Image: Maj. James Burdge Walton, Washington Artillery of New Orleans

30 04 2020

Maj. James B. Walton (Source)

Walton seated cdv (cropped

Maj. James B. Walton (Source)

Walton, oval bust cdv

Maj. James B. Walton (Source)

Walton, wartime standing cdv

Maj. James B. Walton (Source)

Major James Burdge Walton, Washington Artillery of New Orleans, At the Battle

29 04 2020

The Washington Artillery

A letter from Richmond, Virginia, to a gentleman of this office, says:

The Washington Artillery, under Major Walton, are highly spoken of by every person I have seen who was on the battle-field. After the victory was won, Beauregard called on the Artillery and passed from man to man through the ranks, shaking hands with them and thanking them for their services. That little incident speaks louder for them than a thousand newspaper letters.

We have also been shown a letter from a member of one of our Louisiana companies in Virginia, in which he says:

At the battle of Stone Bridge, Major J. B. Walton, of the Washington Artillery, dismounted from his horse, and walked up and down the lines, to the several batteries under his command, speaking words of praise and encouragement to his men, often times halting to sight, and several times even firing the guns himself. He had the immediate command of the guns and detachments in the center of the battlefield, and acted like a hero. At one time the battalion were surrounded on three sides by the Federal troops, but none of the W. A. boys or officers seemed to carte for it; they continued to pour their rifled shot and cannister into the enemy regardless of consequences, all being as cool and calm as though firing a salute on Lafayette Square.

After the battle, President Davis and Gen. Beauregard rode over to Major Walton requesting him to form his company into line. Gen. Davis made them a speech, complimenting them highly, and said “words were inadequate to express them his thanks for the part they had taken in the engagement.” He considered they had gained for their country the battle of Bull Run, and had greatly assisted in the battle of Manassas, (Stone Bridge) and all he could say was that they were a little band of heroes.

Two boys gave him three cheers and three for Gen. Beauregard and three for the Southern Confederacy.

In the evening, Major Walton visited headquarters at the invitation of Gen. Beauregard and Davis, and remained several hours. The particulars of their conversation have not been made known.

The commander of Sherman’s battery said the day before the battle that he would silence the Washington Artillery battery in three minutes, but the boys turned the tables on the Yankees and silenced their famous Sherman’s battery in forty minutes, capturing eight pieces themselves.

New Orleans (LA) Daily Crescent, 8/1/1861

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Contributed by John Hennessy

James Burdge Walton bio 

James Burdge Walton at 

James Burdge Walton at Fold3 

James Burdge Walton at FindAGrave 

Unknown, Co. B (Tiger Rifles), 1st Special Louisiana Battalion, On the Battle

28 04 2020

The Tiger Rifles at Manassas.

We have before us a private letter from a member of the Tiger Rifles, who were in the thickest of the fight at Stone Bridge, and rendered efficient service as one of the companies of Wheat’s Battalion:

On Sunday, 21st, at sunrise, the enemy commenced throwing shot and shell among us. Our second platoon, under command of Lieutenant Adrian, ran a party of cavalry some distance towards their lines. We were then ordered to deploy towards the left, and hold them in check for reinforcements to prevent being outflanked on our left, and here we had the honor to open the ball and receive the first fire.

As we were crossing a field in an exposed situation, we were fired upon (through mistake) by a body of South Carolinians, and at once the enemy let loose as if all hell had been let loose. Flat upon our faces we received their showers of balls; a moment’s pause, and we rose, closed in upon them with a fierce yell, clubbing our rifles and using our long knives. This hand to hand fight lasted until fresh reinforcements drive us back beyond our original position, we carrying our wounded with us. Major Wheat was here shot from his horse; Capt. White’s horse was shot under him, our First Lieutenant was wounded in the thigh, Dick Hawkins shot through the breast and wrist, and any number of killed and wounded were strewn all about. The New York Fire Zouaves, seeing our momentary confusion, gave three cheers and started for us, but it was the last shout that most of them ever gave. We covered the ground with their dead and dying, and had driven them beyond their first position, when just then we heard three cheers for the Tigers and Louisiana. The struggle was decided. The gallant Seventh has “double-quicked” it for nine miles, and came rushing into the fight. They fired as they came within point blank range, and charged with fixed bayonets. The enemy broke and fled panic-stricken, with our men in full pursuit.

