#90 – Col. Thomas G. Bacon

22 02 2008

 

Report of Col. Thomas G. Bacon, Seventh South Carolina Infantry (July 20 to 21, including Mitchell’s Ford)

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp 528-530

HDQRS. SEVENTH SOUTH CAROLINA VOLUNTEERS,

July 26, 1861

GENERAL: In obedience to Special Order, No. –, issued from your headquarters, dated 23d July, I proceed to give you a detail of the operations of the Seventh Regiment South Carolina Volunteers, under my command, from the 17th instant to the 24th inclusive:

About sunrise of the 17th instant the picket of the Seventh Regiment, stationed on the Flint Hill road, three miles above Fairfax Court-House, was fired into by the enemy’s advance guard, and retreated without loss. Immediately as this information was received I ordered the tents struck and the baggage train loaded. By 9 a.m. the train was ready, and ordered to move to Centreville, thence to their camp half a mile beyond Bull Run Creek, in the direction of Manassas.

At 8.30 a.m. I marched the Seventh Regiment to the trenches, as ordered, and remained there until near noon, when the enemy had approached within cannon range of our embankments, presenting as they approached several lines of battle, fronting from one to three regiments. Before an attack was made the Seventh regiment was ordered to retreat to Centreville, crossing from the Fairfax to the Braddock road. We reached Centreville at 2 p.m., where we remained as a regiment of vedettes until 1 o’clock a.m. of the 18th, when, marching orders being received, we again retreated quietly and in good order to Bull Run, arriving at the run at 3 a.m. Immediately the Seventh Regiment began intrenching, and in a few hours were securely protected against musketry.

Quite early on the morning of the 18th instant the enemy appeared on the northwest side of the Centreville road, about twelve hundred yards distant. By 9 a.m. they had located their batteries, and forthwith commenced throwing shot and shell against the embankments behind which the Seventh Regiment was located. Random firing was kept up against this and adjacent points during the day, and until the close of the battle fought by General Longstreet’s Brigade on Bull Run, just to the right of the Seventh Regiment. The pieces directed against our embankments seemed to be rifled and 6 pounder cannon, throwing 12-pound conical shell and 6 pound round balls.

During the 19th and 20th instants nothing of material interest occurred, and we continued strengthening our position. In the mean time the enemy were constantly in sight at the point they first appeared. Occasionally the pickets of the Seventh Regiment would approach within firing distance of the enemy’s outposts, and a few of the enemy’s pickets were captured or killed by the pickets of the Seventh Regiment South Carolina Volunteers.

Throughout Sunday, the 21st instant, batteries, near the same locality they were on the 18th, continued firing at the embankments on Bull Run. The shot and shell were the same as those of the 18th, but thrown with less accuracy. At 5.30 p.m. the Seventh Regiment, with other regiments, were ordered from their intrenchments to charge, if necessary, the batteries on the Centreville road; but before they reached the top of the hill the batteries were withdrawn and the enemy were in full retreat, leaving scattered along the road and in the forest on both sides what appeared to be their entire camp equipage. We pursued but a short distance, being recalled by dusk to our intrenchments on Bull Run.

At 8 a.m. on the 22d instant the Seventh Regiment, with other portions of the First Brigade, were ordered to march on to Centreville. There we remained during the day, assisting in collecting the myriads of articles the enemy had abandoned, with which the earth around Centreville seemed literally covered. Throughout this day the rain fell constantly and often very heavily. From 8 to 11 p.m. of the 22d the soldiers of the Seventh Regiment were arriving, much wearied and fatigued, at their intrenchments on Ball Run, which post they again left on Tuesday, 23d, at 12 m., or shortly thereafter. At 2 p.m. they reached Centreville, encamping in the forest immediately southwest of the village. At 8 p.m. they were ordered to move again, and before 9 p.m. were en route for Vienna via Germantown. From Bull Run to Centreville is about three and a half miles; from Centreville to Germantown about six miles, and perhaps a little farther from Germantown to Vienna. The Seventh Regiment reached Vienna about half hour of sunup in the morning of the 24th, where they are now encamped.

During the week, from the 17th instant to the 24th instant inclusive, no accident occurred with the Seventh Regiment, nor were any lives lost, none of its members being missing up to date. Since the 17th instant the ranks of the Seventh Regiment have been considerably reduced by the prevalence of the measles; otherwise the general health of the regiment is good.

I am general, very respectfully, yours, &c.,

THOS. G. BACON,

Colonel, Commanding Seventh Regiment S.C. Volunteers

General G. T. BEAUREGARD,

Commanding First Corps, Army of the Potomac





#89 – Col. J. H. Williams

22 02 2008

 

Report of Col. J. H. Williams, Third South Carolina Infantry

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp 257-258

VIENNA, VA., Camp Gregg, August 3, 1861

I have the honor to report that on the morning of the 21st I was reminded of the presence of the enemy by his iron messengers, which fell in rapid succession just in the rear of my lines. After the action of the 18th I had caused strong earthworks to be thrown up and the undergrowth in front to be cut away, which preparations, together with the fine natural advantages of the ground I occupied, made my position formidable to an attack.

