Pvt. Theodore Reichardt, (Reynolds) Battery A, 1st Rhode Island Light Artillery, On the Battle

6 01 2014

Thursday, July 15. - Great excitement in camp; order was received to get ready for a forward movement; ammunition packed; haversacks and canteens were issued.

Tuesday, July 16. - The morning of that day found us marching across the Long ridge, directly through Fort Runyon, on the Virginia side; did not march over seven miles; after which we formed in line of battle and prepared to camp for the night, this being the first night in the open air. All quiet during the night.

Wednesday, July 17. - Resumed our march soon after break of day, and entered Fairfax Court House, contrary to our expectations, towards one o’clock, at mid-day, the rebels having evacuated the town shortly before our entrance. Their rear guard could be plainly seen some distance off. Our battery formed in park near the court house. Some of the boys were lucky in finding a good dinner served on a table in one of the houses, besides some articles of value, undoubtedly belonging to some confederate officers. Some picket firing during the night.

Thursday, July 18. - Advance at daylight. A part of the Union army, Gen. Tyler’s troops, engaged. This conflict the rebels call battle of Bull Run. While the contest was raging, our division halted two miles to the left of Fairfax Court House, at a place called Germantown. We could plainly hear the distant booming of artillery, and were impatiently waiting for the order, “forward.” Towards four o’clock P. M., we advanced again; preparations were made to get in action; sponge buckets filled with water, and equipments distributed among the cannoniers. But when we approached Centreville, intelligence came that our troops got worsted and the contest was given up. Our division went to camp within a mile and a half of Centreville. Strong picket lines were drawn up.

Friday, July 19. - Camp near Centreville. The troops remained quiet all day. Fresh beef as rations.

Saturday, July 20. - Quiet during the day. About six o’clock in the evening the army got ready to advance; but after council of war was held by the chief commanders, they concluded to wait till the next day.

Sunday, July 21. - Battle of Manassas Plains. This battle will always occupy a prominent place in the memory of every man of the battery. They all expected to find a disorganized mob, that would disperse at our mere appearance; while, to the general surprise, they not only were better disciplined, but also better officered than our troops. We started by tow o’clock in the morning, but proceeded very slowly. Passed Centreville before break-of-day. When the sun rose in all its glory, illuminating the splendid scenery of the Blue Ridge mountains, though no sun of Austerlitz to us, we crossed the bridge over Cub Run. By this time, the report of the 30-pounder Parrott gun belonging to Schenck’s command, who had met the enemy, was heard. Our division turned off to the right, and marched some miles through dense woodland, to the Warrenton road. Towards ten o’clock, nothing could be seen of the enemy yet, and the belief found circulation that the enemy had fallen back. Experience proved that, had we remained at Centreville, the rebel army would undoubtedly have attacked us; but hearing of our advance they only had to lay in ambush, ready to receive us. At the aforesaid time, the Second Rhode Island infantry deployed as skirmishers. We advanced steadily, till arriving at the Bull Run and Sudley’s Church, a halt was ordered to test the man and the horses. But is should not be; the brave Second R. I. Regiment, coming up to the enemy, who was concealed in the woods, their situation was getting critical. The report of cannon and musketry followed in rapid succession. Our battery, after passing Sudley’s Church, commenced to trot in great haste to the place of combat. At this moment Gen. McDowell rode up in great excitement, shouting the Capt. Reynolds: “Forward with your light battery.” This was entirely needless, as we were going at high speed, for all were anxious to come to the rescue of our Second regiment. In quick time we arrived in the open space where the conflict was raging already in its greatest fury. The guns were unlimbered, with or without command; no matter, it was done, and never did better music sound to the ears of the Second Regiment, than the quick reports of our guns, driving back the advancing foe. For nearly forty minutes our battery and the Second Regiment, defended that ground before any other troops were brought into action. Then the First Rhode Island, Seventy-first New York, and Second New Hampshire, with tow Dahlgren Howitzers, appeared, forming on the right and left. The enemy was driven successfully in our immediate front. Our battery opened on one of the enemy’s light batteries to our right, which left after a short but spirited engagement, in a rather demoralized state. Griffith’s, Ayre’s and Rickett’s batteries coming up, prospects really looked promising, and victory seemed certain. The rebel line gradually giving way. Gen. McDowell, seeing the explosion of perhaps a magazine or a caisson, raised his cap, shouting, “Soldiers, this is the great explosion of Manassas,” and seemed to be highly pleased with the work done by our battery. Owing to different orders, the battery, towards afternoon, was split into sections. Capt. Reynolds, with Lieuts. Tompkins and Weeden, off to the right, while the two pieces of the left section, to the left; Lieuts. Vaughan and Munroe remaining with the last mentioned. Firing was kept up incessantly, until the arrival of confederate reinforcements, coming down from Manassas Junction, unfurling the stars and stripes, whereby our officers were deceived to such a degree as to give the order, “Cease firing.” This cessation of our artillery fire proved, no doubt, disastrous. It was the turning point of the battle. Our lines began to waver after receiving the volleys of the disguised columns. The setting sun found the fragments of our army not only in full retreat but in complete rout, leaving most of the artillery in the hands of the enemy. Our battery happened to be the only six gun volunteer battery, carrying all the guns off the battle-field, two pieces in a disabled condition. A battery-wagon and forge were lost on the field. Retreating the same road we advanced on in the morning. All of a sudden the cry arose, “The Black Horse Cavalry is coming.” The alarm proved to be false; yet it had the effect upon many soldiers to throw away their arms. But the fears of many soldiers that the enemy would try to cut off our retreat, were partly realized. Our column having reached Cub Run bridge, was at once furiously attacked on our right by artillery and cavalry. Unfortunately, the bridge being blocked up, the confusion increased. All discipline was gone. Here our battery was lost, all but one gun, that of the second detachment, which was carried through the creek. It is kept at the armory of the Marine Artillery, in Providence. At the present time, guns, under such circumstances, would not be left to the enemy without the most strenuous efforts being made to save them. We assembled at the very same camp we left in the morning. Credit is due to Capt. Reynolds, for doing everything possible for the comfort of his men. At midnight the defeated army took up its retreat towards Washington. Our battery consisting of one gun, and the six-horse team, drove by Samuel Warden.

Monday, July 22. - Arrived at, and effected our passage across the Long Bridge, by ten o’clock, and found ourselves once more at Camp Clark, where we had a day of rest after our debut on the battle-field yesterday, under the scorching sun of Virginia.

Wednesday, July 24. - Lieut. Albert Munroe addressed the battery in regard to the battle, and attributed our defeat to the want of discipline. The men felt very indignant at his remarks. “We had to come down the regulations, the same as in the regular army, and should consider ourselves almost as State prison convicts.” We have since seen that he meant no insult towards the battery; but have found out to our satisfaction that he spoke the truth, for we have seen the time that put us almost on the same level with convicts.

Diary of Battery A, First Regiment Rhode Island Light Artillery (Kindle Version, location 66 to 123)

Theodore Reichardt at Ancestry.com

While the above was published as a diary, it is apparent from the text that it was at least edited in retrospect.





Pvt. William J. Crossley, Co. C, 2nd Rhode Island Infantry, On the Battle and Captivity

31 12 2013

Extracts from my Diary, and from my Experiences while Boarding with Jefferson Davis, in Three of His Notorious Hotels, in Richmond, Va., Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Salisbury, N. C, from July, 1861, to June, 1862.

