#60 – Col. Calvin E. Pratt

24 10 2008

Report of Col. Calvin E. Pratt, Thirty-first New York Infantry

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp. 434-435


Camp near Alexandria, Va., July 22, 1861

SIR: In accordance with Paragraph 723 of General Regulations for the U.S. Army, I have the honor to report the operations of my regiment during the engagement of yesterday.

In obedience to your order, the regiment was ready to march from camp near Centreville at 2.30 a.m. While proceeding to the field I was detached from my regiment and ordered to take command of the Sixteenth and Thirty-second Regiments New York Volunteers, to support Lieutenant Platt’s battery. I turned over the command of the Thirty-first Regiment to Lieut. Col. William H. Browne, and took command as directed; made a reconnaissance in company with Colonel Matheson, of the Thirty-second, Lieutenant-Colonel Marsh, of the Sixteenth, and Lieutenant Platt, of the artillery, and placed said regiments in proper position. I afterwards threw out as skirmishers of the Thirty-second a company under Captain Chalmers, and a platoon under Lieutenant — of the Sixteenth, and sent them about a mile to the front and left of our position, to guard a road leading from the enemy’s right to our left and rear. In about one hour I was ordered by Col. Dixon S. Miles, the division commander, to proceed with the two regiments and the battery to the front, where I was relieved from command of them and resumed charge of my own regiment. Soon afterwards, by directions of Colonel Miles, I proceeded to the extreme left of our division and supported Major Hunt’s battery. Having thrown out Captain Heiss with his company as skirmishers in the defiles about a quarter of a mile on our left, I rested the remainder of my regiment on the skirt of a wood in rear of the artillery.

About the same time Lieutenant-Colonel Browne, with two companies, was detailed by me to reconnoiter a ravine and wood where it was suspected the enemy was concealed. After deploying and penetrating the ravine to a considerable distance, all at once a smart fire of rifles was opened upon him from a force concealed in the thick timber. He returned the fire and continued skirmishing, assisted by a detachment of Massachusetts Volunteers, until his men were safely covered. The desired effect of compelling our adversaries to discover themselves having thus been attained, Richardson’s battery opened upon them a destructive fire of case-shot and shell. The skirmishers were recalled, and Lieutenant-Colonel Browne reported having discovered a masked battery and a force of at least a thousand men.

Soon afterwards it was discovered that a force of infantry and cavalry, variously estimated at from 2,500 to 4,000 men, were marching on our left through the woods and defile to turn our flank.

Pursuant to your order, the line of battle was changed to our left flank, and four companies were detached from my regiment, and thrown into the left and rear as skirmishers, under command of Frank Jones, acting major, who held the enemy in check. He received a fire of five volleys of rifles, and retired from the wood, but they did not succeed in drawing our fire, which was reserved for the advance to take our batteries.

At about 6.30 p.m. the order was received to retire upon Centreville. My regiment remained to allow the battery to precede us, being the last except the Sixteenth to quit a field that had successfully been held against tremendous odds.

I deem it to be a duty to give the names of the officers of my regiment who were engaged in the battle, and to whose coolness and judgment I am indebted for the success that attended my regiment:

Lieut. Col. William H. Browne; Acting Maj. Frank Jones; Acting Adjutant Edward Frossard; Volunteer Aides A. L. Washburn and Frank Hamilton, jr.; Maj. Frank H. Hamilton, M. D., surgeon; Lucien Damainville, M.D., assistant surgeon; George Marvin, acting assistant surgeon; Edward A. Brown, acting assistant surgeon.

Company A–Capt. J. J. S. Hassler, First Lieut. Robert R. Daniel, Acting Second Lieut. W. W. Smith.

Company B–Capt. L. C. Newman, First Lieut. D. E. Smith, Second Lieut. Eugene Frossard.

Company C–Capt. Alex. Raszewski, First Lieut. Louis Domanski.

Company D–Capt. M. O. McGarry, First Lieut. J. H. Bradley, Second Lieut. R. L. Knight.

Company E–Capt. August Heiss, First Lieut. C. E. Klein, Second Lieut. H. Schickhardt.

Company F–First Lieut. F. Pross, Second Lieut. Louis H. Brown.