Learning that the enemy were deploying in front, I kept my men constantly under arms in the trenches, fully assured that the center would be the point of attack. Heavy artillery soon afterwards heard to my left indicated that another direction had been chosen, but their fire, still kept up at intervals on my lines, encouraged the first supposition. This irregular fire continued throughout the day, each repetition renewing the assurance that an attack would follow. But in this we were doomed to suspense. Their fiery missiles wasted their fury in the air above or buried themselves in the forest in front of us, a few of them falling against the embankments.

At 5 o’clock p.m. I was ordered to move forward and attack the enemy in front. The order was promptly obeyed, and my regiment put immediately in motion. I crossed the stream at Mitchell’s Ford and moved up the ravine to the left of the road. On approaching the woods from which the enemy had been saluting us I deployed Captain Nance’s company as skirmishers, Who moved in double-quick in advance of the regiment. I moved my command in quick time up to the enemy’s camp, of which they had taken a hasty leave, and deployed to the left of the road, the skirmishers still covering my front, in discharge of which duty four prisoners were taken; two others were taken by Captain Kennedy, all of whom were sent under guard to Manassas. Early in the night I returned under orders to my position at the run.

On the morning of the 22d I was ordered to proceed in the direction of Centreville, scour the woods, collect abandoned munitions and stores, and send them back to Manassas. A considerable quantity of quartermaster’s and commissary stores were obtained, and one wagon of officers’ private baggage, all of which were sent to headquarters. Late in the evening of the 22d I returned under orders to my original position.

In all the maneuvers of my regiment it affords me pleasure to acknowledge the active co-operation of Lieut. Col. B. B. Foster, Maj. L. M. Baxter, Adjt. W. D. Rutherford, and the officers and men under my command.

Your obedient servant,

J. H. WILLIAMS,

Colonel Third Regiment S.C. Volunteers

Brig. Gen. M. L. BONHAM,

Commanding First Brigade, Army of the Potomac





Kershaw’s Report

21 02 2008

Col. Joseph B. Kershaw’s regiment, the 2nd SC, captured the colors of the First Maine Infantry during the battle.  As noted in Kershaw’s report, the banner was adorned with the Maine state motto, Dirigo – a Latin word meaning “I Lead” or “I Direct”.  While some sources link this motto to the fact that Maine once was the only state to hold its elections in September, it seems more likely that its choice was associated with the Polar Star, which leads mariners on the open sea to safe harbor.  The word is part of the official seal of the state (below).

dirigo.gif

 

Kershaw also mentioned some bad behavior by Federal Zouaves:

The escape of so many of the zouaves to our rear was accomplished by their lying down, feigning to be dead or wounded, when we charged over them, and then treacherously turning upon us. They murdered one of our men in cold blood after he had surrendered, and one attempted to kill another of our number who kindly stopped to give him water, supposing him wounded.

There are lots of reports of less than honorable behavior by both sides at Bull Run, and I’ll have more to say about that later.  But for now, perhaps some confirmation of the above can be found in the Historical Sketch of the Nottaway Grays, afterwards Company G, 18th Virginia Regiment, Army of Northern Virginia.  The 18th was part of Cocke’s Brigade, under Col. Withers, who is mentioned in Kershaw’s report as acting in concert with his command.  A future captain of the company, Richard Irby, wrote:

Soon the scene of the hottest part of the day’s battle was reached.  This was where Bee’s men had been driven back and the famous Stonewall Brigade had turned the tide.  Here the red-breeched Federals were lying thick, dead and wounded.  The first man killed in our Regiment was shot by one of these men as the line swept by him.  It was a spiteful act, and he did not live long to repent it, for as soon as he had fired, Major Cabell shot him down with his pistol.  This occurred in the thick pines.

The stories fit together.  The 18th VA and Kershaw’s command fought together.  Kershaw wrote his report five days after the battle, but Irby wrote his sketch in 1878.  And as discussed here, there’s a good bit of confusion surrounding the Zouaves of the 11th NY and the Chasseurs of the 14th Brooklyn.  Did Irby refer to the red-breeched Federals because that’s how he remembered it, or did he add it for effect?  Did Kershaw see Fire Zouaves of the 11th NY (who did not wear red pants), or did he see red trousered members of the 14th Brooklyn?

Beats me.

I haven’t been able to track down the identity of the Maj. Hill who brought the battalion of cavalry to Kershaw, or to whose staff he was attached.





#88 – Col. J. B. Kershaw

20 02 2008

 

Reports of Col. J. B. Kershaw, Second South Carolina Infantry

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp 522-527

HDQRS. SECOND PALMETTO REG’T S.C. VOLS.,

Vienna, Va. July 26, 1861

GENERAL: I have the honor to submit a report of the operations of the troops under my command in the engagement near stone bridge on the 21st instant:

About noon on that day I received an order to move to Lewis’ house, some three miles distant, to the support of Colonel Jackson’s brigade, then engaged with the enemy, with my own regiment, that of Colonel Cash, and Captain Kemper’s battery. These troops, with the exception of Captain Perryman’s company, of my regiment, were at once put on the march. As we neared the road it was perceived that the passage of troops, indicated to the enemy on the north side of Bull Run by the clouds of dust, had attracted a dangerous fire of rifled cannon, and I directed the march across the fields. Captain Kemper was directed to precede the column to Lewis’ and await my arrival.

Arrived in the vicinity of Lewis’, a large number of our troops were met returning in a disorganized condition, and giving the most unfavorable accounts of the aspect of affairs on the field. Colonel Miles, of General Beauregard’s staff, met me to hasten our march, and informed me that Hampton’s Legion had just engaged, and that the enemy had acquired a decided advantage.

