Unknown, 11th North Carolina Infantry, On the Campaign

31 08 2020

LETTERS
FROM OUR VOLUNTEERS.
—————

Manassas Gap, Va., July 23, 1861.

On last Thursday we met the enemy at a place called “Bull’s Run,” about four miles from Manassas, and repulsed them three times with a loss to ourselves of only six killed and nine wounded, while the enemy confess to a loss of about eight hundred killed & wounded. They sent a flag of truce to us and asked leave to bury their dead, which was granted, and it took them all the next day – Friday – to finish the task. But the greatest news is yet to come. The enemy fell back on Friday to Centreville about eight miles from Manassas, and on Saturday were reinforced by 30,000 men under Gen. Patters. This made their force about 90,000 altogether. We were reinforced about the same time by 15,000 men under Ben. Johnston, and afterwards by Jackson’s brigade of 5,000. Jeff. Davis came up from Richmond also with some 15,000 or 20,000 men, thus making our force about 65,000. On Sunday morning, just as I received your letter, the pickets came galloping in, announcing that the Yankees were advancing from Centreville to attack us, and in about ten minutes afterward we heard the heavy thunders of their batteries about five miles on our left wing. Our line was stretched about 15 miles from Manassas to the north-west. Our regiment was placed immediately in the centre; it being the post of honor, and was given to us in order to compliment North Carolina for the bravery of her sons at Bethel Church. We had splendid entrenchments, and had a field battery of 6 cannon to support us where our company was placed as that was the spot where it was thought the enemy would tug and break through. Along the line of our regiment, other than where the Rifles were place, where were about twelve or fifteen other pieces, loaded with canister, ready to belch forth death to the foe at every discharge. We had not waited long after firing commenced before we saw the enemy marching in front of us at a distance of two and a half or three miles, arranging their line of battle. Their design was to attack our right, left, and centre simultaneously, with 20,000 men at each point, keeping 30,000 reserve. We had about 5,000 on our right, 5,000 on our centre, and some 15,000 on our left, as it was shrewdly suspected by General Beauregard that the grand blow would be made upon our left, that being the point most weakly defended by breastworks. The remainder of our troops were kept in reserve. About 9 o’clock the batteries in front of us were opened and the Yankees bombarded and cannonaded us till noon without cessation. The shells burst over us and all around us. Our entrenchments were struck by no less than 132 bombs and balls. The air was kept full of them flying in every direction, but not a single man of our regiment was hurt. During all this time the enemy were too far distant for us to do any thing with our muskets, and our cannon were not large enough to compete with the heavy Armstrong guns, and rifled cannon of the enemy; so we kept ourselves snug in our trenches watching the effect of the shells and balls, and getting so used to them that we could only laugh when one came too near, and declare that it was but a chance shot.

About noon, the grand assault was made up on the left, and then commenced the slaughter. The Yankees advanced in a solid body, and our troops held their fire until the enemy were within 100 yards and then they let fly. From this time on the thunders of cannon and musketry were incessant, and the battle became general. – The sky was clouded with smoke. Cavalry was galloping in every direction, and infantry from the reserve kept filing in double quick as fast as they could go. This continued until four o’clock in the afternoon, when suddenly the Major of our Regiment galloped along our lines, and taking off his hat, he waved it, shouting “The Yankees are flying, and our men have captured all their batteries.”