By WILLIAM J. CROSSLEY.

[Late Sergeant Company C, Second Rhode Island Infantry Volunteers.]

July 17th, we arrived at Fairfax, where some of the smart ones made themselves conspicuous in a few of the houses evacuated by the Confederates, by smashing portraits, pianos, mirrors and other furniture, without cause or provocation.

Thursday, 18th, bought a hoecake and went a mile to milk a cow, with and from which I had a rare supper. The boys are shooting pigs and hens to kill. At 7 p. m. we marched away three or four miles to a place we named “Brush Camp,” where four men came to us from the fight we had heard two of three miles beyond, at a place called Centreville. They were gunless and hatless, and two of them were wounded. On the 19th, with rails and brush, we made a shelter from the fierce sun. Fresh meat was issued to-day; I made a soup, first in the campaign; rather but not awful salt, — for a fresh-made soup. Dress parade tonight. Sent a letter Home. Have to begin Home now with a capital “H” since we have seen rebel-made blood.

Sunday, July 21st. This is the day we celebrate the occasion of this melodrama. Left camp about 2 a. m., arrived at Bull Run about 9 a. m. Here the Confederacy received us with open arms and refreshments galore. We had barely time to exchange the compliments of the season with them, when one of the Johnnies with much previousness passed me a pepperment drop in the shape of a bullet that seemed to be stuffed with cayenne. Out of courtesy, of course, I returned a similar favor, with but little satisfaction however, for he was so completely hidden down in the grainfield that his colors and the smoke from his guns were all we had for a target. Well, the cayenne was getting warmer, and the blood was getting out of my eyes into my trousers’ leg, so I was taken to the rear, and down to where Surgeons Wheaton and Harris were dressing wounds, and had mine dressed; and, as the rebs began just then dropping shot and shell so near to us as to be taking limbs from the trees over our heads the doctors ordered that the wounded be moved away. I was put in a blanket and taken to another part of the woods and left. Soon after, an old friend of mine, Tom Clark, a member of the band, came along, and, after a chat, gave me some whiskey, from the effects of which, with fatigue, loss of blood and sleep, I was soon dozing, notwithstanding the roar of fierce and murderous battle going on just over the hill. When I awoke a tentmate of mine was standing over and telling me we were beaten and on the run. I wanted to tell him what Pat told the Queen of Ireland, Mrs. Keller, but after looking into his ghostly, though dirty face, I said nothing, but with his help and a small tree tried to get up. That was a failure, so I gave him my watch, said good-bye to him, and he left. Up to date it was also good-bye to the watch. Well, after this little episode, I turned over, and, on my hands and one knee, crawled down to the road, four or five hundred yards away, and tried to get taken in, or on an ambulance, but they were all full (though not the kind of full you are thinking about). Then I crawled up to a rail fence close by a log cabin, and soon the rebs came along, took account of stock, i. e., our name, regiment and company, and placed a guard over us. Being naturally of a slender disposition (I weighed one hundred and eleven pounds just before leaving Washington) and from the fracas of the last twelve hours, was, perhaps, looking a little more peaked than usual, so when one of the rebel officers asked me how old I was, and I told him twenty-one, maybe he was not so much to blame for smiling and swearing, “He reckoned I had got my lesson nearly perfect.” I didn’t know then what he meant, but it seems they had heard we were enlisting boys, and I suppose he thought, in my case at least, the facts were before him.

Monday, July 22d. Well, here I am, a prisoner of war, a lamb surrounded by wolves, just because I obeyed orders, went into a fight, and, by Queensbury rules, was punctured below the belt. So much for trying to be good. And just here I would like to add a few lines pertaining to that (to us, then) strange expression, “Prisoner of war.” From the day of my enlistment to the morning of this notorious battle I had never heard the word mentioned, nor had I even thought of it. I had been told before leaving Providence that I would be shot, starved or drilled to death, that with a fourteen-pound musket, forty rounds of cartridge, a knapsack of indispensables, a canteen of, — of fluid, a haversack of hard-tack, a blanket and half a tent I would be marched to death under the fierce rays of a broiling sun, with a mule’s burden of earth — in the shape of dust — in my hair, eyes, and ears, up my nose and down the back of my neck, or, wading through miles of mud so thick that I must go barefoot or leave my shoes. That I would return home — if at all — with but one leg, one arm, one eye, or one nose, and with but very little of the previous large head; but with all this gabble about war and its alluring entertainments not a solitary word about “Prisoner of war.” So you see, it was not merely a surprise to us, a little something just out of the ordinary, but it was a shock, and not an every day feeble and sickly shock either, but a vigorous paralyzing and spine-chilling shock, that we couldn’t shake off for days or weeks after we were captured. But to continue.

It rained all of last night; I got thoroughly soaked. This morning the rebs made our able ones go out on the battlefield and get rubber blankets, put them over rails and make a shelter for us in the yard of the cabin. The cabin is full of wounded and dying, and I don’t know how many are in the yard. When the surgeon was dressing my wound to-day, we found the bullet inside the drawers where they were tied around my ankle. Oh, but wasn’t I lucky; there was but one puncture and that one below wind and vitals. That’s where the infantry lap over the navy, you see, Mr. Shell-back.

July 23d. Colonel Slocum died at one o’clock this morning. Penno, of the First, had his leg cut off. The major had both of his taken off.

We had some porridge made from meal the men brought in from the woods.

July 24th. Colonel Slocum was buried this morning at the lower end of the garden. Major Ballou’s and Penno’s legs in same place. The Major is getting better; so am I. As the men were going past me here with the Colonel’s body, I was allowed to cut a button from his blouse (I have it yet), at the same time they found another bullet wound in one of his ankles.

July 26th. Had ham and bread for dinner right from the field, and gruel for supper. T. O. H. Carpenter, another of my friends, and of my company, died to-day, up at the church.

July 27th. No bread to-day, only gruel. McCann, of Newport, died.

July 28th. Major Ballou died this p. m.

Gruel for supper, with a fierce tempest.

July 29th. The major was buried beside the colonel at dark.

July 31st. Have had an elegant headache the past two days; to-day it’s singing. Started for Manassas Junction about noon, in ammunition wagons, and with those infernal drivers hunting around for rocks and stumps to drive over; it did seem as if the proprietors of the bullet holes and stumps in the wagons were getting “on to Richmond” with a vengeance. At the Junction we were put into freight cars and started at dark for Richmond.

August 1st. When we arrived at Gordonville this morning, the most of us hoped to be delivered from another such night, for the way that engineer twitched and thumped those cars all night long would have made Jeff Davis & Co. smile, if they could have heard the cursing and groans of the tortured and dying in those cars. This afternoon some are scraping the maggots from their rotten limbs and wounds, for the heat has been sweltering all day, and the stench almost unbearable, as you know, there is no ventilation in the ends of a box freight car; but the most of us lived through it, and finally arrived at Richmond, one hundred and fifty miles from Manassas, at the speed of nearly seven miles an hour. Did you ever hear of Uncle Sam treating a train load of gasping and dying strangers quite so beastly and leisurely as that? As we were being unloaded from the cars to wagons a nice looking old gentleman with a white necktie, standing nearby, said to me, “How old are you, my little man?” I told him twenty-one, but from his insinuating that I must be a near relative of Ananias, I did not pretend to be over seventeen after that while in the Confederacy. From the cars we were taken to a tobacco factory, near the lower end of the city, and on the left bank of the James River, afterwards known as the famous “Libby.” We were dumped on the first floor, among the tobacco presses for the night, and next morning taken upstairs, and, “bless my stars,” put on cots, and given bread and coffee for breakfast. What was the coffee made of do you ask? I don’t know, and, as you didn’t have it to drink it need not concern you; and we had soup for dinner, and it’s none of your affairs what that was made of either. And now we are allowed to send letters home, but have to be very careful as to quality and quantity, for Mr. Reb has the first perusal and will throw them in the waste basket if a sentence or even a word is not to his liking. I tell you if we needed a capital “H” for home, when at Brush Camp, the entire word should be written in capitals here, for there we were surrounded by friends, not an enemy in sight, while here we are surrounded by thousands of enemies and bayonets and not a solitary friend within miles.