Soon after orders were received from General Johnston to enter the field on the left of Lewis’. Turning to the left, we passed over a hill through a thicket of woods under a fire of shot and shell from a battery directly in the line of our march, which wounded several, and killed one of our men. Emerging from the wood into an old field, near a ravine, with rising ground in front, I formed line of battle preparatory to entering the field at a point which seemed to indicate the left of the line of fire, which was very heavy in front and constantly increasing, and which I supposed to be directed upon Hampton’s Legion.

Before Colonel Cash had got into position upon my left it was perceived that the firing had passed still farther to our left and covered the whole front of my regiment, rendering it necessary to move the whole command in that direction by a flank. This movement had just been made when the line of fire made a corresponding change; rendering a still further movement necessary to avoid what I supposed to be the line of our troops in front of us. I therefore broke to the right into column, marched to the left, and formed on right into line. When my regiment had formed, the men were made to lie down, to avoid the shower of balls which was passing over us while Colonel Cash was conforming to the movement.

At this moment the head of a regiment marching by a flank passed to the right of my regiment and partly over my right wing, led by an officer who was said to be General Smith. I immediately rode up to the officer, and desired him to form on the left of Colonel Cash. Before he could respond he received a ball in his left breast or shoulder, and his men commenced firing to their front and right into the wood from which the shot came, and formed hurriedly in front of my right wing.

Colonel Cash, having to form in a thick wood, had not yet got into line, when a staff officer gave me the valuable information that a road on my left, leading perpendicularly to the front from my line, would bring me into a flanking position upon the enemy. Desiring to avail myself of the position, I immediately ordered my regiment to the front in line, obliquing to the left, to avoid the regiment which had formed partly in front of my right, and directed Colonel Cash to follow as soon as possible. The left of my regiment rested on the road to which I have referred. Reaching a fence which skirted the wood in front of us, which I then found to be in full possession of the zouaves of the enemy, I ordered a charge, which was responded to by a shout from the whole regiment. They swept through the wood, broke and dispersed the zouaves, and opened a deadly fire upon them as they fled across the field, leaving behind them a battery of six steel rifled cannon, which was immediately in front of my right wing in the open ground. The fugitives rallied in a field on our left across the road by which we had directed our march, where a formidable force appeared strongly posted on a commanding eminence. I immediately changed front forward on my left company, occupying the road as my line of battle, which being washed out formed a ravine, giving cover to the men. Captain Rhett’s company, on the left wing, was thrown at an obtuse angle in the skirt of a wood which ran parallel to the line of the enemy. Colonel Cash arriving formed promptly on the left of Captain Rhett, gaining a direct fire from the wood upon the enemy in front, while my regiment had an enfilade fire upon their left flank. In this position a continuous fire was kept up by our whole line until the enemy were driven back and reformed upon the crest of the hill.

Affairs were in this condition when Captain Kemper reported his battery, and was ordered up and directed to take position on the hill by the captured battery, and to fire upon the flank of the enemy over the heads of my regiment in the road. Returning to execute the order he was taken prisoner by some of the fugitive zouaves in our rear and detained some minutes, but released by the timely arrival of some of our troops and his own address. He soon brought up his pieces and placed them in the position indicated, whence he poured a most destructive fire through the ranks of the enemy, who filled up their files with a regularity, steadiness, and precision worthy the ancient fame of the U.S. Regulars, of which it is believed that force was composed. Twice were they broken and twice they reformed, but, again driven from the hill, they fell back out of our fire. Captain Kemper then withdrew his battery to rest his men, having lost one killed, two wounded, and some of his horses.

During the heat of the engagement a single company of Marylanders, under Lieutenant Cummings, I am told, reported to me and asked for a position, which I gave them on my left, where they conducted themselves gallantly during the fight. Meantime the enemy occupied in great force an elevated ridge in front and to the right of us, about a half mile distant. No troops of ours being visible except the forces immediately under my command, and having received no order since I entered the field, I deemed it prudent to retain my position and rest the command for the present. Within a few minutes, however, I perceived a regiment emerging from the wood on the left of Colonel Cash, and advancing in admirable order up the slope to the hill recently occupied by the forces of the enemy whom we had driven off. I immediately advanced my whole command, moving my regiment by the right flank along the road, Colonel Cash in the field in line.  Arriving on the face of the hill towards the enemy, I formed line of battle to the left of the road.  Here I found Colonel Withers’ Virginia regiment on the hill to the right of road, to whom I communicated my purpose to form line and advance to the attack, and I asked his co-operation, to which he immediately acceded. With Colonel Withers’ command I found also the remnant of Hampton’s Legion, under Captain Conner, assisted by Captain Gary. Captain Conner reported to me and was assigned to my left.

As soon as the entire line was displayed evidences of movements became perceptible in the line of the enemy, and in a few moments they were in full retreat by the rear of their left flank. I then proposed to Colonel Withers to proceed towards the stone bridge with a view to cut them off, and forming to the right into column, Colonel Withers being in advance, we marched towards that point.

I detailed some of my men under General Johnson Hagood and Col. Allen J. Green, of South Carolina, who were doing duty in my regiment as volunteer privates, each to take charge of one of the captured guns and turn them on the enemy, while Captain Kemper took charge of two others, and they continued firing until ordered to desist by one of our general officers.