Cheer after cheer burst from the North Carolina boys, who were wild with delight. It was true enough! The enemy had been repulsed at all points, and were routed, horse, foot and dragoons, leaving 30,000 killed and wounded upon the field. The order was next given for us to form into line, and pursue them. We did so with fixed bayonets, and at double quick. Three thousand of our Cavalry first galloped after them, and then our whole army of infantry and artillery rushed after the Cavalry. We could see the Yankees clipping it at 2.40 speed about a mile ahead of us. They threw away their guns, knapsacks, blankets, cartridge boxes, and oil cloths. They left their baggage wagons and horses. All their provisions were cast along side the road and they themselves scattered like frightened sheep. It was the grandest sight in the world to see 60,000 men flying before 40,000 all going it as hard as they could clip. We followed them two miles beyond Centreville, and our men then broke down with running, and we had to return. We reached our entrenchment about 9 o’clock at night, and then wrapped ourselves in our blankets to catch a few hours rest, after the excitements of the day. The next morning we were made aware of the of our victory – 30,000 of the enemy killed and wounded on the field, and left for us to bury and take care of; 6,000 of our men killed and wounded. The Sixth N. C. Regiment of State troops were nearly cut to pieces, and its Colonel, Chas. F. Fisher, shot through the brain, dead. Two South Carolina Regiments, two Virginia Regiments, one Mississippi and one Alabama Regiment, were also shot to pieces. One Regiment lost every officer from the rank of Captain up to Colonel, some of the South Carolina companies had only six men living when the battle was over.

The enemy was completely defeated. We captured all their cannon, 66 pieces including Sherman’s famous rifled battery; 108 baggage wagons, hundreds of horses, all their provisions and ammunition. We took about 1,500 prisoners among whom were 36 field officers that we know of. Such was the great battle of Manassas. It will be a day long to be remembered in history.

A portion of our army is now pursuing the enemy towards Alexandria, and out Regiment moves to night for the same place. There will no doubt, be another battle there, as it is the key to Washington City; but we will be the conquerors as our boys are inspirited by victory, and the Yankees are disheartened by their bitter and overwhelming defeat. I wish I had room to tell you all the incidents of the battle, but I must, per force, reserve the narrative till I return. It would take a god sized volume to tell the half I could tell.

(Winston-Salem, NC) The People’s Press, 8/2/1861

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Unknown Officer, 11th North Carolina Infantry, On the Campaign

30 08 2020

LETTERS
FROM OUR VOLUNTEERS.
—————

Bull’s Run, July 23, 1861.

Dear Father: –

I received your letter, with that of mother’s on last Sunday morning. I would have written as soon as I got back from Richmond, but have been so busy ever since, that I can’t possibly write as often as I would like.

