Captain William King, Camp Pickens Battery, On the Battle

22 04 2012

[Naval Batteries at Manassas Junction]

Sunday [7/21/1861]

[To his wife Annie K. Leftwich King]

My dear little Nannie,

I can write only very briefly after the anxiety & interest that has attached to this ever-to-be-remembered-day – To us of the South it has been a real Sun-day for now after the battle smoke has passed away we can more clearly see that we are to be a free independent & prosperous people –

Almost overwhelming numbers of the enemy attacked our forces at four different points on the Bull’s Run Creek in a desperate effort to cross & get possession of our Rail Roads in the rear & thus cut off our supplies; but thanks to Duty and the brave Southern spirits we have been again able to repel them when the odds have been so largely against us –

I stood upon the summit of my Battery & could distinctly see the ‘dense’ smoke & hear the constant loud cannon’s roar when thousands of human beings were being launched into eternity on the four battled battle grounds along the creek the extremes of which were not more than five miles distant from each other – The firing commenced at about 8 o’clock this morning and lasted until about 5 o’clock this evening when the enemy retreated leaving quite a number of prisoners, a goodly number of Artillery pieces in our hands & their dead upon the fields – The celebrated Sherman Battery was captured & he is reported to have been killed – We have lost a good many Officers and a fearful number of soldiers – Whether ours or the enemy’s loss is greatest I cannot say – I have not heard that any Lynchburger was killed or wounded – Sam Garland’s regiment was not engaged – Latham’s Battery lost no men – Clark had special command of one piece & worked it admirably – The Yankees fought well at long range; but at no time stood well in close quarters – Genl Scott was in Command at Centreville – They may come on us again in two or three days if President Davis does not order that they shall be pursued to-morrow to Alexandria which I think is quite likely –

I saw my Brother for a minute or two on his arrival here yesterday – He was in the fight to day & I hope is unhurt –

Remember me kindly to my friends at Richmond –

Very devotedly

Your own


PS I forgot to mention that our Cavalry pursued the enemy this evening –

MSS 6682 Albert & Shirley Small Special Collections Library, as transcribed at 150 Years Ago Today. Used with permission.

William King in



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