I directed my march along the turnpike to the stone bridge, while Colonel Withers turned to the right and entered the wood. He threw out a skirmishing company, who crossed below the bridge in advance, while my command was marched along the road. Arriving on the north side of Bull Run, a reserve of the enemy was seen occupying the wood in front with artillery, and I deployed line of battle in the field to the right of the road, Colonel Withers forming line in my rear. Here I sent Adjutant Sill to the rear to report to the first general officer he might meet with that I had occupied that position; that the enemy was in front, and that I awaited orders. He delivered his message to Colonel Chesnut, aide to General Beauregard, and returned.

In the mean time Major Hill, C. S. Army, of the staff of General ——, reported to me with a squadron of cavalry, under the command of Maj. John Scott, C. S. Army, and stated that General Beauregard authorized the pursuit of the enemy with a view to cut them off. I immediately formed column for the advance, when Surgeon Stone, U.S. Army, rode up and asked why I was retreating (mistaking us for friends). He was informed of his mistake, and sent to the rear as a prisoner, first informing me that the enemy were in force in our front. Throwing out the rifles of Captain Hoke (now under the command of Lieutenant Pulliam) and Captain Cuthbert to the right and left of the road, and the cavalry, accompanied by Major Hill, along the road, I moved by column of company along the right of the road towards Centreville. Arrived at the house on the hill which was occupied by the enemy as a hospital, having made many prisoners by the way, we found that a portion of our cavalry (Captains Wickham’s and Radford’s*) had had an engagement there with a battery of the enemy which they had taken, but had retired after being fired on by the heavy reserve corps which intervened between them and my command. This cavalry had come into the road by Lewis’ Ford, below the stone bridge, and neither of us knew of the position of the other until some time after. At this point Captain Radford, Virginia Cavalry, was found mortally wounded.

Here the enemy opened upon us a fire in front, and I again formed line of battle, my regiment and the cavalry on the right of the road in the wood with a field in front, the Hampton Legion as a reserve, and Colonel Cash in column on the left ready to deploy. Here a staff officer rode up and gave me an order from General Beauregard not to engage the enemy until re-enforcements arrived, stating that they were on the way. Soon after Captain Kemper overtook me with his battery, when I formed column with my regiment and the Legion on the right, Colonel Cash on the left, and the battery in the road. At the request of Major Hill he was permitted to go in advance with Captain Cuthbert’s company deployed as skirmishers, and in this order the whole column was moved on to the hill commanding the suspension bridge, where our skirmishers became engaged with the enemy. I directed Captain Kemper to unlimber two of his pieces on the hill and open fire on the enemy, while I deployed my regiment on the right with the Legion and retained Colonel Cash in column on the left. The main body of the enemy were retreating by the Sudley Ford road, which comes into the turnpike at the suspension bridge on the south side of the run. Captain Kemper fired from one gun on the column retreating by the former road and from the other along the turnpike.

The effect of the firing was most disastrous. The reserve which we were pursuing, meeting the main body of the enemy coming by the other road, just at the entrance of the bridge, completely blocked it, and formed a barricade with cannon, caissons, ambulances, wagons, and other vehicles, which were abandoned with horses and harness complete, while the drivers fled. Many of the soldiers threw their arms into the creek, and everything indicated the greatest possible panic. The venerable Edmund Ruffin, who fired the first gun at Fort Sumter, who, as a volunteer in the Palmetto Guard, shared the fatigues and dangers of the retreat from Fairfax Court-House, and gallantly fought through the day at Manassas, fired the first gun at the retreating column of the enemy, which resulted in this extraordinary capture.

At this point I received a peremptory order to return to Bull Bun and take my position at the stone bridge. Here also the skirmishers recaptured General Steuart, of Maryland, who had been for several hours in custody of the enemy. Reluctantly I ordered my command to return, but, directing Colonel Cash to remain, I went with a detachment of twenty Volunteers from his regiment to the bridge, where I found Lieutenant-Colonel Munford, with a portion of the Virginia Cavalry, extricating the valuable capture. They had arrived by the Sudley Ford road, having pursued the enemy from the battle-field, and came up to the bridge when Captain Kemper ceased firing. Here I remained until 10 o’clock at night, aiding Colonel Munford, when I returned to camp.

Colonel Cash’s regiment remained in position until 1 o’clock, when the most valuable of the captured articles had been secured and carried to the rear. I am informed that about thirty pieces of cannon were taken at this point. At the time when we were first ordered forward Captain Perryman had been sent with his command on scouting duty across Bull Run, and I dispatched my aide-de-camp, Mr. Edward Wallace, to conduct him to Lewis’. Arrived there, finding the regiment had entered the engagement, he went with Mr. Wallace in search of his comrades, but not being able to obtain any information of our position, he attached himself to Colonel Hays’ Louisiana regiment, and entered the fight in time to participate in the final charge and pursuit of the enemy on the Sudley Ford road. Captain Perryman reports himself as much indebted to Mr. Wallace for his efficient aid in conducting his company through the engagement, and particularly mentions his coolness and gallantry.

One of my personal aides, Mr. W. H. Hardy, was most serviceable during the engagement, gallantly bearing order after order with promptness and intelligence. Having been sent by me to conduct Colonel Preston’s regiment to a position on my left, he was shot in the breast at the head of that regiment before he had proceeded sixty yards, and died instantly. A youth of pure and gentle spirit, he evinced on the field the cool, self possessed heroism of the veteran soldier.