We left Danville, for Richmond, the Saturday after we were there. I had a tolerably hard time at it too. I was officer of the baggage guard, and did not get a bit of sleep or rest from Friday morning till Sunday morning about one o’clock. We then staid in the old Fair Grounds at Richmond till Tuesday evening about sundown, when we took the train for Winchester. The first train under command of Lieut. Col. Leach and the Major, started about half past six, and the second about an hour afterwards. I stayed with the Colonel; he asked me to stay and go with him and some other officers in a passenger car, attached to the second train. We travelled pretty well till about 10 o’clock, then the car I was on stopped with a sudden jerk that nearly knocked us down. I started out and found the whole road lined with soldiers. At first I thought we were attacked, but our train had run into the train before us, and smashed to of the cars loaded with Capt. Connelly’s, Scott’s, and Gilmer’s Companies. We had some 7 or 8 hurt but not seriously. We had to stay here till after eight o’clock next morning, and reached Manassas about sundown the next day. When we arrived there we found the women and children from Fairfax Court House, passing by in crowds, running from the enemy. The camp was deserted with the exception of one New Orleans regiment left there to guard the baggage. We were to change cars here for Winchester, but Col. Kirkland concluded to offer our services to Gen. Beauregard, instead of going on to Johnston. Beauregard got back to the Junction about 9 o’clock, when he accepted us and promised to give us “a chance at them.” We were up all night preparing, giving out cartridge and instructing the men how to load, till 4 o’clock, when we formed in columns and commenced our march for Bull’s Run, a small stream about 4 miles from the Junction, where our forces had thrown up earth works the night before. We were first employed as skirmishers in a pine thicket on the left, for about an hour, when some of our scouts came in and reported the enemy about 40,000 strong, advancing directly on our centre. We were then called in and held as a reserve, on top of a hill about a mile from the ford. We were all resting after our march, when we heard the roll of the kettle drum calling the men unto the trenches. We were then ordered on to the extreme left. As we were marching through an old field about three miles from the enemy they opened a battery of rifled cannon on us, but no one was hurt, although several of the men got suddenly sick about that time. We went across the field about a quarter of a mile, double quick, until we came to the creek, when we took up our position on a long rail fence. It was not long before the firing grew warm on our right, and occasionally some one of out men would fire at a Yankee, but we were not sure of killing any. The musketry was very heavy for a while, but our men gave them a bayonet charge which settled them for a time. The artillery went at it then and fought for about an hour, when the enemy sent in a flag of truce and got permission to bury their dead. The loss of our men inn that fight was about 50 or 60 killed, wounded and missing; that of the enemy was 905 according to their own reports. We were ordered to shift to the centre which was considered the most dangerous position on the whole line. We slept on our arms all night without interuption. The next morning we all went to work, with all the spades, shovels, and picks we could find, and by night felt tolerably secure. About 8 o’clock the pickets commenced firing and retreating, and every man had to run to his post. We were called to arms about a dozen times that night, but were not attacked after all. Everything was quiet on Saturday. Our men were burying the dead Yankees by hundreds; after they had got permission to bury their dead they would not do it. We all slept well on Saturday night, but on Sunday morning, about half past 6 o’clock, they opened on our centre, where companies from Forsyth and Stokes were entrenched. The shells burst all around us without doing any injury to any of us. A regiment of Alabamians was stationed just behind us in the woods, and one of the balls from the rifled battery passed directly over our heads and killed one of those then wounded another. One passed within a foot of our flag staff which was planted on our breast-work; another struck our works, but we had made them so strong that it could not pass through. There was a very heavy column of the enemy directly in front of us all day, but did not advance close enough for us to fire into them. They kept up a continual fire of musketry on both our wings, but the principal attack was made on our left. Old Scott was there himself. The Yankees fought well but could not drive our men back. At about 4 o’clock we heard the men cheering on our left and Gen. Bonham with his staff came galloping up the line throwing up their hats and telling us that the Yankees were in full retreat. We no sooner heard it than our Colonel came dashing down the lines and ordered us in pursuit. We pitched out and formed a column, and pursued them about three miles, but they had the start of us too far for the 11th to overtake them. The Yankees left their baggage, gun wagons, and everything else in their retreat. The road was literally strewn with clothing, knapsacks, canteens and blankets and our cavalry were taking prisoners in every direction. Their loss was very heavy and it can not be less the 8,000, while ours, though large, was comparatively small.

I was at the Junction yesterday and saw about six hundred prisoners on their way to Richmond. Capt. Wharton’s company is out on picket guard and have just sent in two Yankees. – Corporal Hunter, the same who clerked for Mr. E. Belo, commanded the guard that brought them in.

We took all the enemy’s artillery and about all their baggage wagons and horses. They brought in 108 horses yesterday.

I guess we are the dirtiest set you ever saw in your life. I have not changed my clothes since I left Richmond, on week ago to-day. We have to sleep in the trenches with only a blanket on a board, if we can get it, if not, on the naked ground. It has rained three times since we have been here and you may know how we look. A well digger is not sight to what we are. I must close now, as we will have to march to Centreville this afternoon; it is about 5 or 6 miles from here, and the mud is about a foot deep.

P. S. – We do not march till tomorrow.

(Winston-Salem, NC) The People’s Press, 8/2/1861

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Lt. Col. John J. Reese, 3rd Tennessee Infantry, On the Battle

28 08 2020

Correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch.
Honor to Whom Honor is Due.

Knoxville, Tenn., Aug. 1, 1861.

In the numerous accounts of the Battle of Manassas, published in the Richmond and other Southern papers, small mention is made of Col. Elzey (of Maryland,) and his brigade, which arrived upon the field in the nick of time, and, by a gallant charge, decided the fortunes of the day. A Northern paper justly says: “It is the last conflict of the day that decided the victory and defeat.” If it can be shown that the above-named officer and his brigade played this important part in the late battle, the fact should be widely known.