When the fight and pursuit were over, we were drawn up in line and received the thanks of Gen. Johnston for what he termed our “extraordinary and desperate stand.” Gen. Beauregard sent word to Major Wheat, “you, and your battalion, for this day’s work, shall never be forgotten, whether you live or die.”

At the close of his letter the writer speaks of some of the minor casualties in the following humorous vein:

Tom Williams got his in the jaw by a spent ball, which caused him to shift his chew of tobacco to the other side; Tom Malloy got the tip of his nose chipped off by a splinter from a rail, but says he can spare the piece, as he has plenty left; Old Kelly got it through the calf of the leg, and now he growls because he can’t have the limb cut off, so that he can peddle cigars on the levee; Ben White cursed his luck because he could not get shot, and concluded he’d cut himself, but when he looked for his knife, someone had stolen it, etc.

New Orleans (LA) Daily Crescent, 8/1/1861

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Contributed by John Hennessy

Capt. Obed P. Miller, Co. E* (Old Dominion Guards), 1st Special Louisiana Battalion, On the Battle

27 04 2020

The Great Battle.
Letter From an Officer of Major Wheat’s Battalion

Manassas, July 22, 1861

Ed. Crescent – Ere this reaches its destination, I presume you will have received full details of the greatest battle that was ever fought, and most glorious victory ever achieved by a people contending for their rights and liberty.

Yesterday was the day that caused Yankee-land to weep for the “sons of her daughters.”

I am now confined to my bed with a broken leg, and in no condition to write at length; therefore shall confine myself to what I actually experienced up to an hour after being wounded, giving only a report of the company which I had the honor of leading, including the names of disabled officers of the battalion to which I was attached.

The enemy opened the cannonade across the “Stone Bridge” about sun-rise, in order to attract our forces to that particular point, intending to flank us on the left with their right wing. This, however, was anticipated, when our gallant major was ordered to check their advance.

We engaged them bout half-past 10 o’clock, A. M., with out limited force of some 400 men, they numbering, from all accounts, 8,000 regulars, with three pieces artillery, and the most desperate fire ever witnessed. They fairly poured into and over our ranks a perfect hail-storm of grape, cannon, musket and rifle balls, which we returned for near an hour, repulsing them four different times, they as often rallying. Finally, we retreated under cover some two hundred yards, when the gallant sons of dear old Mississippi, with Virginia, South Carolina and Alabama, reinforced us and another desperate charge was made. During this engagement I regret to advise that our Major, C. R. Wheat, was seriously, if not dangerously wounded, and a more brave and noble soul never existed. Lieut, Adrian of the Tiger Rifles, shot through the thigh; Lieut. Dickinson, acting Adjutant of my company, shot through the thigh, and Lieut. Carey, acting Second Lieutenant in my company, also seriously wounded – both of whom were a pride to our army.

I marched on the field eight non-commissioned officers and forty-eight privates, and give you my report a far as heard from this morning:

Wounded, Captain (self,) 2 Lieutenants, 1 Corporal and 12 privates; killed or missing, 5 privates. For the satisfaction of their friends, here are the names:

Wounded – Capt. O. P. Miller, 2nd Lieut Allan C. Dickinson, Junior 2d Lieut. Henry S. Carey, 2d Corporal Danl. Ross, Privates Samuel Barfield, Frederick Bossey, Jas. Connor, Patrick Connerty, Jas. Carroll, Thos. Ford, J. H. Hutchinson, Jas. McDermot, Jno. Raynor, Cornelius Reily, David Vance, Jno. Walker.

Killed or missing – Privates Thos. Flinn, Geo. B. Hamilton, Augustin Johnston, John Shine, John Ward.

