#40 – Maj. Joseph P. Balch

6 09 2008

Report of Maj. Joseph P. Balch, First Rhode Island Infantry

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp. 399-400


Camp Sprague, Washington, D. C., July 23, 1861

SIR: I have the honor to report the casualties of this regiment, the result of the battle near Bull Run, Va., 21st instant: 13 killed; 39 wounded; 30 missing; total amount of loss, 78. We mourn the loss, among the first killed, of Lieut. Henry A. Prescott, Company D, a brave soldier, an accomplished officer, a gentle and pious man. Among the missing, of Capt. William L. Bowers, quartermaster, and Lieut. Sylvester R. Knight, Company D, probably both prisoners, as they were uninjured when last seen, subsequent to the action.

Notwithstanding a fatiguing march of seven to eight hours, we maintained the position assigned us, and the general commanding conceded to Rhode Island, upon the field, the honor of not only frustrating the attempts of a vastly superior force to outflank our left, but driving back in confusion their right flank.

In the retreat resulting from the turning of the right flank of our Army by the enemy, the regiment was brought off in good order, with the brigade to which it was attached, without further serious casualty other than the excessive fatigue arising from and natural to a march of some forty miles in fifteen to sixteen hours.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major, Commanding First Regiment Rhode Island Vols.

Lieut. C. H. MERRIMAN,

Acting Asst. Adjt. Gen., Second Brigade, Second Division



2 responses

17 09 2008
Phil Balch

Hi, I came across this web site when I was looking for genealogical information. Is the Joseph P. Balch, listed on this site, the same man as Joseph Pope Balch? Do you know this?


17 09 2008
Harry Smeltzer

This was indeed Joseph Pope Balch who on March 13, 1865, despite having only served as major of a three month regiment, was promoted to Bvt. Brig. Gen. USV, for meritorious service. He was born 8/9/1822 in Providence, and died there 12/2/1872. He’s buried in Swan Point. He was a druggist. Check out Galusha B. Balch, “Genealogy of Balch Families in America”, Salem Mass., 1897. You can find Joseph Pope Balch in the book here.


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