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

30 04 2020
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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
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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 Ancestry.com 

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.
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Letter From an Officer of Major Wheat’s Battalion
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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 Ancestry.com 

Obed P. Miller at Fold3 





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

25 04 2020

Letter from the Field of Battle.
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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

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





Yet More Handcuffs

23 04 2020

Here’s another example of reports of vast quantities of handcuffs taken by the Confederates from the debris of the Federal army after First Bull Run. Again, it’s second-hand, and perhaps an example of a recruiting gimmick.

Thirty Thousand Handcuffs.

It is stated that among the spoils taken from the enemy in the late glorious victory, were thirty thousand handcuffs! Gentlemen of respectability say they have themselves seen these novel and extraordinary appendages of an invading army.

Thirty thousand handcuffs! And for whom and for what? It is easy to guess. To treat as guilty felons, to enslave and secure for a felon’s death, the patriotic sons of the South, whose only crime is the defence of constitutional liberty, and resistance to the tyrant and usurper at Washington. If this does not rouse the whole South to rise as one man against this hideous adversary, we know nothing of the character of her people. – Richmond Examiner

Athens (GA) Southern Banner, 8/7/1861

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Contributed by John Hennessy





Image: Capt. George Hillyer, Co. C, 9th Georgia Infantry

22 04 2020
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Capt. George Hillyer, Co. C, 9th Georgia Infantry (Source)

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Capt. George Hillyer, CO. C, 9th Infantry (Source)

 





Capt. George Hillyer, Co. C, 9th Georgia Infantry, On the March to Manassas

21 04 2020

Letters from Capt. Geo. Hillyer.

Saturday, July 20, 1861.

Dear Father: – We are at a little station on the Manassas Junction. I do not know the name of the place, but that is not material. We are waiting for our turn by return trips of the train to go to Manassas to unite Gen. Johnston’s army with Beauregard. I have taken my valise in my hand, and in company with Craig, one of my men, walked off ½ mile from our camp, or rather from our gun-stacks, and pile of knap-sacks, for we have no camp furniture, except 3 mess boxes, having left every else in Winchester. After refreshing ourselves on the cool grass meadow, I sent Craig back to the gun-stacks to five me notice of any order, and am now in quiet and alone, penciling this note to you. *******

Day before yesterday, at about the same hour, Gen. Johnston received intelligence that Patterson had declined to attack us at Winchester, and had retired with his whole force toward the Potomac. Part of his army crossed into Maryland and the balance marched down the Potomac on this side towards Washington. And also a dispatch from Gov. Lechter stating that Beauregard was pressed upon by overwhelming numbers, and to come to his relief and save the State. Johnston immediately ordered the move, we started about 2 o’clock P. M., and marched without a halt, except to stop occasionally in the road when the way would e clogged up for a short time by a wagon turned over, or a baulky team, until 3 next morning. Oh! the horrors of the forced march! Think o it. 15,000 men on the road together in a march of 22 miles. Many fell sick and fainting. It was a sickening sight to see the pale and exhausted soldier lying panting by the roadside, his companions gone on a left him, and on one to give him even a cup of cold water. The men in the ranks could not relieve them because they could hardly get along themselves, and must not confuse the column by leaving ranks. The officers were busy taking care of their own men. I marched at the head of my men almost all the time, carrying some ones gun and cartridge-box, and my strength holding out in a remarkable manner. I never once felt even weary, that is, anything approaching exhaustion. My men stood it well, too, and none failed to arrive here safely with me. I pressed a dump cart into service, and let such ride as were not well, changing them about as their strength required. We forded the Shenandoah river about 12 o’clock at night, and crossed the Blue Ridge at 2. The river at that point is some 200 yards wide and about 3 feet deep. I wish I could describe the scene. Almost all the men carried their guns, cartridge-boxes, clothes, &c., on their heads. Lights flashing up and down either bank – half naked men filing across the wide water, hallowing as they breasted the strong cold waves. Loud words of command, horses neighing and rearing, wagons rumbling over the stony bottom, teamsters cursing and shouting, made a show I certainly shall never forget. I am satisfied, however, after securing this mixture of the truly sublime and the ridiculous, that the poetry of Washington crossing the Delaware, or crossing anything else was all a humbug. I would like to tell you all my thoughts as the column moved after midnight up the long mountain slope. The silence disturbed only by the tramp of many feet upon the McAdamised road, and the rumbling of the ammunition wagons in front. But I must see you to talk all these things over. It is mechanically impossible to write them. The news here from Beauregard is that he repulsed the enemy at Bull Run, in an attack they made on one of his advance batteries, with great slaughter. Two thousand (2,000) engaged on our side, and four thousand (4,000) on theirs; 60 or 70 of ours killed, and 900 of theirs. It is thought we will make a grand move on Washington, but the future must develop itself. The rest of baggage will be brought. I left my trunk in Winchester at the house of a man (family grocer) named Wm. Rea. I shall probably have it expressed to Mr. Clayton at Richmond, as it troubles me very much whenever we move. The army is new and hastily got together, so we have not enough wagons. Good-bye – God bless you and Mother dear.

