Pvt. George Trimble, Co. F, 13th New York Infantry, On the Battle

17 05 2020

War Correspondence.
—————
Letter from George Trimble of Smith’s Rifles.

Washington, Tuesday, July 23, 1861.

Dear Parents: — I still live to write to you once more, which is indeed a miracle. I received your last letter while we were marching in the field of battle, and was glad to get that letter, for I supposed it was lost. We marched into the enemy’s country, and had a battle. It was life or death with us, and was the smartest game of ball I ever had. We shall all prove “Artful Dodgers” when we return to Rochester.

You will learn from the papers how our brave fellows fought; but the enemy was too many for us. We had them fairly whipped once, if they had not got reinforcements. Then our whole division retreated in all directions, and at last our ranks were broken. No one regiment could be got together.

When we got about a mile from the enemy, their cavalry followed us up to attack the rear of our broken line, and our Colonel got part of the regiment in line to charge on them. Then they put back. But returned again with their battery, and when they got us out in an open field they fired on us with their cannon, but only killed a few of them.

Then we all made for the woods. I got lost in thick wood, ad did not find the main body of our men for two hours. I thought I was a “goner” that time. We were forced to march sixty miles without stopping, and had nothing to eat or drink but muddy water. We left lots of our wounded on the field, and all of our dead.

We could not tell how many of the enemy we killed, for they kept in the woods and fired out on us. When we would silence one battery they would open another and cross-fire on us. Their masked batteries were as thick as toads in a puddle. They put me in mind of wasps’ nests, also, for before you could tell where you were, you would find yourself literally at the cannon’s mouth.

It would take me a week to tell you all. I saw three of Robert’s men, and they said he was in the fight and fought bravely. Edward lost his drum, but is safe himself. I write this letter in the Capitol Garden. It will take a week to get our regiment together. I think that I will have one more hack at the rebels before I go home, but I hope not such a hot one as the last. The bullets seemed to fall like rain. I had a hole put through the stock of my gun by one of them.

Love to all
Geo. Trimble

Rochester (NY) Evening Express, 7/26/1861

Clipping Image

Contributed by John Hennessy

13th New York Infantry Roster 

George Trimble at Ancestry.com 

George Trimble at Fold3 





“W,” Co. G (1st), 13th New York Infantry, On the Battle

17 05 2020

War Correspondence.
—————
From a Private in Captain Lewis’ Company.

Washington, July 22.

———-: I am a live and well. You have probably heard before this how the Thirteenth was cut up in the battle of Bull’s Run, on Sunday. Of course you would think I was not born to be shot, after what I went through yesterday. I had my rifle shot out of my hand, and the ball grazed one of my fingers, just taking the skin off. The rebels were within fifty rods of me, and I had just fired two shots. When our troops began to retreat, I ran with three others into a gully. I was out of breath, and was sitting down, when one of the three who were with me stood up and said, “They are coming,” and the others got over the fence before me. I was astraddle of the fence when all three of them were shot dead. The fence I was on was riddled with balls. When they shot my rifle out of my hands, I pulled off everything, and run for dear life along the fence until I got into the woods, from which we had drive the rebels out a few hours before. It was full of dead and wounded rebels. I got one of their canteens full of cold water. It was the first I had since morning, and it have been a very hot day. I reached here at sunrise this morning, after walking all the way – about fifty miles – since two o’clock yesterday morning.

We commenced to retreat about five o’clock in the afternoon. I caught a horse and rode him about a mile, when he threw me, and I had to walk the rest of the way. I don’t know how I stood it. It commenced to rain at two o’clock this morning, and has not stopped yet. ***

***When I arrived here I laid down in a tent and went to sleep, and when I woke up I could not move, I was so stiff, but I will get over that soon. I will write again to-morrow morning.

W.

Rochester (NY) Evening Express, 7/26/1861

Clipping Image

Contributed by John Hennessy





Byron, 13th New York Infantry, On Blackburn’s Ford

17 05 2020

War Correspondence.
—————
The Battle of Thursday.

Ontario, July 21, 1860

Eds. Evening Express, Rochester: – Gents.:
Do me the favor to publish the enclosed letter from my son in the 13th Regiment Volunteers from Rochester. I am a reader of the Express, although no a subscriber at the office, but will be, for you paper is in the hearts of the soldiers and the people.

Very Respectfully yours,
G.

—————

Centreville, July 20, 1861.

Father: – We left Camp Union on the 16th at 2 o’clock, P. M., marching as far as Vienna, which the rebels had left but a few hours before. Early the next morning we took up our line of march, driving the enemy before us but a short distance. We stopped over night of the 17th at Camp Mason from which rebels had left rather hastily to all appearances. In the vicinity there were between three or four thousand rebels. We came the next day to Centreville reaching here about noon, while here a part of the division about noon, while here a part of the division passed us, when they had gone two miles they came upon a masked battery battery which allowed them to approach within a few feet before opening. The Michigan 1st and the New York 12th were the regiments engaged them first, discovered the rebels commenced retreating and cheering, and our troops advancing until within a few feet of the battery, when they rose up out of their entrenchments – sueli vollies of musketry perfectly terrific – opening the battery at the same time cutting down about 40 of our troops – they still advancing, and when within nearly bayonet reach, were ordered to retreat.

At this time we were on the way to the scene of action, meeting troops, some retreating, some wounded and lying aside the road. We asked them how they made out. Their reply was, “we had to back up.” About this time more artillery reached the spot, and began to fire, the rebels returning the fire promptly. We were flanked off one side of the road in the woods – in the din of battle, we being under cover of the woods moved forward, the shot from the enemy’s rifled cannon whistling over our heads rather lively. – We were soon commanded to halt, as we expected they were advancing upon us. We all dropped on our knees, and when a discharge was heard, we listened for the messengers that could soon be heard tearing through the timber, when we would fall on our faces; one ball struck right before us, and bounded over our heads, and struck behind us, we could see; it being a spent ball, one of the boys picked it up.

One poor fellow belonging to one of the regiments engaged, who was lying back of us in the woods, had the top part of his head blown completely off, a horrid sight. Our cannon ceased firing, the enemy being under cover, and fell back, waiting for mortars to come and shell them out. Yesterday there was no movement at all. Last night the guns came up, so to-day there will be awful work. They are going to throw out tar in shells, and burn them out. There are now three batteries within three miles of here. The division under Gen. Tyler is about 40,000 strong.

We are but six miles from Manassas Junction, after the battle we could hear the cars running all night, bringing troops from Manassas, so they must have a large force here. We shall certainly have a fight to-day, and many a poor fellow will never see the rising of to-morrows sun, but as they saying is, “We’re all in the same boat,” and must stand it. I never expect to see home again, but gloomy as the prospect is, I am not at all disheartened. I shall stand to the rack, fodder or no fodder. They say when our troops fell back, leaving the wounded, they came out of the trenches, and bayoneted the wounded. If this be true, we can expect no quarter, if we fall into their hands. This is the most God forsaken country I ever saw; the land is not worth a dollar per acre. Our pickets were firing all night long last night. The mail is about ready to leave, and I must close. My kindest regards to all the folks, and tell them to write. Direct to Washington, and it will come.

Respectfully yours,
Byron

Rochester (NY) Evening Express, 7/26/1861

Clipping Image

Contributed by John Hennessy