Letters have been received here from Col. Vaughn, Lieut. Col. Reese, and Capt. Parker, of the Third Tennessee Regiment, composing part of the brigade. They have been published in the Register, of this place – copies of which I send you, in verification of the extracts I propose to make. As gallant soldiers and actors in the closing scenes of the fight, they simply and modestly relate what occurred, and I merely reproduce their united and concurrent testimony as to the decisive charge referred to.

Col. Vaughn, with brevity and extreme modesty, says in a letter written the day after the fight: “I feel certain that the Brigade commanded by Col. Elzey, composed of the 10th and 13th Virginia Regiments, and the Maryland and East Tennessee Regiments, turned the scale in our favor. But let official reports speak of these things.

Lieut. Col. Reese, writing the same day, says: “Col. Elzey’s 4th Brigade, composed of the 1st Maryland Regiment; the 3d Tennessee Volunteers, under Col. Vaughn, Lieut. Col. Reese, and Major Morgan, and the 10th Virginia Volunteers, and one battery of four pieces of artillery, arrived at Manassas at 11 ½ o’clock, and we marched to the left wing at a double quick march. The fighting ground of the extreme left wing was seven miles from Manassas Junction, and our brigade was marched at a quick and double quick march for the whole distance. The Yankees, posted on a height, protected by a dense wood, poured upon our advancing columns a well directed fire of musketry, and their batteries, posted still further on our right, threw into our ranks bomb shells, some of which burst in the air, and some struck the ground within a few feet of us. We were kept under fire for some time without being allowed to fire a shot, as our flying artillery had not taken its position, and it was important that the enemy should be kept in ignorance of the extent and position of our brigade, until the artillery had commenced playing upon them. When the artillery of four pieces opened fire with tremendous effect, the first Maryland, on the extreme left, the third Tennessee, on their right, and the tenth Virginia, on our right, all abreast, charged bayonets up the height, and drove the enemy from the wood. When we reached the open field beyond, we opened upon their disordered and wavering ranks valleys of musketry. They turned and fled for their lives, throwing down their guns, knapsacks, and everything that would encumber their flight. The battle was fought and won. From that moment victory was ours. We drove the enemy from the field at every point. Immediately after the battle, General Beauregard meeting with our gallant Colonel Elzey, (late Captain in the U. S. A.,) who commanded the 4th Brigade, said to him on the battle-field, ‘Sir, your are the Blucher of the day, and have turned the tide of battle.’ On the same day, Co. Elzey was commissioned by President Davis Brigadier General.”

R.

[Our correspondent appends an extract from a letter written by Captain Parker, a gallant young officer, bearing similar testimony. This was published yesterday. – Eds.]

Richmond (VA) Dispatch, 8/6/1861

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John J. Reese (?) at Fold3 





Pvt. Doctor Z. Hardin, Co. A, 6th North Carolina Infantry, On the Battle

27 08 2020

The Patriot also publishes a letter from D. Z. Hardin, a private in Col. Fisher’s regiment, from which we make the following extract:

“Our regiment was led into battle about 12 o’clock. We were in the thickest of the fight, and consequently were considerably cut up. Besides the loss of our respected Colonel, a large number of our men were killed. Our regiment, in rushing to the scene of action, were compelled to go through a dense thicket, in consequence of which we became very much scattered – to which fact our severe loss may be partly attributed. This was, if not a rash move in our Colonel, at least a very desperate one, and against which several leading officers of other regiments endeavored to persuade him; but he hearkened not to their counsels, and at the head of the regiment marched us through this dangerous pass, and as I have already stated into the thickest of the fight, where we remained until we were completely exhausted, when we were ordered to move to another portion of the field, after which all who were not too completely exhausted, again rallied and fought valiantly until the enemy were completely routed. The day after the fight I reviewed the field of battle, and such a scene can much better be imagined than described. Acres and acres of ground were so thickly covered with the dead (of the enemy,) that I could have made the entire circuit on their bodies. The wounded were scattered for miles in every direction. I conversed with a number of the wounded. They spoke freely, and curse Lincoln and his cabinet.”