Every man, with few exceptions, deported themselves like men. Lieutenants Foley, Dickinson, and Carey I am proud to command, each of whom behaved well on the field.

I am suffering much from much from the effects of a broken bone in the right leg below the knee, but hope to resume command of what remains of my noble little company within a few days.

To-morrow the battalion will be marched back to resume our old position, which we have held five days, near the “Bridge” under the command of R. A. Harris, senior Captain, where, if desired, the followers of Abraham can have the dose repeated.

The fight was opened at 10 ½ o’clock A. M., and lasted until dark, with the enemy in fill retreat, pursued for miles by our cavalry.

President Davis arrived on the field after the action had commenced.

Thousands, [?] said, lie dead on the field. All the while prisoners and wounded are coming in. The wounded of the enemy receive like attention as friends.

Prior to engaging the enemy our little battalion received a raking fire from three regiments of fiends; notwithstanding, they rallied and promptly “faced the music.”

Yours, very truly,

O. P. Miller.
Captain of Old Dominion Guards,
First Special Battalion La. Volunteers.

P. S. – David O’Keefe proved his friendship for the South, and is promoted corporal. My servant, Frederick Johnson, while following me on the field with water and provisions, was “nabbed” by the enemy, and carried back several miles, but finally escaped, well supplied with Yankee clothing, and is now nursing me like a friend.

New Orleans (LA) Daily Crescent, 8/1/1861

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Contributed by John Hennessy

* Most records show first muster in of Obed Miller to Co. D of this unit, however this site notes: “The company was mustered in state service for the war at Camp Davis, New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana, under the command of Captain C R Wheat, on 25 April, 1861, and First Lieutenant O P Miller, Old Dominion Guards, was appointed captain, Old Dominion Guards, on 23 May, 1861. Captain C R Wheat, Old Dominion Guards, was appointed major, 1st Louisiana Special Battalion Infantry, on 25 May, 1861, and the company was designated the 1st Louisiana Special Battalion Infantry, Company D (2nd), on 1 November, 1861. The company was disbanded at Richmond, Henrico County, Virginia, on 15 August, 1862.” So it would appear that the company letter designation is post battle.

Obed P. Miller at 

Obed P. Miller at Fold3 

Unknown, 6th North Carolina Infantry, On the Battle

26 04 2020

The North Carolina Sixth Regiment.

Camp Bee, 4 Miles N. E. Manassas
Junction, Va., July 28, 1861.

Gentlemen: – I know you would like to hear from us, and as I have a leisure moment now, and a [?] to send a letter, (for we have no mails,) I drop you this scroll. We of the Sixth N.C. State Troops, Col. Fisher, were ordered to Gen. Johnson’s command at Winchester, where we arrived in time to join in the celebrated “forced march” across the mountains to Gen. Beauregard’s aid, and which has been spoken of by President Davis as the great military achievement of the age. Yes, sir, we travelled on foot, day and night, without stopping to eat! We arrived Sunday morning of the memorable 21st., at the Junction, about 8 o’clock, and while Col. Fisher was calling at Headquarters for orders we heard the opening fire. Soon after, Col. F. returned and ordered us to “forward,” and at a rapid pace we set out for the battle field, without rest, water or food for 36 hours. As we approached, the musketry opened on the enemy, (the fire before was that of Artillery) when we quickened our step ‘till within range of the enemy’s guns. Under cover of some timber we formed our line and for a few minutes practiced the men in manner of firing – then loaded and went on.

Owing to the position of the enemy the skirts of timber and the manner of carrying up the Regiment into action by the right flank, three of the extreme rear Companies never could get to “open” on the enemy, although exposed to a heavy fire of musketry and rifles all the while. The other seven Companies of the Regiment getting in, had the work to do, and right well did they do it.

In our rear was posted a Regiment of the enemy’s riflemen and in front Michigan Marine, Regular and Zouave Regiments in almost endless number, while to our left on tops of the hell, some 50 paces distant was the Sherman Battery.