Mr. John A. Myers, private, Captain Casson’s company, mounted Mr. Hardy’s horse, and rendered me most efficient aid during the remainder of the day.

Mr. A. E. Doby, also of my staff, was most active in assisting me on the field, and was most conspicuously exposed. His gallantry and intelligence in conveying my orders deserve particular mention. Riding into a squad of some of the zouaves when sent to Captain Kemper, then in the rear, he preserved his life by promptly repeating a signal which he saw one of them use as he rode up.

Colonel Cash distinguished himself by his courageous bearing and his able and efficient conduct of his regiment during the whole day. He will particularly report the conduct of his command.

Captain Kemper, of the Alexandria Artillery, and all his officers and men, engaged as they were under my own eye, merit the most honorable mention in this report. To the efficiency of this battery I have no doubt we are chiefly indebted for the valuable capture of arms, stores, and munitions of war at the suspension bridge. Without this artillery they could not have been arrested.

It is difficult to discriminate among my own officers and men, since all engaged in the fight with enthusiastic bravery and spirit, and bore themselves with light-hearted and vivacious gallantry to the end.

Captain Hoke, bravely leading his company, which was flanked by the left wing of the zouaves, was severely wounded in the flint charge and borne from the field, was taken prisoner by the enemy, but soon rescued. His company was subsequently courageously led by Lieutenant Pulliam.

Captain Richardson was wounded early in the action, gallantly leading his company. Upon being sent to the rear he, too, was captured by the zouaves, but afterwards rescued. The escape of so many of the zouaves to our rear was accomplished by their lying down, feigning to be dead or wounded, when we charged over them, and then treacherously turning upon us. They murdered one of our men in cold blood after he had surrendered, and one attempted to kill another of our number who kindly stopped to give him water, supposing him wounded. The command of Captain Richardson’s company devolved upon Lieutenant Durant, who efficiently conducted it through the day.

Captain McManus was painfully wounded in the arm early in the engagement, but bravely led his company through the day.

Captain Wallace was slightly wounded in the face at the head of his company. Lieutenant Bell was also smack. Lieutenant De Pass was most dangerously and severely wounded in the head, in the hottest of the fight, after most gallantly conducting himself in his position with his company. Captain Kennedy was struck, but only bruised, by a ball in the side. Captains Casson, Haile, Cuthbert, and Rhett were uninjured, though bravely conspicuous, as were all the company officers, in rallying and cheering their men in the thickest of the fight.

To Lieutenant-Colonel Jones and Major Goodwyn I am much indebted for their efficient discharge of their important duties. The latter was particularly exposed from time to time, and bore himself with reckless courage. Captain Sill, adjutant, and Sergeant-Major Haile were active and efficient, and did good service in the fight, the former with his pistols and the latter with his musket.

Many individual instances of distinguished gallantry have been brought to my notice, but where the whole command have conducted themselves with courage, devotion, and spirit it would be unjust to particularize. So, too, incidents illustrating the gallantry and spirit of the whole regiment might be mentioned, but would swell this report to too great a length.

Dr. Salmond, surgeon, and Dr. Nott, his assistant, were on the field, courageously devoting themselves to the wounded, and the chaplain, Rev. E. J. Meynardie, was assiduous in his attention to our unfortunate comrades.

The regimental flag, gallantly borne by Sergeant Garden, was three times struck during the engagement, and one of the color guard was wounded. The flag of the Palmetto Guard, Captain Cuthbert, was struck four times, that of Captain Kennedy once, and Captain Wallace’s once.

Among the trophies taken by my regiment was the flag of the First Regiment, Second Brigade, Fourth Division, of the State of Maine, with its proud motto, “Dirigo,” and a small Federal ensign.

I would particularly mention the gallant conduct of the Rev. T. J. Arthur, whose rifle did good service, and that of Professor Venable, of South Carolina College, Capt. F. W. McMaster, Gen. Johnson Hagood, Col. Allen J. Green, Maj. J. H. Felder, Mr. Edward Felder, and Mr. Oscar Lieber, citizens of South Carolina, who fought in the ranks of volunteers with distinguished bravery and efficiency.

Accompanying this report I have the honor to inclose a list of the casualties of the day in my regiment, with a statement of the number engaged.(+)

I have the honor to be, general, respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. B. KERSHAW,

Colonel Second Regiment S. C. Volunteers, &c.

Brig. Gen. M. L. BONHAM,

Commanding First Brigade, &c.

(*) See second report, p. 527

+Embodied in No. 121, post.

—-

CAMP NEAR FAIRFAX COURT-HOUSE, August 22, 1861

GENERAL: If not improper, I would like to amend my official report of the battle of Manassas in the following respect:

In the paragraph where the names “Captains Wickham’s and Radford’s” occur in parenthesis insert “Powells and part of Captain Pitzer’s,” so that the whole passage in parenthesis will read thus: “(Captains Whickham’s, Radford’s, Powell’s, and part of Captain Pitzer’s).”

Only yesterday I learned that Captain Powell’s and part of Captain Pitzer’s company participated in the charge upon the battery near the hospital north of Bull Run.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. B. KERSHAW.

Colonel, Commanding Second Regiment, S. C. Volunteers

Brig. Gen. M. L. BONHAM,

Commanding First Brigade, &c.