While writing this paper I have tried to think of some parallel or similar case to that of ours, that I might give you an idea in a more condensed and comprehensive form what that life was, but I can think of none. Possibly some of you may think that board and lodgings at “Viall’s Inn” for a few months might be comparable. I don’t think so; but as we are cramped for time I will not argue the matter with you, but drop it after a single comparison. If you were to be sent to General Viall’s you would be told before leaving the Court House how long you were to stay. There is where much of the agony, the wear and tear came to us, that everlasting longing, yearning and suspense.

When settled down to our daily routine, I find on the cot beside mine a little Belgian Dutchman, about thirty-five years old, with a head round as a pumpkin, eyes that would snap like stars in January, and a moustache that puts his nose and mouth nearly out of sight. He was seldom murmuring, but flush with sarcasm. His name was Anthony Welder, and he belonged to the Thirty-Eighth New York. He was wounded the same as I, just above the knee, so he could not walk, but he did not lack for friends and fellow countrymen to call on him and help use up many weary hours with their national and lively game of “Sixty-Six.” I wish you could have seen them play it. I was a real nice boy at that time and didn’t know even the name of a card, but seeing them getting so much fun out of it I asked Anthony one day to show me how to play, but with a very decided No, he said, “I tell you; I show you how to play, and you play awhile for fun, then you play for a little money, you win, then you play for a pile, and you win, then you play for a big pile, and you lose him all, then you say, ‘Tarn that Tutchman, I wish the tevil had him before he show me how to play cards.’ ” But there wasn’t much peace for Dutchie until I knew how to play Sixty-Six.” And just here is another illustration of the havoc my evaporated memory has made with some of the tidbits of those days, that I would occasionally like to recall ; for to-day I know no more about that game of “Sixty-Six” than the Chaplain of the Dexter Asylum.

August 4th. A First regiment man died, and on the 6th Esek Smith, also three other Rhode Island men died. And her[e] I should say I make no mention of the dozens and scores belonging to other states and regiments that are carried out daily. One day as a body was being taken out past us I said to Welder, “There goes another poor fellow that’s had to give up the ghost,” and Welder says, “Well, that is the last thing what he could do.”

August 7th. Had services this p. m. by an Episcopal clergyman.

August 10th. Grub very scarce. Cobb of the Second died, and H. L. Jacques, of Company E, from Wakefield, bled to death this evening.

August 13th. Johnnie is whitewashing the walls. It makes the dirty red bricks look a little more cheerful.

August 21st. To-day we are a month away from Bull Run, and a month nearer home.

Hat-tip to reader Bill Kleppel

William J. Crossley at Ancestry.com

While presented in diary format, it is apparent that the above was subsequently edited by the author.





4th Sgt. Harrison B. Jones, Co. H., 33rd Virginia Infantry, On the March and Battle

22 04 2012

Thursday [7/18/1861]

Today left Winchester about 1 o’clock and marched to reinforce Gen Beauregard

we had a hard march to day; waded the Shenandoah river at Berry Ferry and continued marching until 9 o’clock at night, then stoped at Paris in Va

Friday [7/19/1861]

left Paris about 4 o’clock this morning and marched to Piedmont Station to break fast – after remaining there several hours we got upon the cars and run down to Mannassas Juncktion we remained in the cars all night there was a fight near the Junction

[Saturday 7/20/1861]

To day we marched to and fro through the Country below the Juncktion and cornfield about four miles from the Juncktion where we camped in the pine bushes with no blankets and very scant supper & breakfast.

Sunday [7/21/1861]

To day after getting an early breakfast we were marched at a quick pace having understood that the federal forces were making a attempted to flanke us about 2 o clock we were drawn up in line a battle about the time we go airly in line one of our company was wounded in the leg — we remained in that position some time exposed to heavy fire — from the Federal forces we then fired a round or two and charged upon the enemy running them from their cannon — our company lost 6 killed & fifteen wounded besides several others marked a little

MSS 14169 Albert & Shirley Small Special Collections Library, as transcribed at 150 Years Ago Today (1, 2, 3, 4). Used with permission.

Harrison Jones at Ancestry.com





Reminder – Call for Stuff

9 10 2011

Just a reminder: if you have, or are aware of, any diaries, letters, memoirs, newspaper articles, &c., published or otherwise, with a Bull Run significance, send them in or let me know about them. They’re a big part of what this site is all about. I do require some sort of verification, so if you have letters or diaries of ancestors that you would like added to the record here, I’ll need as much information as you can provide, and preferably images of the original documents.

Help great-great-grandpa’s/grandma’s words live on in cyberspace and contribute to the historical record at the same time!





Notes to Surgeon Charles Carroll Gray, 2nd US Cavalry Diary Entry on the Battle

8 08 2011

Charles Carroll Gray (1838 to 1884) was an assistant surgeon with the 2nd US Cavalry at Bull Run. Documentation of The Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill notes that the diary from which this passage is taken covers the period from July 16, 1861 to July 28, 1862. Biographical information from the same source notes that:

Gray was born on March 28, 1838, that he probably lived in New York State, that he studied medcine in Geneva, New Yok (probably at Hobart College) and at Bellevue Hospital in New Yok City. He took the army medical examination in May 1861, and was appointed first lieutenant and assistant surgeon. He was captured at First Manassas and imprisoned in the South for over a year, returning to duty upon his release, and remaining in the army until his retirement in 1879. He was promoted by brevet in 1865, and in 1866 was promoted to the regular grade of captian and in the same year to major and surgeon. He died November 22, 1884.

The diary consists of two sections of small notebooks, the first without a cover and inserted inside the cove rof the second. The second is a small leather bound notebook which Gray managed to buy while a prisoner in Charleston. When the space in the second section gave out, he reversed the book and wrote between the lines..

Note that Asst. Surgeon Charles Gray of the 2nd US Cavalry is not Asst. Surgeon Charles Gray of the 11th NY, mentioned in Gray 2nd US Cav’s diary and also, coincidentally, captured at Bull Run.

See document





Surgeon Charles Carroll Gray, 2nd US Cavalry Diary Entry on the Battle

8 08 2011

21st. Deluged by crossing columns of infantry; at day break halted on the hill at Centreville. Never felt so depressed in my life. Moved in close order over the fields & through the woods far to the right, a heavy cloud of infantry skirmishes on the left. As the sun rose I could not help thinking that many were looking at it for the last time. I said so the officer next me & he ["declined & fell"] into poetry to this effect – “And Ardennes moves above them her green leaves dewy with nature’s tear drops as they pass, grieving, if aught inanimate he grieves over the unreturning brave. (Wilson 1st – 4th Cavalry now dead. Rode a bobtailed gray horse.). Sen. Wilson gave us speed as we went down the Braddock road at a sharp trot. Marched & marched & marched, making a long detour to the right with the intention as we guessed to turn the enemy’s left at Manassas. Heintzelman next left. Tyler extreme left. Miles in reserve. As we cleared the woods about 10, we heard heavy artillery firing far to our left & the wise said Tyler’s division was engaged. Went ahead at a sharp pace. Horses & men* glad to dismount at a small stream (Cub Run) & drink.