Fayetteville (NC) Semi-Weekly Observer, 8/5/1861

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Doctor Z. Hardin at Ancestry 

Doctor Z. Hardin at Fold3 

Doctor Z. Hardin at FindAGrave 

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“Justice,” 6th North Carolina Infantry, On the Battle

23 08 2020

[For the State Journal.]

Manassas Junction, Aug. 3, 1861.

Editors of the State Journal, Sirs: – Your attention has no doubt been called to a publication in the Standard, purporting to be an account of all that was done by the Sixth Regiment of North-Carolina State Troops on the memorable 21st ult. That statement does certainly far more than justice to one individual, and, by inference at least, great injustice to others. I do not pretend to reflect on Mr. Holden for publishing, as true, whatever facts were communicated to him from what he regarded as a reliable source; but the most charitable supposition in camp is, that the Standard’s informant, whether he be one of those mentioned in the article or not, was not an eye-witness of the whole affair.

In the article referred to, only the companies of Capt. Freeland and Capt. York are mentioned, and the inference is very palpable, that they alone bore the brunt of the battle. Now, if we are to judge from the list of killed and wounded, (which I enclose in full for publication,) and I know no better criterion by which to judge, it will be seen that, while Capt. Freeland’s company suffered as much, perhaps, as any, Capt. York’s loss in killed and wounded is less than that of any company actively participating in the fight.

The following summary will sustain me in what I have stated:

Co. A. Capt. Kirkland.
Killed, 2
Severely wounded, 2
Slightly wounded, 3
Missing 1
Total 7
Co. B. Lieut. Parish.
Killed, 1
Mortally wounded, [1]
Severely wounded, 2
Slightly wounded, 3
Total 7
Co. C. Capt. Freeland.
Killed, 2
Mortally wounded, 1
Severely wounded 10
Slightly wounded, 2
Total 15
Co. E. Capt. Avery.
Mortally wounded, 1
Severely wounded 4
Slightly wounded 7
Total 12
Co. F. Lieut. Carter.
Killed, 2
Mortally wounded, 1
Severely wounded, 3
Slightly wounded, 1
Total 7
Co. G. Capt. Craig.
Killed, 7
Severely wounded, 2
Slightly wounded, 14
Total, 23
Co. I. Capt. York.
Mortally wounded, 3
Severely wounded, 1
Slightly wounded, 1
Total 5

As unofficial reports have reached the people of N. C. through the press, it is due to the regiment and the friends of the regiment that a fair, full and impartial account of its connection with the fight should be published to the people of our state.

Omitting all the details of our march thither, it is sufficient to say, we reached the Junction soon after daylight on the 21st, and in a half hour were marched off at a pace between quick and double-quick toward Lewis’ house, distant some four miles. When within a mile of the battle field we halted in obedience to orders and the men were drilled an hour in the manual.

The regiment was then led forward to the brow of the hill in front of Lewis’ house for the purpose, it was said, of supporting a battery about to open fire from that point, but, for some reason, the battery was removed, and our regiment led to the left, and formed in line along a road on the margin of the woods.

While resting in that position, we were first enabled to realize that a hard-fought contest was going on before us. The wounded were every moment passing our line with the report that the enemy were advancing, and that the shell from Sherman’s battery were playing sad havoc with our soldiers. Shell whizzing over our line occasionally gave to their statement at least an air of plausibility, one of them wounding Col. Fisher’s horse, and another passing through the centre of Capt. Craig’s company. After a little pause, however, Col. Fisher commanded us to file to the left, and, conducted by a mountain officer, led us through a dense wood for some distance, and then filed us to the right, along a little ravine, with thick woods on our left and an old field on the right. Though concealed from our view by an undergrowth, the battery was throwing shell constantly over us as we advanced, and it was only on rounding a corner of the woods that we came in full view of it, planted on the top of the hill in an old field, and not more than sixty yards from us. It was supported by a body of Marines and Ellsworth’s red-legged Zouaves.