Company G–First Lieut. Oliver J. Rogers, Second Lieut. W. D. Prentiss.

Company H–Capt. David Lamb, First Lieut. Asa B. Gardner.

Company I–Capt. John A. Rue, Chaplain S. W. Waldron (acting first lieutenant), Second Lieut. Hamilton Hair.

Company K–Capt. John H. Watts, First Lieut. William Maitland, Second Lieut. F. E. Waldron.

Among those not soldiers who rendered effective and gallant service among the skirmishers was John M. Pierce, who with his rifle killed a field officer and one soldier of the advancing foe.

To conclude, the non-commissioned officers and soldiers of my command behaved with such gallantry that it were invidious to make distinctions until the time for promotion shall actually have arrived.

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


Colonel, Commanding Thirty-first New York Volunteers


Commanding Second Brigade, Fifth Division, Army N. E. Va

#59 – Lieut. Col. Samuel Marsh

24 10 2008

Report of Lieut. Col. Samuel Marsh, Sixteenth New York Infantry

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp. 433-434


Near Alexandria, Va., July 24, 1861

SIR: The Sixteenth Regiment New York State Volunteers, under the immediate command of Lieutenant-Colonel Marsh, left camp near Alexandria, on Tuesday, July 16, in obedience to orders, and proceeded toward Fairfax Court-House as far as Annandale, where the regiment bivouacked for the night. On Wednesday, at daybreak, we resumed our march, having filed off to the left and taken the old Braddock road. At 8.30 a.m. we came upon barricades and obstructions, which had been placed across the road by the rebels to impede our progress.  The Sixteenth Regiment led the advance, preceded by Companies A and K of the Eighteenth Regiment and Companies A and B of the Sixteenth Regiment, as skirmishers. About three miles from Fairfax our skirmishers fell in with the first rebel outposts, and exchanged shots with them, when they hastily fell back without doing us any injury. We continued our march for a mile farther as rapidly as the roads could be cleared, when we again came upon a strong force, upon which the outposts had fallen back. Here a brisk skirmish took place. The regiment was promptly formed in line and placed in position. While this was being done, two wounded men of the Eighteenth Regiment were brought in. The regiment was advanced in line of battle for about half a mile through the woods in good order, supported on the left by the Eighteenth Regiment, when we came upon a battery and extensive intrenchments which had been secretly abandoned. We then proceeded by the road without further difficulty to within half a mile of Fairfax Court-House, when we came to the abandoned camp of the Fifth Alabama Rifles, who had fled at our approach. Learning here that General McDowell had already occupied Fairfax, we halted for the night. On Thursday morning we resumed our march toward Centreville, and halted near there until Sunday morning, the 21st instant. At 2.30 o’clock a.m. of that day we advanced with the main body towards Bull Run.

The position assigned to the regiment was on the left wing, to support the batteries commanded by Major Hunt, to defeat any flank movement on the part of the rebels. Here the regiment remained in position from 10 o’clock a.m. until 4 o’clock p.m., during which time there was no appearance of the enemy in our neighborhood, with the exception of a small detachment who fired on Companies B and G, which had been thrown forward in the direction of Bull Run to act as skirmishers. In this skirmish Lieutenant Hopkins received a slight wound in the heel. At 5 p.m. a large force of the enemy, since ascertained to have numbered 3,000 rifles and 2,000 cavalry, were seen rapidly advancing down a deep and well-protected ravine on our left. The position of the regiment was immediately changed by your order to front this advance, and the batteries were brought into position so as to rake the ravine. When the batteries opened their fire the enemy were thrown into confusion and disorder, but rallied in a moment and poured in three or four volleys, which passed over our heads.

During the operations of the day, it is but just to add that the Thirty-first Regiment, under Colonel Pratt, was stationed on our left, and acted in conjunction with our regiment with coolness and bravery. The Sixteenth Regiment was the last to quit the field, and retired in good order, falling back on the heights of Centreville. During the night of the 21st, in obedience to orders, the regiment, in connection with the entire force, fell back to Fairfax Court-House, and on the succeeding day returned to its camp near Alexandria.


Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Sixteenth Regiment


Acting Adjutant


Commanding Second Brigade, Fifth Division