*[Note in margin:] Here such of us as had anything to eat devoured it for fear of accidents. I divided my small lunch with Lt. Custer (of Drummond’s Co.) who had just joined us from West Point this morning. C. became afterward quite prominent & was killed June 25th ’76 on the Little Big Horn. Drummond after many escapes was killed at Five Forks, April 1865 – the last cavalry fight of the war.

[?] Drummond sings, &c. Found in the ravine & moved at a gallop to the extreme right and wailed orders. The ground to our left well sprinkled with dead & wounded. Our infantry close behind us (8 cos. regulars, 4 cos. marines, 8th N.Y. Mil., 14th Brooklyn – Red Legs) went into fire very stadily. Having no wounded of my command needing help, I turned my attention to the volunteers (mostly of Burnside’s brigade to our left & rear). Had a little talk with Douglas Ramsay just before he went into action with his battery (Rickett’s). Poor fellow he was soon killed. Soon an orderly from Dr. Magruder summoned us back to Sudley Church where in the few houses scattered about the wounded were being rapidly collected. There was another Dr. Gray there (Fire Zouaves) & some confusion arose thereby.

Retreat began between 4 & 5 P.M. I think, leaving a field strewn with dead and wounded as the troops streamed down the road past the church. I went out to find my horse. Horse gone but I presently found him with Asst. Surg. Silliman (serving with artillery) astride. He told me of the death of Capt. Ricketts & his Lieut. Ramsay, and further that his own horse was killed or missing & he had accordingly appropriated mine finding him riderless. I could not subscribe to the arrangement (wish I had) & he went in search of another mount. Soon ran into my cavalries – who looked anything but jubilant – and reported to Maj. Palmer. He seemed in a awful state of mortification and when I asked for orders he ‘wept’ for reply. Presently the cavalry & regular infantry moved slowly forward & I rode on the flank till meeting Magruder and [Averill?] (of the Rifles afterward Maj. Gen. Vols) with [B?] or O’Bryan afterward killed. We halted in Cub Run to water our horses & talk it over. As to the wounded, what was to become of them? All agreed that some of the medical officers should stay & become prisoners and take chances. Magruder (Asst. to Med. Director) said he could not – being a Southerner it would be very awkward & he didn’t believe he would be of much use – he “wouldn’t order me to remain but thought it would be well if I were willing to do so.” [Averill?] & the other officers were like minded, as in truth I was myself; so I bade them goodbye & rode back toward the field & to the little church in the grove. The grove full of stragglers mostly unwounded & many of them without arms. They could not be urged forward but loitered along or sat down as though the war – or this part in it at least – was over. They did not seem frightened but stupid, tired, & indifferent.

Went up to the church, found that Lt. Dickinson, Adjt. 3d Infantry whom I had left under a tree wounded, had disappeared as well as my blouse which I had left under his head. Shells beginning to fly rather savagely through the trees & around the building, I made search for something to hoist that the nature of our “population” might be indicated. Found a dingy white piece of some sort, hanging on to my horse. This time, went down to the road to hang it from a branch. While engaged in this a small body of Virg. cavalry (Rockbridge Cavalry Guards?) came hurrying up the road driving a lot of prisoners before them like so many sheep. The Lt. commanding with flourish of pistol & much excitement pronounced me prisoner, concerning which matter I expressed myself of the same opinion, & endeavored to explain to him that I had remained voluntarily & solely on account of the wounded with which the vicinity abounded offering my parole to remain where I was for any number of hours on days he might mention, &c., &c., but to no purpose – He was in a great hurry, very much excited, & a trifle frightened I thought. Didn’t know anything about paroles, hadn’t any authority anyway, &c, & I must mount at once & come along to Hd. Qrs. I am the more persuaded that my hero was the least bit in the world scared, from the fact that a few minutes before a small body of cavalry had bound down as if to attack the rear guard (Sykes’ Infantry) of our retreating troops. The old “dough boys” paid no attention to the bold dragoons until they were pretty near, when suddenly they faced about, opened ranks and opened fire, while a piece or two of artillery – Griffin’s I was told – which had been concealed by the infantry rattled into them & they were scattered like a flock of black-birds. Perhaps my Lt. was one of the discomfited – he had seen the affair no doubt. However he soon became more composed, though much elated with his goodly number of prisoners, momentarily increased as we moved up the road. None of them were wounded even slightly, nor did any of them so far as I recall have arms. What they had done with them I don’t know, thrown them away, as “cumbersome & dangerous” I suppose. We encountered two or three volunteer medical officers, but he made us demand for them to share my pilgrimage, but simply left them at their work when he found who they were & what doing. Left them “to be called for” in short. Whether he thought them of too great or little value to take away, or me of too great or too little value to leave, is a mystery. I don’t suppose he really had any theory unless perhaps as some one afterward suggested, he attached some fictitious value to a regular officer as prisoner.

Our company of prisoners – all with one exception beside myself privates or N.C. officers, and all on foot except myself, made slow marching though constantly urged. All had had a long day’s work of a particularly trying kind and many of them were of exceedingly poor material. All judging from my own feelings were hungry & thirsty, and it altogether was a bad job with no chance of improvement for many hours to come. Although I rode most of the distance it was the longest 8 or 9 miles that I remember. Toward dusk I saw that one of the prisoners – a soft stripling of 17 or thereabouts belonging to a N.H. regiment, was about to give out altogether, and having some vague notion that he might be killed if it became necessary to leave him persuaded the Lt. who had now become quite placable, to let me put the boy on my horse, which helped him through. (I might have spared myself the trouble for if I remember aright he died soon after in prison). Arrived at the Junction I made vigorous protest at being huddled into the pen with the rest of the folks I had come with. I did not know at the time that all the other officers, prisoners, to the number of 20 or more were inside; and so kicked up as much of a row as I could. It would probably have ended in my getting a bayonet stab or sabre cut on the head & being tumbled in by the heels; where my luck came in the shape of a creole Arty. Major from La. who was field officer of the day, or in command of the main gaurd or something of that nature. With the said genial creole I fraternized so successfully that I was permitted to report to the Medical Director of Gen. Beauregard, with the caution to look out not to step on the men; a needed warning for it was pitchy dark & beginning to rain & the men lay thick by the sides of the road & buildings. The wounds of many had ceased troubling as I found when stumbling along. (Mem.) a dead man never groans when you kick him, accidentally or otherwise. Well I thanked my friend from the land of cypress & alligator, & turned once my horse to him as [?]. It would have been in order for me to have warned him of the brute’s failing, had I not known that my major must be in no danger of needing such a mount. A man [?] to be shot is in no danger of being killed by a horse and my major was killed in action…(* And thus never had to know Kellogg et id omne genus). Found at the Hospital which was rather a small store turned into a depot of medical supplies & dispensary than an hospital, a Dr. or two prisoners like myself, and a [?] named Drew who claiming to be sick, had by some unexplained process of thimblerigging managed to avoid being “unimpounded” with the other officers. I came to know Drew well in after days and learned to admire his adeptness in ‘thimblerigging’ & his admirable skill in making much out of little. Through a little renegade Jerseyman, who was acting as Hosp. Steward or something of the sort, managed to get a little hard bread & what was more welcome plenty of water. (Mem.) They depend here for drinking water on rain & Bull Run five miles distant.

