“Georgie,” Co. I, 71st New York State Militia, On the Battle and Retreat

26 06 2020

Washington Navy Yard,
July 22, 1861.

Dear Father: – I telegraphed you yesterday that I was back safe and would write shortly. We had a pretty hard fight – carried most of their fortifications – when they were reinforced by twenty thousand of Johnson’s command, (which Gen. Patterson should have intercepted), and were compelled to retire before such an overwhelming force of fresh troops. – In Company I were lost but three men – one killed and two wounded. They must have been captured during our retreat, as we have heard nothing of them since they were sent to the Hospital. Capt. Ellis, of Co. F, (not our Captain,) was wounded by the explosion of a shell; his father, Dr. Ellis, of New York, is now on here attending to him and his other son who was also wounded. They were both carried off the field by their brother, the Colonel, from California, who came on here to lend a hand and see to his brothers. One was shot down along side of him, and the other he found wounded and senseless along the side of the road, and would have been crushed to death by the retreating teams had it not been for the timely assistance of his brother, who, being a remarkably stout and muscular man, carried him also to the place of safety, and they are now doing well under the medical prescription of their father, the Doctor. Our Captain got knocked down by a spent shot, but was not seriously injured. He is now attending to his brothers.

We have lost both our howitzers, but brought them six miles from the field of action, after the order for our retreat, and then the enemy threw a shell among us, upset the ammunition wagon, dismounted one of the howitzers, and we were compelled to abandon them. The fight commenced at 12 o’clock on Sunday, and lasted till four in the afternoon, when we were ordered to retire. We marched till 12 o’clock the next day with scarcely a halt till we got home, and I can tell you I was pretty well used up. – They say it is a distance of fifty-five miles, and I should say it was at least that, from the way I felt when we got back to our old quarters at the Navy Yard. It was the longest tramp I ever took, and I don’t care about taking such another, especially on a retreat. If it were in pursuit of the traitors, I think I could do it over again without even thinking of getting tired, and I am in hopes I shall yet have the opportunity of trying it.

Georgie*

Newburgh (NY) Daily News, 7/26/1861

Clipping image

Contributed by John Hennessy

* There were at least two men named George in Co. I: Pvt. George Moore, Pvt. George Sterling


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One response

26 06 2020
Steve Reilly

By far, one of the better understanding of the battle, that I read. “when they were reinforced by twenty thousand of Johnson’s command, (which Gen. Patterson should have intercepted),”

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