Bizarre Reenactment

19 02 2008

jeff-davis.jpg  howell-cobb.jpg

Here’s a story about an unusual reenactment featuring descendants of the original participants (pictured above, Jefferson Davis and Howell Cobb).  There’s a video, too.

11/21/2009 – Guess I should explain since the link doesn’t take you anywhere anymore: the link was to a story about a reenactment of the swearing in of Jefferson Davis as president of the CSA.





Gettysburg Field Trip 2/16/2008

17 02 2008

This weekend I drove out to Gettysburg to meet up with friend Chris Army to attend a program he coordinated for an online, bulletin board discussion group.  (You can read Chris’s thoughts on the weekend here.)  I met Chris and Mike Waricher near the D-Shaped field of Farnsworth’s Charge fame, had a nice dinner at the Gingerbread Man, and turned in early.

On Saturday we met for breakfast at the Lincoln Diner with “Chaplain Chuck” Teague, a ranger at GNMP.  Then it was over to Valentine Hall at the Lutheran Theological Seminary for a four hour PowerPoint presentation on Lee’s Operational Plan at Gettysburg with GNMP ranger Lt. Col. (ret.) Bill Hewitt.  This was a follow up to a program Bill did last year on Meade’s Operational Plan.  Bill did a fine job, complete with maps, flow charts, and graphs in an attempt to dispel the notion that Gettysburg was a chance encounter of two armies groping blindly in the dark.

After that, we hit the battlefield, with stops on Oak Hill, Cemetery Hill (in the National Cemetery), and Culp’s Hill.  It was a little brisk, but otherwise bright and sunny and a good day for pictures.  Click on the thumbnails for a larger image.

Here’s Bill in action in the classroom: 

bill-hewitt.jpg

The group on Oak Hill and views of the first day’s field and Barlow’s Knoll from the same spot:  

group-on-oak-hill.jpg view-of-first-day-field-from-oak-hill.jpg view-of-barlows-knoll-from-oak-hill.jpg

The group in the National Cemetery (that’s Chris in the blue & white jacket on the left, looking at the camera), the First Minnesota Urn, and a view of Evergreen Cemetery:

group-in-cemetery.jpg 1st-mn-urn.jpg evergreen.jpg

A few views of Clio atop the monument of the 123rd NY and the line of monuments below her on Culp’s Hill:

123rd-ny.jpg clio-1.jpg clio-2.jpg culps-hill.jpg





Those who Make Holes, and Those who Close Holes Up

14 02 2008

 miles.jpgThe two preceding posts are the last from McDowell’s staff, Surgeon William S. King and artillery chief Major William F. Barry.  I’m intrigued by a reference in King’s report to an Acting Assistant Surgeon Miles, who during the action inquired of King as to the safety of his father.  Could it be that his father was the well lubricated Col. Dixon Miles (left), who was back at Blackburn’s Ford literally wearing two hats?  I haven’t been able to find an answer yet, but did run across a pretty amusing account in the New York Times from August 30, 1854.  Miles was on his way to New Mexico, and wrote from Fort Atkinson on the Arkansas River of his encounters with the Camanches and Ki-o-wags:

Some of the bucks offered me as high as ten dollars for my daughter, and I had an offer of the swap of a squaw for Mrs. M.  I declined both advantageous offers.

What a guy.





#15 – Maj. William F. Barry

14 02 2008

 

Report of Maj. William F. Barry, Fifth U.S. Artillery, Chief of Artillery

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp 345-348

ARLINGTON, VA., July 23, 1861

CAPTAIN: Having been appointed, by Special Orders, No. 21, Headquarters Department Northeastern Virginia, Centreville, July 19, 1861, chief of artillery of the corps d’armée commanded by Brigadier-General McDowell, and having served in that capacity during the battle of 21st instant, I have the honor to submit the following report:

The artillery of the corps d’armée consisted of the following-named batteries: Ricketts’ light company, I, First Artillery, six 10-pounder Parrott rifle guns; Hunt’s light company, M, Second Artillery, four light 12-pounders; Carlisle’s company, E, Second Artillery, two James 13-pounder rifle guns, two 6 pounder guns; Tidball’s light company, A, Second Artillery, two 6-pounder guns, two 12-pounder howitzers; Greene’s company, G, Second Artillery, four 10-pounder Parrott rifle guns; Arnold’s company, D, Second Artillery, two 13-pounder James rifle guns, two 6-pounder guns; Ayres’ light company, E, Third Artillery, two 10-pounder Parrott rifle guns, two 12-pounder howitzers, two 6-pounder guns; Griffin’s battery, D, Fifth Artillery, four 10-pounder Parrott rifle guns, two 12-pounder howitzers; Edwards’ company, G, First Artillery, two 20-pounder and one 30-pounder Parrott rifle guns. The Second Regiment Rhode Island Volunteers had with it a battery of six 13-pounder James rifle guns; the Seventy-first Regiment New York Militia two of Dahlgren’s boat howitzers, and the Eighth Regiment New York Militia a battery of six 6-pounder grins. The men of this last-named battery having claimed their discharge on the day before the battle because their term of service had expired, the battery was thrown out of service.

The whole force of artillery of all calibers was, therefore, forty-nine pieces, of which twenty-eight were rifle guns. All of these batteries were fully horsed and equipped, with the exception of the two howitzers of the Seventy-first Regiment New York Militia, which were without horses, and were drawn by drag-ropes, manned by detachments from the regiment.