Transcrption and diary image.

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Diary 7/15-25/1861 – Pvt. Josiah Favill, 71st NYSM

31 10 2010

About the 1st of July the troops were brigaded on the Virginia side of the river, and formed into an army, commanded by General McDowell. On the 15th of July we received orders to cross the Potomac the following day, carrying three days’ cooked rations; we marched out, about one o’clock from the yard, very cheerfully, and crossed the long bridge into Old Virginia, singing lustily, “Away Down South in Dixie,” and went into bivouac near Annandale, a distance of eight or nine miles. Here were gathered together an immense body of men, being organized into an army. Our regiment was brigaded under Colonel Burnside, with the First and Second Rhode Island regiments, and the Second New Hampshire. We had no tents or shelter of any kind, only one blanket to cover us, and what was worse than all, no old soldiers to teach us the simple tricks of campaigning comfortably. In the Navy Yard we slept on the bare boards, but that soon became easy for us; now with no boards, and no shelter when it rains, we shall be in a pretty pickle. I once wondered, I remember, what kind of beds we should have in the army; by degrees, I am finding that out, as well as some other things.

In the evening our enthusiasm burst out anew, when we saw the countless camp fires, extending in every direction as far as the eye could reach. Here around us was a veritable army, with banners, opening to our imagination, a glimpse of the glorious pomp, and circumstance of war. Later on, the music of the bands came floating over the gentle summer breeze, while the increasing darkness brought into more distinct relief the shadowy groups of soldiers sitting around the fires, or moving between the long lines of picturesquely stacked arms. At intervals were batteries of artillery, their horses tethered amongst the guns, while in rear of all, just discernible by the white canvas coverings, were wagons enough apparently, to supply the combined armies of the world.

At nine o’clock tattoo was sounded by thousands of drums and fifes, and shortly afterwards the men were mostly asleep. A young fellow named Kline (Dodd having remained in the yard on the sick list) and I slept together, and shared each other’s fortunes; we spread my rubber and woolen blankets on the ground, covering ourselves with his blankets, and without other protection from the weather slept our first sleep in the open air, with the new army of Virginia; we lay for a long time gazing at the starry heavens before we slept, our stony pillows not fitting as well as those we had been used to, but at last we slept, and only awoke at the beating of the drums for reveille.

We turned out promptly, feeling pretty stiff, hair saturated with the heavy dew and generally shaky, but after a good wash at a running brook near by, and a bountiful supply of muddy coffee, were as bright and active as ever. This morning we got many particulars of the approaching campaign; it seems we are to move forward to Centreville, where the rebel army is in position; attack, and if possibly, destroy it, and so end the rebellion. We formed column, and marched soon after breakfast, with bands playing, and colors flying, in a happy frame of mind, without a thought of danger or failure. Nothing barred our progress until we approached Fairfax Court House. Here we found the roads blockaded by felled trees, and it required considerable time to remove the obstructions; shortly afterwards our advance guard exchanged shots with the enemy’s mounted videttes, and a strong line of skirmishers was thrown out, which soon cleared the way and we entered the town in great spirits, the rebels retiring as we advanced, leaving behind them a good many stores, and their flag flying from a pole in front of the court house; it was a blue cross on a red ground, with white stars on the bars. Our men quickly hauled it down and ran up the Stars and Stripes amidst vociferous cheering. The place is a wretchedly dirty, straggling little village, now almost deserted; all the men, and most of the well to do women gone, the best houses generally being deserted. Many of the women stood in the doorways watching us march past, and I am sure, I never saw so many poor, ill fed, dirty looking creatures in my life before. They are what they call poor whites here, and seem hopelessly tired out; they acted ugly, evidently considering us enemies. I fear they had cause subsequently, as many of our men acted like barbarians. We halted, stacked arms, and rested in the main street of the village. As soon as ranks were broken, the men made a dash for the large houses, plundering them right and left; what they could not carry away, in many cases, they destroyed; pianos were demolished, pictures cut from their frames, wardrobes ransacked, and most of the furniture carried out into the street. Soon the men appeared wearing tall hats, women’s bonnets, dresses, etc., loaded down with plunder which they proceeded to examine and distribute, sitting on sofas, rocking chairs, etc., in the middle of the dusty street. What was not considered portable, or worth keeping, was smashed and destroyed; in this general sack the deserted houses came in for most attention, few of those having any one in charge being molested, and I did not hear of any personal indignities. It seemed strange to me the men desired mementoes of something we did not have to fight for, and I took no part or interest in the business. This was Fairfax’s first taste of war at the hands of the enemy, and it must have been decidedly bitter.

We went into bivouac just in front of the town, with headquarters in the village. It seemed as though we had men enough in the encampment to overrun the whole world. If it were not for the numerous trains of wagons needed to supply us, how quickly we could finish up this war. This second bivouac was in all respects similar to the first.

It is reported that General Beauregard, commanding the rebel army, has taken a position just beyond Centreville, and is awaiting our approach, intending to give battle; also that they are strongly intrenched behind breast works and rifle pits. We are told too, that the woods are full of masked batteries, commanding the roads over which we must march, and it looks now as though we should have some severe fighting in a few hours’ time. It does not yet seem really like war, and it is hard to believe we shall actually have a battle, I suppose one good action will enable us to realize the requirements necessary to make a good soldier, and prove our usefulness, or otherwise, as nothing else will; I hope we may prove equal to the emergency.

Reveille the next morning sounded at daybreak, and soon afterwards we were enroute for Centreville, distant about eight miles; the day was very hot and there was much straggling, many of the men proving poor walkers; at intervals we halted to give time for the advance guard to properly reconnoiter, and also to rest the men, so that we did not arrive in front of our objective point till 1 P. M. ; one trouble was the complete blockade of the road by wagons and artillery, obliging the infantry to take to the fields on either side of them, this causing much delay. I was in good condition, and did not mind the fatigue at all. Arriving at Centreville we found no enemy, but a little squalid, wretched place, situated on rising ground overlooking a good deal of the surrounding country. The column turned out to the right and left, forming a line of battle facing almost west, stacked arms, and lay down to await developments. Three regiments of infantry were shortly afterwards sent ahead to reconnoiter, and about a mile in front commenced exchanging shots at long range with the enemy’s pickets; as they advanced, they brought on quite a little fight, in which some of the rebel batteries joined for the first time. We saw the white puffs from the cannon, and watched with breathless interest this first evidence of actual hostilities. Presently an aide came back for reinforcements, and two other regiments were ordered to advance, but had hardly started, when General McDowell coming on the ground, ordered the advance to be discontinued for the present, and the troops withdrawn. We had four men killed outright, and several wounded in this first baptism of fire, which of course, produced great excitement, in the rear, especially when the ambulance with the wounded came in. We knew now there was more to be done than simply marching, and bivouacking, and began to feel a little curious, but still equal to the task, and sure of giving a good account of ourselves.’ We remained in position the rest of the day and night, watching during the evening the long lines of dust far away to the right and front, which is said to indicate the arrival of reinforcements for the enemy.