Col. Fisher then filed to the left around the corner of the woods, and the following companies in the order of the names – Capt. Freeland’s, Capt. York’s, Lieut. Carter’s, Capt. Avery’s, Capt. Craig’s, Lieut. Parish’s and Capt. Kirkland’s – came into line, faced to the right and opened fire on the enemy. Our men then advanced, firing at will, until, I suppose, they had fired two rounds or more, and many were then within thirty yards of the battery. All this time a oration of our men were firing at a body of men on our left in a little slip of woods, but at the time I speak of, a mounted officer rode in among our men, with no little danger to himself, and ordered us to cease firing. Our Colonel repeated the command, and when, through the united efforts of our Company officers, the firing was stopped, it was stated that we were firing into our friends on the left, and we immediately concluded that it was the 4th Alabama Regiment which, it was previously understood, would support us on that side.

When the smoke had cleared away we perceived that the horses attached to the battery were all killed and many of the soldiers manning and supporting the guns had fallen while many others had retreated, though the stars and stripes still floated over the battery, and some Federal troops were ranged around.

At this juncture, it was that, after a pause, Capt. Avery took the responsibility of ordering a charge, and it being repeated along the line, more than a hundred of our men did charge, and, the enemy retreating in hot haste, took possession of the battery. When we reached the top of the hill, many of the Zouaves could be seen running a distance of a hundred yards beyond, while some had squatted behind a fence in a lane about fifty yards beyond the battery. Upon these latter our men opened fire from points beyond and around the battery.

About this time a fire was opened upon us from the strip of woods on our left, and many of our number, among them the gallant young Mangum, fell. Our hands were tied. We had been told that they were friends, and to corroborate it, they had given us the sign adopted to distinguish friends that day, and some said had raised the Confederate flag. The solders of the 4th Alabama Regiment deny the charge, but with the facts before them, it is submitted to the public to pass judgment. Situated as we were, receiving a fire and unable to return it, our officers advised a retreat and we did give way.

Upon the conduct of our gallant Colonel, suitable encomiums will be passed by persons much more competent to perform the task than myself. I will content myself with giving a plain statement of facts.

He had been from the first in front of his regiment, and when, after the command to cease firing, a portion of his men were giving back fire for a moment, he came down the hill, called upon them to rally, and as they charged, said to an officer, ”you are right, rally your men, it will never do to give it up.” These were his last words. In a moment he swept on with the men and past them, and soon after it is supposed, fell about thirty yards beyond the battery and to the left of it. No one saw him fall, for no one could see him from behind, even though within a few paces of him. He had gone through a little cluster of pine bushes and at the moment he emerged from the other side fell dead. Besides, Col. Fisher had dismounted, and there was nothing to attract attention to his movement. In justice to those companies in the rear, that did not actively engage in the fight, it must be said that some were in the most trying of situations, receiving a galling fire and unable to return it, especially Capt. Tate’s, which was next in front. Maj. Pickett, who was in command of Sherman’s battery on the 21st, but now a wounded prisoner here, states, that when our regiment was coming up the ravine, he started to depress his pieces and rake our line; but we were too quick for him and our first fire killed all his horses and some of his gunners. With this statement before them, we call upon the citizens of North Carolina to aid us in establishing the fact, that we took Sherman’s battery. I may also state, that up to the time we attacked the battery, the enemy’s line in that direction had been steadily advancing, and our Generals were forming a new line some distance in the rear to fall back upon. When the battery was silenced, however, they instantly gave the command ”forward.” After we had retreated about a hundred and fifty yards to an old field, portions of Capt. Freeland’s, Lieut. Carter’s, Capt. Avery’s, Capt. Craig’s, Lieut. Parish’s and Capt. Kirkland’s companies rallied with all their officers, who were not disabled, and Col. Lightfoot, who had been last to leave the field despite a wound in the leg, then bleeding freely, took command, having the assistance of Maj. Webb and Adjutant Lowrie. Col. L. then reported to Gen. Cock for orders and was commanded to support the flank movement, which he did, moving with the left of our line till the final stampede of the enemy that evening. His command, being attached that night to the Va. 7th, slept on the line and returned to the Junction to rejoin their comrades Monday afternoon. This, Messrs. Editors, is a true statement of al that was done by the 6th Regiment, on the 21st.