Your son,

George Hillyer

Manassas Day after the Battle

Our Regiment has just arrived with the 11th and were not in the fight. – We go out this evening 4 miles to near Bull Run. The 7th and 8th were in the fight. The 8th suffered much. – Bartow is killed, and Gardner wounded. I can hear nothing of Ned Hull. In haste.

Your son,

G. H.

Athens (GA) Southern Banner, 8/7/1861

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Contributed by John Hennessy

George Hillyer at Wikipedia 

George Hillyer at Ancestry.com

George Hillyer at Fold3 

George Hillyer at FindAGrave 





Unknown, 5th Virginia Infantry, On the Battle

19 04 2020

The Fifth Virginia Regiment in the Battle of Manassas.

Early Sunday we were aroused by the drum beating the long roll, and we immediately formed inline of battle. Soon the enemy commenced a heavy cannonading on our right, which our accomplished General soon discovered to be a feint made by the enemy to attract our attention in that quarter, while their real attack would be made on the extreme left. We were immediately ordered to take position several miles to the left. We had not been in position long, before it became evident we were in a warm neighborhood. The enemy’s artillery, just in our front, but hid from our sight by a skirt of woods and an eminence between us, thundered forth it deadly missiles, and presently, too, the sharp, ringing crack of the rifle was heard, showing that the advance guard of skirmishers had met. Cavalry scouts could be seen, galloping within the lines, when a terrible volley of musketry, immediately in our front, assured us that the ball had been opened, and the fight had commenced in right good order.

Between 9 and 10 o’clock A. M., the enemy, in tremendous force, advanced his right against our left, with the view of turning our left wing and getting position in the rear of the “Junction.” They were met by several South Carolina regiments (including Hampton’s Legion) and the Alabama 4th, our regiment (the 5th Virginia) being held in reserve; but soon we were ordered forward to support the 4th Alabama. On our way to take position on a hill we were met by a person from a South Carolina regiment who had been compelled to fall back by an overwhelming force, and who informed us that the 4th Alabama was being literally cut to pieces. Here, also, we met two pieces of the Washington (La.) Artillery retiring, having expended their stock of ammunition. This was by no means encouraging, but we felt the necessity of greater exertion on our part, and forward we rushed to the assistance of our friends. Amid a perfect shower of musketry and cannon balls the command to halt and lie down was given, as it was impossible for us to return the enemy’s fire, they being completely sheltered by the hill. Not being able to return the enemy’s fire, or even see them our men cried out to be led forward or taken back to the foot of the hill; but out gallant Col. Harper assured us that he had no orders to advance, but was ordered to occupy this position until the enemy should make their appearance, when we were to fire and charge bayonets.

Finally, the order to advance was given, and under a perfect shower of shell and shot we arose and started up the hill. A portion of our regiment misunderstanding the order, we were thrown into temporary confusion; but soon rallied, and our gallant Major Wm. S. H. Baylor, taking the lead we rushed forward and gained the position on the hill behind some old houses. Before we gained the position, however, the Fourth Alabama Regiment had been compelled to retreat, and we found ourselves face to face with a powerful force of the enemy, and conspicuous among them was the famous Ellsworth Zouaves. Just in front was the Second New York Regiment. On the left of them the Zouaves were stationed, while on our right, and completely flanking us, was the First or Second Maine Regiment. We fired a telling volley of musketry into the regiment in our front, which drove them rapidly to the rear. This drew the fire of those on our left upon us, and we engaged with them, the Maine regiment on our right, (whom we supposed at first to be friends,) advanced rapidly upon us, and sheltering themselves by lying down behind a fence, they poured a most destructive fire into our ranks, and here some of our best and bravest men fell. Here the noble and brave Billy Wodward exclaimed, “I will never retreat. ‘Give me liberty or give me death.’” His lips had scarcely given utterance to these heroic words, when a ball pierced his brave heart. It soon became evident that with our single regiment it was impossible to maintain this position, exposed as we were to a centre and two raking flank fires from at least four times out number.