This morning we hear the rebel army is posted in a commanding position along the Bull Run stream, deep in many places, but having numerous fords. The rebel general, Johnson, has joined from Winchester, which explains the long dusty lines seen last evening. General McDowell, it is said, intends resting our army for a day or two here, in the mean time ascertaining the exact position of the rebels; we are not at all in need of rest, and I don’t see why we cannot go right ahead, but I suppose it is none of our business to speculate on the conduct of affairs. The wagons are now separately parked, so is the artillery, and the infantry placed so that the color line instantly becomes a line of battle in case of necessity. If the rebs would only come and attack us, how we should warm them.

July 18th. To-day great droves of beef cattle were driven into camp and slaughtered, and three days’ cooked rations prepared, and issued to all the troops; we got enough to completely fill our haversacks, and load us down uncomfortably. Nothing occurred during the day worth mentioning, the band played frequently while we cleaned our muskets, filled our cap pouches and cartridge boxes, and otherwise prepared for the great battle so near at hand. The camp is full of rumors, but nothing trustworthy.

July i9th and 20th.—Nothing worthy of especial mention the last two days; reports say the rebels are seventy thousand strong, with ten thousand additional men near at hand, strongly posted behind the run, with all commanding points well fortified. We have made many reconnoisances and find the enemy’s position in front and left too strong for direct attack and so the plan now is to move the bulk of the army, under cover of the thick woods, to the right, and attack in earnest; in the mean time, making demonstrations directly in front, and on the left, with force enough to take advantage of any weakness that may be discovered. All the preliminary arrangements are made, and we are entirely prepared. Saturday night taps sounded as usual at nine o’clock and we all tucked ourselves under the blankets and lay down for a good night’s sleep; we had hardly got comfortably fixed, when we were ordered to get up and fall in silently. We got up wondering what was the occasion of this nocturnal disturbance, but quietly rolled and slung our blankets, fell into line, and answered to the roll call. We were ready to start by twelve o’clock but those ahead of us did not get out of our way till nearly two o’clock, so we sat down in the ranks and waited our turn. It was a brilliant moonlight night, and we could see the long line of flashing bayonets filing off to the right, looking like an immense silver sea serpent. From Centreville to Fairfax court house, all the troops were in motion, and where an hour before everything was quiet and still, now the ground trembled with the tramp of armed men, and innumerable horses. We stepped out promptly at last, glad to be in motion,; taking the Warrington road through Centreville, we marched some distance, then turned off to the northward, on a wood road, and were hid from view by the dark, gloomy shadows of a pine forest. Everyone knew the object of the movement, and was anxious to get well in rear of the rebel left before daylight, and take him by surprise. For nearly three hours, our march lay through the dark pines; finally about break of day, we emerged into open fields, and saw away off to the front and right the Bull Run and Blue Ridge mountains, with pleasant fields, and shady woods, laying quietly at their feet. It was so still and peaceful that it was hard to believe this beautiful Sunday morning we were going to fight a battle.

We halted now awhile, giving the stragglers a chance to come up, and all of us a much needed rest, as we were very much fatigued, besides being hungry, and longed to make some coffee, but the orders were imperative, no fires! no noise! very shortly, several shots were fired directly in our front, the bugles sounded the assembly and we fell in; the First and Second Rhode Island regiments were deployed in line of battle, and with a regiment of regular cavalry out as flankers, and several companies of infantry deployed as skirmishers in front advanced in the direction of the firing, we following in column, well closed up, a short distance in rear, a battery moving immediately in our front. The stately and well ordered advance to our first battle was most impressive. Not a word was spoken, every man busy with his own emotions and trying to do his duty.

CHAPTER IV

“Ah me! what perils do environ,  The man that meddles with cold iron.”— THE BATTLE OF BULL RUN IN WHICH WE FIGHT AND WIN AND RUN AWAY

IN the order prescribed by the regulations, for a force feeling the enemy preparatory to an attack, we marched forward, passing over the open field and into a piece of full grown timber, apparently the slope of a considerable hill. As we slowly ascended the rising ground, suddenly a loud screeching noise overhead sent more than half the regiment pell mell the other side of a fence that ran along the road side. Here we crouched down flat on our bellies, our hearts in our mouths, just as a shell exploded a little beyond us. It was from the rebel batteries in front, and the first any of us had ever heard, and it certainly did seem a terrible thing, rushing through the air like an immense sky rocket, then bursting into a thousand pieces, carrying death and destruction to everything in its course. The stampede was only momentary, but very funny; the boys jumped back again; in fact, almost as quickly as they had dispersed, and then stood steady in the ranks, watching the advance of the Rhode Islanders. When the latter had emerged into the clearing, beyond the woods, our regiment wheeled to the right, into line of battle, and followed the advancing line. In the meantime, several shells came over the woods, generally passing far to the rear before bursting, doing no harm other than making us a little nervous. Just as we emerged from the woods, the Rhode Islanders reached the crest of the hill and immediately opened fire, and the rattle of musketry became so heavy we could hear no commands, and the smoke so thick, we could see nothing at all in front; away off to the right, however, we saw little white puffs of smoke, indicating the position of the rebel batteries, which began to drop their shells about us, much to our confusion; while we were peering into the dense smoke in front, wondering how the enemy looked, an order came directing us to move forward and go into action. We marched immediately, reached the crest of the hill, and amid the rattle of musketry, the booming of guns, and screeching of shells, lay down and commenced firing. Before we had time to get well at work, along came Griffith’s light battery at full gallop, scattering the right of our regiment badly; we got together again as quickly as possible, but were five and six files deep, narrowing the front of the regiment, and rendering about half of us useless. I was in this struggling crowd, and with many others, tried hard to get the line straightened out, but the objection many of the fellows had to take the front rank prevented our doing much of anything, so I crept up to the front, determined at least to get a sight of the enemy, and a shot if possible. I soon reached a position where I could look over the hill, and there sure enough, nearly at the bottom, just in front of a clump of trees, stood a long line of rebel infantry firing away at our men. I took a shot immediately, and then loaded and fired as quickly as I could, very much excited, but now not at all afraid, except of the men in rear who persisted in firing over our heads, although they could see nothing to fire at, and stood no possible chance of hitting anything, except the back of our heads, which was not comfortable to think of. The musket balls whistled around us, and every now and then, one of our fellows dropped his gun and rolled over, shot; however, the noise of the musketry, and booming of the cannon, drowned all cries, and kept up the excitement, so that we thought only of firing and trying to hit somebody. We lay in this position a good while, keeping up a rattling fire, when the order was passed along the line to stand up and fire; the regiment jumped to its feet, just as a wild unearthly yell rung out below, and the rebel line dashed forward, charging directly up the hill at us. We had a beautiful chance now and blazed away into the advancing line without let or hindrance, but still they came on until some of them got within thirty yards of us, and I really thought they were going to reach us and give us a chance to bayonet them, but suddenly they hesitated, then turned back, and ran away. Now we yelled, and together with our boat howitzers, poured a rattling fire into them, killing and wounding a good many; they ran until they reached the woods, then reformed, and actually tried it again, but this second attempt was a mere farce. The batteries shelled them until they completely disappeared, leaving us in undisputed possession of the field. Our fighting was done and very soon we were relieved by the Sixty-ninth New York and a New Hampshire regiment, who followed up the enemy, while we fell back to the edge of the woods, stacked arms, and answered to roll call. We had lost seventeen men killed outright, and forty wounded; all the rest were accounted for; we then buried the dead and carried such of the wounded as had not already been cared for back to the field hospital, after which we compared notes and congratulated each other on the success of the fight. There served with us throughout the whole fight a tall, elderly gentleman, wearing plain clothes and a tall silk hat, in the front rank, who loaded and fired away in the most deliberate manner, apparently wholly indifferent to danger; he must have done a good deal of execution, as the excitement did not seem to affect him in the least. They say he is a noted abolitionist, and desired to do his share in the field, as well as in the forum; I am sorry I cannot remember his name. With a regiment of such men as he, what might we not have done ?