General McDowell’s disposition for the march from Centreville on the morning of the 21st instant placed Tidball’s and Greene’s batteries (eight pieces) in reserve, with the division of Colonel Miles, to remain at Centreville; Hunt’s and Edwards’ (six pieces), with the brigade of Colonel Richardson, at Blackburn’s Ford; and Carlisle s, Ayres’, and the 30-pounder (eleven pieces), with the division of General Tyler, at the stone bridge; Ricketts’, Griffin’s, Arnold’s, the Rhode Island, and Seventy-first Regiment batteries (twenty-four pieces) accompanied the main column, which crossed Bull Run at Sudley Springs. As soon as this column came in presence of the enemy, after crossing Bull Run, I received from General McDowell, in person, directions to superintend the posting of the batteries as they severally debouched from the road and arrived upon the field.

The Rhode Island Battery came first upon the ground, and took up, at a gallop, the position assigned it. It was immediately exposed to a sharp fire from the enemy’s skirmishers and infantry posted on the declivity of the hill and in the valley in its immediate front, and to a well-sustained fire of shot and shell from the enemy’s batteries posted behind the crest of the range of hills about one thousand yards distant. This battery sustained in a very gallant manner the whole force of this fire for nearly half an hour, when the howitzers of the Seventy-first New York Militia came up, and went into battery on its left. A few minutes afterwards Griffin brought up his pieces at a gallop, and came into battery about five hundred yards to the left of the Rhode Island and New York batteries.

Ricketts’ battery came up in less than half an hour afterwards, and was posted to the left of and immediately adjoining Griffin’s.

The enemy’s right, which had been wavering from the moment Griffin opened his fire upon it, now began to give way throughout its whole extent and retire steadily, his batteries limbering up rapidly, and at a gallop taking up successively two new positions farther to his rear. The foot troops on our left, following up the enemy’s retiring right, soon left our batteries so far in our rear that their fire was over the heads of our own men. I therefore directed the Rhode Island Battery to advance about five hundred yards in front of its first position, accompanied it myself, and saw it open fire with increased effect upon the enemy’s still retiring right.

Returning to the position occupied by Ricketts’ and Griffin’s batteries, I received an order from General McDowell to advance two batteries to an eminence specially designated by him, about eight hundred yards in front of the line previously occupied by our artillery, and very near the position first occupied by the enemy’s batteries. I therefore ordered these two batteries to move forward at once, and, as soon as they were in motion, went for and procured as supports the Eleventh (Fire Zouaves) and the Fourteenth (Brooklyn) New York Regiments. I accompanied the former regiment, to guide it to its proper position, and Colonel Heintzelman, Seventeenth U.S. Infantry, performed the same service for the Fourteenth, on the right of the Eleventh. A squadron of U.S. cavalry, under Captain Colburn, First Cavalry, was subsequently ordered as additional support. We were soon upon the ground designated, and the two batteries at once opened a very effective fire upon the enemy’s left.

The new position had scarcely been occupied when a troop of the enemy’s cavalry, debouching from a piece of woods close upon our right flank, charged down upon the New York Eleventh. The zouaves, catching sight of the cavalry a few moments before they were upon them, broke ranks to such a degree that the cavalry dashed through without doing them much harm. The zouaves gave them a scattering fire as they passed, which emptied five saddles and killed three horses. A few minutes afterwards a regiment of the enemy’s infantry, covered by a high fence, presented itself in line on the left and front of the two batteries at not more than sixty or seventy yards’ distance, and delivered a volley full upon the batteries and their supports. Lieutenant Ramsay, First Artillery, was killed, and Captain Ricketts, First Artillery, was wounded, and a number of men and horses were killed or disabled by this close and well-directed volley. The Eleventh and Fourteenth Regiments instantly broke and fled in confusion to the rear, and in spite of the repeated and earnest efforts of Colonel Heintzelman with the latter, and myself with the former, refused to rally and return to the support of the batteries. The enemy, seeing the guns thus abandoned by their supports, rushed upon them, and driving off the cannoneers, who, with their officers, stood bravely at their posts until the last moment, captured them, ten in number. These were the only guns taken by the enemy on the field.

Arnold’s battery came upon the field after Ricketts’, and was posted on our left center, where it performed good service throughout the day, and by its continued and well-directed fire assisted materially in breaking and driving back the enemy’s right and center.

The batteries of Hunt, Carlisle, Ayres, Tidball, Edwards, and Greene (twenty-one pieces), being detached from the main body, and not being under my immediate notice during the greater portion of the day, I respectfully refer you to the reports of their brigade and division commanders for the record of their services.

The Army having retired upon Centreville, I was ordered by General McDowell in person to post the artillery in position to cover the retreat. The batteries of Hunt, Ayres, Tidball, Edwards, Greene, and the New York Eighth Regiment (the latter served by volunteers from Willcox’s brigade), twenty pieces in all, were at once placed in position, and thus remained until 12 o’clock p.m., when, orders having been received to retire upon the Potomac, the batteries were put in march, and, covered by Richardson’s brigade, retired in good order and without haste, and early next morning reoccupied their former camps on the Potomac.

