Albert*, Co. G, 3rd Maine Volunteer Infantry**, On the Battle

12 04 2020

From Our Boys.

A letter received from a member of Co. G. has been sent us for publication, from which we make the following extracts: –

Alexandria, Va., July 23, 1861.

Dear Brother: – The day following the date of my last letter to you, we left Camp Clermont and marched on Fairfax Court House, where we routed the rebels and took five or six prisoners. We rested one day and then marched towards Manassas Junction, halting within three miles of that place.

Our advanced guard attacked one of the batteries that day, but were defeated. We stopped there some two or three days until McDowell came up with his division; we were about 40,000 strong.

Sunday morning we were called out at three o’clock, A. M., here and took up our march for Manassas. Our Brigade was sent around to the north side to cut off their retreat; we marched until ten o’clock A. M., when we were ordered to the front of the battle ground. We then took up the ‘double quick’ and kept it up until about three o’clock, P. M., we came up in front of the batteries. It was very warm, and we could get nothing but muddy water to drink and sometimes none at all, and about one-third of our men dropped down beside the road exhausted. H. R. got tired out and was not in the battle. Of the Clinton boys in our company, there were only Horace Hunter, Phi, and myself in the battle.

As our troops advanced they came upon the enemy’s battery; Sherman’s battery was brought to bear on it, which soon routed them and took their battery. The rebels retreated some three miles, when, receiving reinforcements, they made a stand, and as we came up they opened fire upon us in every direction from masked batteries. Our Brigade was the last to get on the ground; when we got there the battle was the same as lost, but we charged on them and held them at bay for an hour.

As we came on the battle-ground, we stopped to get a breath and prepare for a charge. I looked along the line to see who was missing. I saw Horace and Phi, they were just at my left. I went up to them and shook hands with them, each wishing the other good luck, and just as I got back to my own place, a cannon ball struck Horace in the thigh, tearing his leg in half, striking David Bates, the next man behind him, taking both legs nearly off. Bates is the man I used to march with in Waterville. As we advanced, another man dropped at my right side, a ball striking him in the head. We marched on, and soon came within musket shot of the rebels, and them we poured it into them. I fired twenty-three rounds. The rebels would not come out in the open field to fight; they were in the woods and behind fences, with masked batteries on every side. Cannon-balls and shells were flying in every directions, and men falling on all sides; I shall never forget the 21st of July.

But, thank God, I escaped, and shall have another chance at them yet, though I did not expect to come off the field alive. Those rifle bullets sounded like a swarm of bees round my head, and those cannon-shot – the sound is ringing in my ears now.

After I had fired my last shot, I looked around, and there was not an officer in the field; they had all gone, and there were only some half a dozen men of our company left on the ground, so we made out retreat. As I came over the hill, I found one of our men lying on the ground, wounded in the side; his name was Crosby. We took him up and carried him for nearly half a mile to the house where Horace was. They were firing on us all this time, cannon-balls striking both sides of us. I saw a ball strike a horse just in front of us, taking his head off. When we got to the house, we left the wounded and went to try to get an ambulance to bring them off, but could not as they were retreating at full. It is said the rebels charged upon the hospital after we came away, and fired a whole volley into it. Horace had his leg tied up, but we had to leave him on our retreat, and he is probably a prisoner if alive, but I think he is not alive. I barely escaped with my own life. We marched all night and arrived in Alexandria the next day at eleven o’clock. We were on the road forty-eight hours, with nothing but hard bread to eat and muddy water to drink. I drank water that day that you would not wash your boots in, but am thankful to come off as well as I did.

Camp Clermont, July 25

Here we are in our old camp again, and I feel as well as ever. Troops are pouring in here every day, and we shall soon have our ranks filled again, then we are going to march on and avenge our fallen comrades. We get good living while in our camps, but when we are on the march we fare pretty hard. My health is good, and I stand it first rate so far. Asher Hinds, of Benton, was wounded in the leg. He is in the hospital here, safe.

Your Brother,

Albert.

Waterville (ME) Eastern Mail, 8/8/1861

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Contributed by John Hennessy

*There were five Alberts in Co. G – Ferbush/Furbush, Sibley, Smith, Harriman, Ross https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/1138/?name=albert&count=50&f-F0003CA3=3&f-F000278D=G&f-F000278D_x=1&military=_maine-usa_22

** Co. G, 3rd Maine Volunteer Infantry, was raised in Waterville.


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7 responses

13 04 2020
Steve Reilly

Question .. Hey Harry .. Is this Col. Sherman Brigade? And if yes, any idea as to the location? I guess, when Col. Sherman sent his men up the hill, by the Henry House? Thanks Steve
(As our troops advanced they came upon the enemy’s battery; Sherman’s battery was brought to bear on it, which soon routed them and took their battery).

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13 04 2020
Harry Smeltzer

Hi Steve,
No, this is Howard’s Brigade, Heintzelman’s Division. Refer to the Order of Battle – USA in the right hand column of this page (if you’re on a computer), or under the Resources tab in the banner. Howard’s Brigade fought on Chinn Ridge, south of the Pike and west of the Sudley Road.

Sherman’s Battery (which coincidentally was attached to Sherman’s Brigade, and was not named for W. T. Sherman but rather T. W. Sherman) never crossed Bull Run. Being the most famous unit in McDowell’s army it was reported everywhere by everyone, Union and Confederate. You need to take eyewitness accounts referring to it with a very large grain of salt, just like the Black Horse Troop. When Albert is describing this action I think he’s referring to what he could see, probably on Henry Hill…by “our troops” he means “Federal troops,” not the 3rd. I wouldn’t venture to guess if it was Sherman’s men he saw.

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14 04 2020
Steve Reilly

Thanks Harry … No body beats you, I recall from the tour that the guns that Col. Sherman had, could not cross at Farmers Crossing and stayed put, having a glass of wine, at the winery. LOL

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13 04 2020
Chris Van Blargan

I suspect from the reference to Clinton, it’s Albert Herriman who grew up there and had an older brother, James.

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/17965717

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13 04 2020
Chris Van Blargan

Horace Hunter, also of Clinton, was the same age as Harriman. He died as a POW in Richmond on August 7, 1861.

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13 04 2020
Chris Van Blargan

Crosby is probably Augustine Crosby of Company G, age 25, who was discharged fo disability in 1862. The 1890 Veteran’s Schedule states he suffered a gunshot wound to the left lung.

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/193032006/augustine-crosby

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14 04 2020
Chris Van Blargan

Asher C Hinds survived the battle but died in 1863 in Clinton, Maine from disease contracted in service.
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/193033022/asher-c_-hinds

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