Soon after we retired, General McDowell rode up, dressed in full uniform, including white kid gloves, and told us we had won a great victory, and that the enemy were in full retreat; we cheered him vociferously, and felt like veritable heroes.

The enemy having disappeared, some of us concluded to walk over the battle field, see how it looked, and pick up something as a souvenir of the fight. The Sixty-ninth and Seventy-ninth New York and the splendid line of the marine corps, in their white cross belts, were moving without opposition, away off to the right, apparently intending to follow the enemy to Richmond. Butler and I strolled down the hill side, and were soon amongst the dead and dying rebels, who up to this time had been neglected. What a horrible sight it was! here a man, grasping his musket firmly in his hands, stone dead; several with distorted features, and all of them horribly dirty. Many were terribly wounded, some with legs shot off; others with arms gone, all of them, in fact, so badly wounded that they could not drag themselves away; many of the wretches were slowly bleeding to death, with no one to do anything for them. We stopped many times to give some a drink and soon saw enough to satisfy us with the horrors of war; and so picking up some swords, and bayonets, we turned about and retraced our steps. Suddenly a minnie ball whistled past us, making the dust fly just in front, where it lodged; we thought it must be from some of our men mistaking us for rebels, and so hurried along to join our regiment when, nearly at the summit of the hill, a whole volley of musket balls whizzed about us, one of them striking my companion, who dropped to the ground as though he had been killed, and I really thought he was; in looking him over, I found he was shot through the knee and quite unable to stand, or walk; promising to bring him assistance, I started on the run, found the regiment, and with several good fellows quickly returned, picked up our comrade and carried him to the rear, and left him with the surgeons. This turn in affairs greatly puzzled everybody, and the only conclusion arrived at was, that some of our troops had mistaken us for the enemy. About half an hour after this, our attention was attracted to the distant hills and open ground by long lines of infantry extending across the whole face of the battle ground; the sound of distant musketry came floating along, followed by an occasional cannon shot. Presently the lines grew more distinct, finally developing into well defined lines of battle, marching in our direction; everybody was now alert; wondering what was going to happen; at last the glittering bayonets, reflecting the summer sun, were easily distinguished, and there was no longer a doubt but what the rebels had reformed, and with new forces were going to renew the fighting. The musketry increased and several batteries opened in our direction, but there were no indications on our part of making any resistance to the rapidly advancing foe; so far as we could see over the wide extended fields, not a single line of battle on our side was in position; the regiments about us had been gradually withdrawing, until few were left. All the guns had gone, except our two howitzers, and there was no general officer on the ground. As the long line came nearer and nearer, Colonel Martin ordered us to fall in, and with muskets in hand, we stood, simply watching the gradual approach of this overwhelming force, and the disappearance of our troops; wondering what had become of all the masses of men we not long ago thought numerous enough to thrash the world; now there was nobody left, and our colonel at length ordered us to counter march to the rear, and follow the crowd. We still supposed there was a new line forming in rear of us, and that in the confusion, our regiment had escaped attention, consequently, at first were not much alarmed, but as we continued going to the rear and saw no signs of fresh dispositions, we came to the conclusion we were running away, following the route we had marched over with so much confidence in the morning; presently we came up with the rear of the troops that had preceded us, but looked in vain for new defensive dispositions. Everywhere was hurry and confusion, the wagons and batteries filled the roads, while the men spread out on either side, gradually losing their formations and fast becoming reckless. There was no rear guard, nor any arrangements for holding the enemy in check, and if they really had appeared, they might have captured us all without difficulty. Now every one was anxious to be first, and so by degrees, the men of various regiments got mixed up together, and thus, finding themselves without officers, accelerated their steps until at last it became a precipitate flight to the rear.

In the course of the afternoon, when the woods were one mass of men, without a semblance of order, a report spread that the Black Horse cavalry were advancing! instantly, every man of us backed up to a tree, and it was really wonderful how almost instantaneously the woods seemed clear of men; with three or four of us around a tree, bayonets fixed, awaiting in fearful suspense, we looked quite formidable, but were in fact, very weak kneed.

After waiting a time, and seeing nothing of the foe, we spread out again, hurrying along to get across the Bull Run stream. By this time the men were throwing away their blankets, knapsacks, and many of them their guns, in order to fly the faster; and when the enemy began shelling the woods we were in, the panic was complete, and all semblance of order was lost; at a bridge where the ambulances were crossing, several shells burst in succession, completing the disaster. Confusion became confounded; men, horses, mules, wagons, ambulances, and batteries were inextricably mixed together, and the mass rushed forward, abandoning everything in their flight; in many cases, the drivers of wagons and ambulances cut loose their teams and galloped to the rear, leaving their wagons and contents to block the road, thus cutting off all chance for escape for those in rear of them. On the bridge over the Bull Run were several ambulances, filled with wounded men, so jammed together that none of them could move. Some shells from the enemy’s guns dropped in amongst them, killing some of the wounded, scaring away the drivers, and effectually blockading the bridge for good. The panic was complete. The wounded, deserted in the ambulances, yelled for succor in vain; the whole crowd were utterly demoralized. Colonel Martin and the regiment up to this time had kept tolerably well together, but here the general frenzy took possession of us, too, and the cry of “every man for himself, and the devil take the hindmost,” was the only rule observed.

About the stream, the loss of material was immense; our two boat howitzers were abandoned here, after doing very effective service. There were hundreds of wagons, ambulances, forges, guns, muskets, myriads of blankets, knapsacks and every kind of accoutrement; the ground, in fact, being literally covered with material, the men throwing away indiscriminately all that they had to facilitate their flight. When we arrived at the stream the bridge was completely blockaded, so we took to the water with the crowd, and found it nearly up to our waists; we were almost dying with thirst and stopped to drink and fill our canteens; the water was liquid mud, but more precious to us just then than gold; standing amongst myriads of men and horses, I drank and drank, until I must have swallowed at least a quart; it did refresh us amazingly; we had marched all the previous night; fought all the morning, and had been running away all the afternoon, with nothing at all to eat since the evening before, and as- the heat was intense, and the dust horrible, one may imagine our condition.

It did us good to see many batteries boldly ford the run, descending the steep bank and climb the opposite side in a most business like manner. I can truthfully say up to this time none of us had seen or heard of a general officer or aidde-camp nor any one making any effort to stem the tide of disorder south of the stream.

After crossing the river, the crowd kept on in just the same disorder; but, as they got more fatigued they threw away more of their equipment, and so by degrees, about onehalf of them threw away their arms, as well as clothing. Amongst the infantry, there was no longer a pretense of formation; the crowd scattered over a wide area of fields and roads, observing only one rule, of keeping in the direction of Washington. As our organization fell to pieces at the run, half a dozen of us agreed for our own safety to stick together at all hazards, retain our arms and accoutrements, and pretend we were soldiers. The country was now open, giving an extended view of the situation as far as we could see; to the right and left, crowds of men, wagons and guns, all mixed together, were hurrying along spread all over the country.

