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 



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