We therefore fell back to a skirt of woods some hundred yards in the rear, where we were joined by a portion of the Alabama 4th, who had fought so gallantly and suffered so terribly at the house on the hill before we came up. A portion of a South Carolina regiment also joined in with us here, and during the rest of the evening we fought side by side.

In every part of the field the contest now raged, and desperate efforts were made by each party to gain some decided advantage, without apparent success, though they greatly outnumbered us, and I looked on at the terribly and desperate strife without being able in my own mind to determine which would be victorious.

Greatly to the encouragement of our brave troops, who were so heroically struggling against superior numbers, several fresh batteries made their appearances and took position on an eminence just to our left.

These opened upon the enemy, whose main column was sheltered behind a gradually sloping hill, thickly covered by small timber, and protected by a part of the celebrated Sherman Battery. A tremendous cannonading now took place that far surpassed anything I ever imagined. It appeared to me as if Heaven and earth were being rent asunder, so terrible was the crash and roar of the monster instruments of death. Several times the enemy attempted to rally for a charge on our batteries; but whenever their lines came within the terrible discharges of round shot and canister from our batteries swept them like chaff before the wind, their long and splendidly formed lines fairly melting away. Yet the tremendous force before us seemed not to diminish, and every inch of ground was contested with sullen and determined force, our brave troops fighting with renewed energy and vigor. Being parched with thirst and almost exhausted, I ran down to what appeared to be a branch or mud hole, and drank copiously of the muddy water, and was just returning to my regiment when I met Gen. Johnston, who inquired of me to what regiment I belonged. – I told him. He then inquired how Gen. Jackson’s Brigade was getting along. I told him we were fighting bravely and well, but against large odds, and needed help. He at once said, go join your regiment and tell then to hold their position, and in a few moments I will send reinforcements to their aid. I hurried back to my regiment with a lighter heart than I left it.

On reaching the top of the hill, I could see in the direction of Manassas Junction a large column of men approaching, and filing past then, with the swiftness of the wind, was a splendid body of cavalry, numbering possibly a thousand. These came rushing on like a mighty torrent, with drawn sabres glittering in the evening’s bright sunbeams, mounted on steeds which seemed to be maddened by the contest that was being waged by man against fellow man. I soon recognized this to be the splendid body of Cavalry commanded by the gallant Col. Stuart, of which the excellent company from Augusta (Capt. Patrick’s) forms a part. In the meantime, Gen. Beauregard appeared on the field in person and approaching our regiment inquired who we were, and on being informed, he addressed is in the following cheering language: “Fight on, beave Virginia boys; the day is ours everywhere else, and it must be here also.” He then commanded us to follow him, and, with a loud cheer, we rushed forward, determined to do as commanded, or die.

By this time Sherman’s battery had evidently become somewhat disabled, and had slackened its fire a little. Our course was turned directly in that direction. We reached the top of an eminence, fired a volley and at a charge bayonets rushed down upon it. We found that every horse attached to a battery was either killed or disabled and not a man, except the dead and wounded were left within the guns.

Almost every company of the regiment claim the credit of first reaching the battery. I would not do injustice to any. But a proper regard to truth, and honor to whom honor is due in this particular act, compels me to say that the left of the regiment, under command of Major Baylor, was the first to reach the immediate vicinity of the battery, and corporals R. T. Bucher, of the West Augustus Guards, Capt. Waters, and John Sutz, of the Augusta Rifles, Capt. Antrim, were the first men to reach the captured guns. – Corporal Pucher* sprang astride one of the pieces and fired his musket at the retreating enemy.

By this time the reinforcements I referred to coming from the direction of Manassas, had arrived on the ground, and, unperceived either by us or the enemy, marched rapidly to our left and to the right of the Federal forces under cover of a skirt of woods. These troops consisted of three Tennessee and one Virginia regiments; from this position they poured into the ranks of the enemy (who were partly concealed by thick undergrowth,) the most terrible and deadly volley of musketry I ever witnessed; and then, with a shout that rent the air, they rushed in one grand sweeping charge upon them. The enemy, terror stricken, broke ranks and fled in the wildest confusion over the hill; the cavalry charged upon them, sending terror and dismay among their already confused and broken ranks; the guns of the captured batteries were turned against them; batteries were run upon eminences which commanded roads along which they retreated, and which raked and crushed their disordered columns dreadfully, and shout after shout rent the air from the victorious Southern troops.

Staunton (VA) Spectator, 8/27/1861

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Contributed by John Hennessy

*Misspelled Bucher (Robert F. from preceding sentence, KIA Spotsylvania, 5/12/64).