We trudged along wearily enough, at last reaching Centreville, and then sat down to rest and eat, expecting the crowd would do the same, but their fears still urged them forward, and they surged through, and around the village, in one continuous mass of disorder. We rested about an hour, then started ahead again, keeping along with the crowd still as dense as ever. Not long after passing Centreville, the crowd in front suddenly halted as if by magic; right in front, drawn up in battle array, stretched a long dark line of infantry, completely blocking the way; to our disordered imagination there could be but one explanation, the enemy had in some way gotten in our rear, and cut us off; no man dared to advance, and for a time we were motionless, lost in amazement. Presently the men on the extreme right began a movement to slip around the flank, hoping in this way to elude the new danger; but just then several mounted men rode forward, and announced the troops in front as friends, being in fact, a line of New Jersey troops, formed to stem the surging tide of disorder, by offering a shelter, sufficiently strong to restore confidence. What a relief it was! we were now safe from pursuit, and could rest our weary feet. We marched along with the crowd, passed through the new line, and sat down, intending to go no further, utterly exhausted and demoralized. We threw ourselves on the ground, and watched with much anxiety, the efforts made to stop the fugitives. Staff officers, cavalrymen, and infantry, all exerted themselves strenuously to halt the crowd, and form them anew, in rear of the fresh men, but without success; the crowd continued pressing to the rear determined only to stop, under the forts at Washington. We remained till after dark getting a little rest, but keeping our eyes on the Jerseymen. About eight o’clock two of the regiments near us were ordered back to Vienna, so we fell in with them, and continued our retreat from this point, in much better company. We marched wearily along, foot sore, and since night set in, extremely nervous. In every piece of woods through which we marched we heard the dreaded sighing of the minnie ball, and saw dark shadowy forms, which took the shape of Black Horse Cavalry. We knew better, but our nerves gave out, I expect, and we could not help ourselves. As everything in life must come to an end sooner or later, so this trying march to Vienna ended also, something after midnight. The Jerseymen turned into a field to the right of the road, formed in close column of division, stacked arms, and lay down and slept. We begged some bread of them; half a loaf each, which we lost no time in eating, then lay down and slept. We had no covering, as our regiment was ordered to remove their blankets before the fight, and never had a chance to get them again, but we slept for all that, and only waked, after a vigorous shaking; about three o’clock in the morning, the Jerseymen were ordered to fall back on account of the advancing enemy, and there was nothing else to be done but go with them. What unwelcome news! My feet were so covered with blisters, and swollen, that at first I could not stand on them, and it seemed out of the question to use them at all, but we had heard of the guerillas, and feared capture, so were bound to move. I tore my pocket handkerchief into strips and bound each toe, separately; the soles, and heels, and in that shape started off; at first I could scarcely stand, but, as my feet warmed up they felt better, and I was able to keep up with the regiment, until we got to within about seven miles of Washington. There we parted with the Jerseymen, and went to a farm house, where after much parleying, we hired a man to carry us to the long bridge, for fifty cents apiece. As soon as the springless wagon was hitched up, we jumped in, and felt that our troubles were all over. In due time we arrived before the tete de pont at the long bridge, paid and dismissed our farmer friend, and started to cross over, but the sentry stopped us and refused to let us cross. The sergeant of the guard was deaf to our entreaties, and we fell back in dismay; presently, someone suggested that, by taking the tow path to the Georgetown bridge, about three miles up the river, we could cross, and so, nothing daunted by the pouring rain, we started off and for two hours struggled over the worst road, in the worst weather, imaginable. When we arrived, we were disgustingly covered with red clay mud, from head to foot, and altogether in a pitiful condition; filled with anxiety, we went up to the bridge and found a regiment apparently going over, and so fell in rear of it, but when nearly up to the entrance, it filed off to the right, leaving us in the lurch once more. Nothing remained now but to go up boldly and ask permission to cross, which we did, and were delighted when told to go ahead; we lost no time in passing the guard, and with light hearts, but dreadfully weary feet, trudged along, and were soon across and looking out for some means of getting to the Navy Yard, many miles away. Very soon afterward a couple of gentlemen rushed up to us, grasped us by the hand, and hustled us into a carriage; they said they were New Yorkers and had heard all about the gallant behavior of the Seventy-first, and that they were there for the express purpose of taking care of some of the boys. They were full of sympathy, and took great interest in us, and so we began to think a little better of ourselves. They took us to the Metropolitan Hotel, where they ordered dinner, wine, etc., and made us sit down, wet and muddy as we were, and eat and drink. It was wonderful how we recovered under this generous treatment, and in a couple of hours, were so refreshed that we took leave of our fellow townsmen with many and hearty thanks, and went straight to the Navy Yard, almost falling asleep on the way.

Arriving, I found my companion Dodd occupying our old bunk in tranquil security, not having heard of the misfortune that had befallen the army. He came to the rescue, and like the good fellow he was, never ceased till I was encased in dry clothes, and snugly packed away in my old place, and fast asleep.

July 23d. I awoke after a long, refreshing sleep, very stiff, and feet badly blistered, but, after a cold bath at the hydrant, and a cup of coffee, felt quite myself again.

Many men have returned but not enough to complete the organization, so we were not required to perform any duty. The first thing I did was to clean my musket, and belts, then my clothes, and by noon time had everything in good order; then Dodd and I dressed up in our best clothes, and walked to the city, first going to the telegraph office, where we had to wait a long time for our turn, to notify our families at home that we were not killed, wounded, or missing; this done, we spent the day in town, looking up our men, and getting all the news we could of the situation, now considered extremely critical. The forts have been manned, and all the available troops placed in position to defend the capitol.

July 25th. Nearly all the men are back again to-night, and military duty is to be resumed to-morrow, but our three months have expired, and we are ordered back to New York to be mustered out of service. The President has called for three hundred thousand men to serve for three years, or the war. The country is just beginning to realize the magnitude of the undertaking, and the first thing it is going to do is to organize a regular army, which will last at least for three years. Our views of war are somewhat modified by the past three months’ experience, but I am determined to return, and under more favorable conditions, try to find that exaltation and glory that I have always associated with arms.

We shall go home and refit for a long period, organize and discipline an army, and when officers and men have learned to adjust themselves to their new positions, and know each other and their duties thoroughly, then commence afresh, and go on to victory, or sustain defeat with dignity. The cause is just as great to-day as it was the day we left New York, and, while we have been temporarily overthrown, there is no cause for despondency. We shall as certainly win in the end, as though we had never seen, or heard, of the disastrous battle of Bull Run.

For myself, I have served in the ranks for the last time; and shall go home and apply at once for a commission in some of the regiments now forming to serve for three years or the war, which will be more to my taste than serving in the ranks.

Two days after the regiment returned to the yard it was ordered home by rail, going by way of South Amboy, and landed at pier 1, North River; from thence it marched up Broadway to the armory on Centre Street. Depositing our arms and accoutrements, we were dismissed till the 30th of July, when the regiment was mustered out of service and paid off, and so ended our first campaign.

[Josiah Marshall Favill, The Diary of a Young Officer Serving with the Armies of the United States During the War of the Rebellion, pp. 26-41]








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