I must not be understood to question the truth of any accounts of the heroic adventures or miraculous, hair-breadth escapes of any individual, which may have reached the public. Those feats were performed and those scenes enacted, where there could be no witness, but that one appealed to in the courts of justice. I, of course, cannot testify with regard to them.

JUSTICE.

(Raleigh, NC) Semi-Weekly State Journal, 8/17/1861

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Capt. James William Wilson, Co. F, 6th North Carolina Infantry, On His Company In the Battle

13 08 2020

For the Hillsborough Recorder.

Melville, Aug. 1st.

Mr. Hearte – Dear Sir: – I had intended writing you a lengthy account of the fight at Manassas, but was prevented by sickness from so doing. Two days previous to the fight I was sent off by Col. Fisher as Quarter-master, and for that reason did not get into the engagement until about 2 o’clock. As soon as I get better I will try to give you some items which will be of interest to your readers.

In the Standard I notice a letter from Capt. York, which does not give justice to the Company from the Hawfields, which I have the pleasure to command, and I write to-day to ask you in your next editorial to make a statement for them. In addition to the two companies that charged upon Sherman’s battery, under their brave commanders, Capts. Avery and Kirkland, the writer neglects to add the one from Haw Fields. This Company fought bravely through the entire battle, was in the charge upon the battery, and even went beyond it, and at night as large o proportion as from any other Company followed in the pursuit. I can say this without any egotism, as the company was under the command of my most efficient first Lieut. Carter. In this Company James P. Stewart and James Simpson (privates) were killed; Paisley White severely wounded; Elbridge Younger flesh wound in the arm; Samuel Younger wounded in the foot; Jo. Thompson (son of Samuel) marked in the ear. Many others received slight marks, but not of sufficient importance to notice.

The dispute as to whom belongs the credit of taking Sherman’s battery, in my opinion, arises from our not being able fully to identify which was really his battery. That we charged upon and took a battery there is not a shadow of doubt, but whether it was Sherman’s, or a part of it, or some other battery, my impression is no one can say positively, and so many having been taken the confusion may have thus arisen.

I am yet very feeble, but hope soon to be able to return to my post. By making some notice of what I have written you will, I know, gratify your many readers in the Hawfields.

Yours, very truly

James W. Wilson

Hillsborough (NC) Recorder, 8/7/1861

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[The following appeared in the (Raleigh, NC) Semi-Weekly Standard on 8/10/1861, along with an excerpt of the above:

We are satisfied that Capt. York did not intend to do the slightest injustice to the Hawfields company. He had left a blank in his letter, hoping no doubt before he closed his letter, to obtain the names of the other companies that charged upon the battery. In publishing the letter we closed up this blank.

Capt. Wilson had returned home on leave, on account of serious indisposition – hemorrhage of the lungs. We hope to hear of his restoration to health. He is every way worthy of the men under his command, who bore so gallant a part in the great battle with laid permanently the foundations of Southern independence.]

James William Wilson at Ancestry 

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James William Wilson at FindAGrave 





Capt. William Johnson Freeland, Co. C, 6th North Carolina Infantry, On the Battle and Company Casualties

13 08 2020

Sixth Regiment N. C. State Troops. – For the gratification of those who have friends in Capt. Freeland’s Company, we are permitted to publish and extract of his letter to his wife.

Manassas Junction, July 23d, 1861.

My Dear Julia: – I am yet alive and well, and so only through the great mercies of God. Sixteen of my brave boys fell around me, dead and wounded, while storming one of the enemy’s batteries. Our brave Col. Fisher fell near me. The battle raged dreadfully for twelve hours. They drove us once in some disorder, but we drove them at last with great slaughter. I hope never to witness such a scene again. Be of good cheer, dear Julia, for I hope the last great battle is fought and won.