On receiving fire from so many directions at the same time our men were thrown into temporary confusion and were ordered to “fall back” into the timber just in the rear and reform. Col. Fisher again ordered the to “forward” in the direction of the Battery, he leading, some distance in advance. When found, the poor Colonel was dead, 25 yards beyond the battery. About this time Lieut. Col. Lightfoot was wounded and an officer mounted came up and ordered the men to “cease firing.” Just here there was great confusion, for there was scarcely any telling friends from foes. Yet the Zouaves with their red breeches could always be distinguished, and they kept pouring in a murderous fire. Capt. Avery saw it would not do to remain there inactive and took the responsibility to order a charge upon the Battery and with a yell the men moved rapidly on and driving the enemy from the guns, took possession – our Mississippi and South Carolina friends could not believe but they were the enemy and opened fire on them compelling the gallant Captain and his brave North Carolinians to abandon the guns – which were afterwards gained by other Southern men. This much is certainly true, that after Capt. Avery took the Battery no enemy ever used it, or was near it, for soon after the Yankees [remainder illegible]…

An Eyewitness

The (NC) State Journal, 8/8/1861

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Contributed by John Hennessy

Unknown, Co. E, 7th Louisiana Infantry, On the Battle

25 04 2020

Letter from the Field of Battle.

The following is a private letter from a gentleman belonging to Company C, Crescent Rifles, addressed to a friend in this city. It contains some interesting items in regard to the great battle.

Stone Bridge at Battle Ground
July 27, 1861.

Dear B. – Again we are victorious, having driven the enemy beyond Fairfax, taken all their rifled cannon, among them the famous Sherman Battery, the finest in the States, fifty wagon loads of provisions, about fifteen hundred stand of arms, killing between four and five thousand of them, and taking fifteen hundred prisoners. Such a victory was never known since the days of Napoleon, and it was fought on Sunday, the day Waterloo was won. The Tigers commenced the fight at 5 o’clock A. M., charging on and taking a battery, having to give it up twice, but at last succeeding in unlimbering it. Gen. Scott was in the vicinity of the battle; so was President Davis, who visited our regiment in person. He complimented us highly for the work we had done. We had been maneuvering all the morning before the enemy, deceiving them as to our numbers, but getting shelled all the time. Four men were killed not six feet from me by the explosion of a shell thrown two miles from a hill commanding our position; in fact, they always had the advantage, because we had to force them to fight us. You should have seen the devils run when we, with our brigade, charged up the hill on their left flank, the Washington Artillery pouring shot and shell into them. General Beauregard was with the detachment of Washington Artillery when his horse was shot under him. He seems perfectly happy with the result, and says two millions of dollars will not replace the things taken from the enemy. It has been a glorious victory. One would suppose, from the things they brought with them, that all they had to do was come and conquer. Cooking stoves, all kinds of cooking utensils, and provisions enough last the army for sometime to come, they had; but fortune and the God of Battles was against them, and now we are enjoying all their good things. Yesterday I cut one-half a fine fruit-cake made by some Yankee girl for her sweet-heart. And the letters! You would laugh to read them. Everything has been done and said to encourage their soldiers for their cause. Envelopes, with all kinds of bombast, such as Jeff. Davis hanging by a limb of a tree, and the Manassas Railroad, with U. S. Soldiers, their flag flying, with the following words: “Come on, boys, only six miles to the Junction,” (assuming Manassas) and hundreds of others too numerous to mention. Be assured, I never wish to see such another flight. The horrors of this battle-field are enough to make the stoutest heard quake – horses, friends and enemies laying in heaps all around us; and to think of our sleeping on the field, when we could hear the groans of the wounded and their piteous cries for water, was as much as I could endure. The ambulances were going all night, carrying off the dead and wounded. The enemy did not stop to pick up their dead. We had to bury them to get clear of the stench, which was intolerable. In the first fight we were in, I was selected, after it was over, to watch the motions of the enemy. They were all around me. They shot at us a great many times during the day. Some of my men crept through the woods and picked off two of their sentinels. Colonel Hays complimented our behavior on that day, having the most dangerous position on the whole line. But on Sunday our brigade turned the battle in our favor. Our coming on, whooping and yelling, like so many devils, struck terror into their souls. Had we arrived ten minutes later, I think the battle would have been different; as it was, we had marched twenty-five miles under double quick time. We were tired, indeed, without water, dusty and black as negroes. I have had no chance to wash my face for five days. We have been our in the open fields, with the rain on us, for three days, and nothing but the blankets we gathered up from the enemy to cover with. You can judge from that we have had no child’s play. The Washington Artillery boys are trumps, you can tell all; and are considered by all the commanding officers to be the best in the United States, (that way) They returned shot for shot, even when shot and shell were flying all around them; in fact, Louisiana can boast of her soldiers in Virginia. They have done their duty. I might write you sheet on sheet of the incidents of the battle, but will reserve it until I can see you, if ever I do. God knows, I wish this battle may do the thing and peace be declared, as it is a horrible thing to see friend and brother against friend and brother.

