Davis, Beauregard, Johnson and Lee, are all at the scene of action.

Johnson fooled Patterson completely. He kept two or three thousand men moving along his front, making Patterson believe it was his entire force menacing him, while his main body were meanwhile forming a junction with Beauregard at Manassas.

The Ellsworth [unknown] Zouaves suffered much. They charged upon the batteries, bayoneting the gunners, with a war cry of "Ellsworth and revenge." They are the bravest of the brave. It is reported that they ran and started the panic to day, but it is not true. It was the 14th, the Brooklyn Zouaves, red legged fellows. Inexperienced persons confound the two regiments.

Fairfax Court House is fourteen miles from here, and Centreville seventeen or eighteen, and Bull Run, I believe, twenty-two; Manassas Junction twenty-seven. At Bull Run is a deep, wide valley, and on the sides of the hill the rebels have their batteries. We could not tell where they were until they commenced firing. They were hid by woods. Deserters say the route towards Manassas is lined with them. They are not masked batteries proper, but are so called because we cannot see them, and know nothing of their existence. They are so constructed that when one is taken, another, placed on a higher position, can rake it.

I send you a piece of the flag-staff from which my poor friend Ellsworth hauled down the first secession flag raised in Virginia. The stairway, railing, floor, and doors, and even portions of the wall, in the hall where he died, have been carried off in pieces as mementoes. The flag staff would be gone also, but the stairs are gone, and few are ventursome enough to try to climb up.