Major Alexander Warner, 3rd Connecticut Infantry, On Dr. John McGregor at the Battle

15 09 2016

Camp Keyes, Washington

August 1st, 1861.

Mr. J. McGregor:

Dear Sir,

Your letter came to hand last evening, and I hasten to give you the information you desire. Your son, Dr. McGregor, was surgeon of our regiment. The morning of July 21st, he went with his regiment to the battle field, and there stopped at a house which was to be used as a hospital for our wounded. He remained there through the day, faithfully attending his duties. When the retreat was ordered, I rode up to the hospital. The doctor came to the door, all besmeared with blood. I told him that a retreat was ordered, and, for his own safety, he had better leave at once. He asked me if there was any preparation for removing the wounded men. I told him there was not. He then turned and went into the hospital. As he turned, he said, ‘Major, I cannot leave the wounded men, and I shall stay with them, and let the result follow.’ That was the last time I saw him, and I did not know what had become of him until, a day or two ago, a prisoner, belonging to the fourth Maine regiment, made his escape from Manassas; and he saw the doctor there, attending to our wounded men. I have no doubt but that, in due time, the doctor will return to us. I am very happy to be able to give you the above information as to the whereabouts of your son: and anything I can do for you in relation to him, I shall be most happy to do. We miss the doctor very much, as he was highly respected by all of our regiment. I shall see the doctor’s wife as soon as I get home, and give her all the particulars. If there is anything I can do for you, in any way, please let me know.

Yours very truly,

Alexander Warner,

Major of the third Connecticut regiment

Part of this letter posted to Manassas National Battlefield Park Facebook Page, 9/15/2016

Biographical Sketch of Dr. John McGregor

Life and Deeds of Dr. John McGregorthis full letter is transcribed on pp. 39-40


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2 responses

15 09 2016
Jens C. Falster

Interesting anecdotes on the 3rd Connecticut Volunteers. Alexander Warner was actually acting Lt. Col of the regiment, as that ranking officer Allen Brady had refused to recognize John Chatfield’s promotion to Col by Governor Buckingham because he came as a Major from the 1st Conn. Brady was consequently charged with insubordination and mutiny. Apparently he stayed with the regiment through the the fighting though under arrest and deprived of his sword for the remainder of the three month term of service. Later he led the 17th Conn with a good service record. Adj Lt. Redfield Duryee. had been promoted to regimental staff from private. He eventually became Col of the 6th Conn, replacing Chatfield I believe . .

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15 09 2016
Harry Smeltzer

Chatfield was MW at Fort (Battery) Wagner in 1863. I just love the name Allen Brady, and would have happily served under him for comedic value alone. Of course, “The Dick Van Dyke” show wouldn’t come along for another hundred years. You can read more on Chatfield here, just plug his name into the search engine.

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