This is a Yankee paper, pen and ink I am writing with.

God bless you and yours, is the earnest prayer of your friend.

New Orleans (LA) Daily Crescent, 7/31/1861

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Contributed by John Hennessy

71st New York Infantry Returns to the Field 27 Years Later

24 04 2020

A Grave at Bull Run Desecrated by Veterans.
Members of the Seventy-first Regiment Unearth a Skeleton on a Relic Hunting Expedition – It May Have Been a Comrade.

New York, July 26 – The Evening World Says: Apparently there’s trouble ahead for the Seventy-first regiment. The bones of a soldier have been removed from their resting place in the battle ground at Bull Run by members of this regiment, and what the consequences will be no one knows just now.

The regiment went to Bull Run last Friday night to celebrate the twenty-seventh anniversary of that famous battle. The members reached Fredericksburg on Saturday and Bull Run on Sunday. They were handsomely entertained by their hosts and enjoyed themselves immensely.

They roamed over the battlefield and discussed the positions and engagements of their regiment on that memorable occasion, and compared notes with their Confederate hosts until Sunday night, when they started home, stopping at Washington on the way. They arrived in New York Tuesday morning. The boys searched over the battlefield for souvenirs, and finding a skeleton of a soldier, sever thought a few of its bones would be more desirable as reminders of that occasion than battered bullets and rusty sabers, so they brought them home.

Surgeon E. T. T. Marsh told a reported about it as follows: About eighteen or twenty members of Company B were walking over the battlefield in search of souvenirs. They came to a little gully about six feet deep which had been washed out by water. On the side of this gully was a little mound which attracted the attention of one of the company. It looked like a grave, and when one of the boys stirred up its surface a skeleton was revealed. The men and knives they opened the grave as best they could.

“The soil is clay and pretty hard, so the men soon gave up trying to take the skeleton out whole. They discovered a piece of blue cloth and a button which proved that the dead man was a Union soldier.

“The men told about their discovery when they joined the rest of the regiment and it was talked over freely. Some thought the poor soldier was one of those of our regiment who was never accounted for.

“Private M. C. O’Brien, a physician, was one of the party that unearthed the skeleton, but I do not know any others. I am certain that the whole skeleton was not taken, but I should not wonder if some of the long bones – those of the arm and the thigh – were carried away. I suppose if I had been there I would have taken a bone, too. I did not see any of the bones, but I heard the boys talk about them.”

Sergt. Bonestiel, of Company K, who is at present on duty at the armory, professed to know nothing about the matter.

When he was told about it he laughed and thought it was a grand joke if the boys secured the bones for trophies.

It was rumored that Governor Lee, of Virginia, had communicated with Governor Hill on the subject, but reporters were unable to see either Governor Hill or his secretary at Albany.

Wilkes-Barre (PA) News, 7/27/1888

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Contributed by John Banks