In conclusion, it gives me great satisfaction to state that the conduct of the officers and enlisted men of the several batteries was most exemplary. Exposed throughout the day to a galling fire of artillery and small-arms: several times charged by cavalry, and more than once abandoned by their infantry supports, both officers and enlisted men manfully stood by their guns with a courage and devotion worthy of the highest commendation. Where all did so well it would be invidious to make distinctions, and I therefore simply give the names of all the officers engaged: viz: Major Hunt, Captains Carlisle, Ayres, Griffin, Tidball, and Arnold; Lieutenants Platt, Thompson, Ransom, Webb, Barriger, Greene, Edwards, Dresser, Wilson, Throckmorton, Cushing, Harris, Butler, Fuller, Lyford, Hill, Benjamin, Babbitt, Hains, Ames, Hasbrouck, Kensel, Harrison, Reed, Barlow, Noyes, Kirby, and Elderkin.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

WILLIAM F. BARRY,

Major, Fifth Artillery

Capt. J. B. FRY,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Hdqrs. Dep’t N. E. Virginia





#14 – Surgeon William S. King

14 02 2008

 

Report of Surg. William S. King, U.S. Army, Medical Director

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp 344-345

ARLINGTON, DEP’T NORTHEASTERN VIRGINIA,

July 26, 1861

SIR: Being chief of the medical staff serving with the Army in the Department of Northeastern Virginia, I have the honor to make the following report of so much of the results of the action on the 21st at Bull Run as came within my charge. As the officers of the medical staff were attached to the different regiments and on duty with them, I deemed it proper to remain with and accompany the general commanding and staff from the beginning to the termination of the battle in order that I might be present if any were wounded, and also that I might be enabled to visit in this way every part of the field where the killed and wounded might be found.

After the action had fairly commenced and the wounded and the dead were seen lying on the field in every direction, I dispatched Assist. Surg. D. L. Magruder to the rear, with directions to prepare a church (which I had observed as we passed before arriving at the scene of action) for the reception of our wounded, and also to send the ambulances forward as rapidly as possible to pick up the Wounded and dead. In a very few minutes the ambulances made their appearance, and continued throughout the day to visit every part of the ground which was accessible, so as to be within reach of those parts of the field where the fighting was going on and wounded were to be found. It is due to the ambulance drivers to say that they performed their duties efficiently, and the results of their operations also show how absolutely necessary these means of conveyance are to the comfort and relief of the wounded, in giving them shelter and water when ready to perish with heat and thirst. By means of the ambulances also the men who go to the relief of their wounded comrades are separated but a short time from their companies, as, having deposited them in the ambulances, they can return to their proper positions.

As the general commanding visited almost every part of the ground during the conflict, with a view to encourage or direct the movements of the troops, my position as a member of his staff gave me every opportunity of seeing the results of the action. I therefore embraced the opportunity thus offered to give directions when needed to the drivers of the ambulances where to find the dead and wounded, and also to those carrying off the wounded where they could find the needed conveyances. The stretchers were found very useful and comfortable to the wounded, and were in constant requisition, conveying them to the nearest ambulances.

So far as I am informed, the medical staff belonging to the different volunteer regiments discharged their duties satisfactorily. I observed Acting Assistant Surgeon Miles busily engaged in dressing wounded men under the shade of a tree in a part of the field where the fire from the enemy was very hot. He addressed me a brief inquiry as I passed relative to the safety of his father, and then resumed his occupation. Surg. C. C. Keeney, of Colonel Hunter’s division, and Assist. Surg. D. L. Magruder, attached to the commanding general’s staff, did good service in the hospital church I have mentioned, and also in two houses near the church, where the wounded were placed after the church had been filled. These officers remained busily engaged in the discharge of their duties till the enemy’s cavalry made their appearance, and but narrowly escaped capture when they left. Drs. Swift and Winston, attached to the New York Eighth, remained with their sick, sacrificing all selfish considerations for their own safety in order that the wounded might not be neglected, and are now prisoners. I am informed that Assistant Surgeons Gray and Sternberg, of the Regular Army, and Drs. Homiston and Swalm, of the New York Fourteenth, also preferred to remain rather than abandon their charge. The conduct of these officers is worthy of all commendation.

It would be premature in me, in the absence of sufficient data–the reports of the regimental surgeons not yet being received–to express a positive opinion as to the number killed and wounded in the action on the 21st. There were, no doubt, many concealed from observation under cover of the woods and bushes; but, judging from the number that I saw in various parts of the field, and allowing a wide margin for those unobserved, I should think that the killed and wounded on our side did not exceed from 800 to 1,000.

The impossibility of making a careful survey of the field after the battle had ceased must be my apology for the briefness and want of detail in this report.

W. S. KING,

Surgeon and Medical Director, U. S. Army

Capt. J. B. FRY,

Assistant Adjutant-General, U.S. Army, Arlington, Va.





Food, Glorious Food

14 02 2008

commissary.jpg

 

 

Amateurs study strategy and tactics; professionals study logistics.  At least, that’s what I’ve been told.  And in that vein, the preceding three posts are reports from acting commissaries of subsistence in McDowell’s army.  Check out a juicy tidbit at the end of Hawkins’s report, which gives some insight into why the three days rations with which the troops left camp didn’t last that long.  In most histories of the campaign, the difference is attributed to a soldier’s natural tendency to eat everything in his haversack as quickly as possible.  Maybe that’s not the only reason.

Sketch by Edwin Forbes, Commissary Department, with Three Days Rations and Kitchen, on the March








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