I send you a list of the dead and wounded of my Company:

Killed – J. A. Hutchins, Robert Falkner
Wounded. – J. E. Davis, mortally; E. W. Pickett, James Redmun, A. Glen, A. P. Copley, James Copley, William Chambley, W. P. Haley, S. B. Freeman, H. Vickers, O. W. Willett, H. Pickett, Silas Hutchin, Burton Rhodes.

I have just visited my wounded, and could but weep over them. Our dead are all buried.

Hillsboro Recorder.

(Fayetteville, NC) Semi-Weekly Observer, 8/5/1861

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William Johnson Freeland at Ancestry 

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William Johnson Freeland at FindAGrave 





An Eye Witness, 6th North Carolina Infantry, On the Battle

12 08 2020

Camp Bee, 4 Miles N. E. Manassas
Junction, Va., July 28, 1861

Gentlemen: – I know you would like to hear from us, and as I have a leisure moment now, and a chance to send a letter, (for we have no mails,) I drop you this scroll. We of the Sixth N. C. State Troops, Col. Fisher, were ordered to Gen. Johnson’s command at Winchester, where we arrived in time to join in the celebrated “forced march” across the mountains to Gen. Beauregard’s aid, and which has been spoken of by President Davis as the great military achievement of the age. Yes, sire, we travelled on foot, day and night, without even stopping to eat! We arrived Sunday morning of the memorable 21st., at the Junction, about 8 o’clock, and while Col. Fisher was calling at Headquarters for orders we hear the opening fire. Soon after, Col. F. returned and ordered us to “forward,” and at a rapid pace, we set out for the battle field, without rest, water or food for 36 hours. As we approached, the musketry opened on the enemy (the fire before was that of Artillery) when we quickened our step ‘till within range of the enemy’s guns. Under cover of some timber we formed our line and for a few minutes practiced the men in manner of firing – then loaded and went on.

Owing to the position of the enemy the skirts of timber and the manner of carrying up the Regiment into action by the right flank, three of the extreme rear Companies never could get to “open” on the enemy, although exposed to a heavy cross fire of musketry and rifles all the while. The other seven Companies of the Regiment getting in, had the work to do, and right well did they do it.

In our rear was posted a Regiment of the enemy’s riflemen and in front Michigan Marine, Regular and Zouave Regiments in almost endless number, while to our left on tops of the hill, some 50 paces distant was the Sherman Battery.

On receiving fire from so many directions at the same time our men were thrown into temporary confusion and were ordered to “fall back” into the timber just in the rear and re-form. Col. Fisher again ordered them to “forward” in the direction of the Battery, he leading, some distance in advance. When found, the poor Colonel was dead, 25 yards beyond the Battery. About this time, Lieut. Col. Lightfoot was wounded and an officer mounted came up and ordered the men to “cease firing.” Just here there was great confusion, for there was scarcely any telling friends from foes. Yet the Zouaves with their red breeches could always be distinguished, and they kept pouring in a murderous fire. Capt. Avery saw it would not do to remain there inactive and took the responsibility to order a charge upon the Battery and with a yell the men moved rapidly on and driving the enemy from the guns, took possession – our Mississippi and South Carolina friends could not believe but they were the enemy and opened fire on them compelling the gallant Captain and his brave North Carolinians to abandon the guns – which were afterwards seized by other Southern men. This much is certainly true, that after Capt. Avery took the Battery no enemy ever used it, or was near it, for soon after the Yankees began a retreat which finally ended, as all knows, in a rout.

Many of our North Carolina boys acted heroically, but it would be perhaps better not to name these without explanations, which would be too tedious. It is sufficient to say that the fame of our State will not suffer by reason of bac conduct on the part of the Sixth Regiment State Troops. The loss is killed 16, wounded 64. Total 80. Several of the wounded will prove fatal.

Yours,
AN EYE WITNESS

(Raleigh, NC) Semi-Weekly Standard, 8/3/1861

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Image: Col. Charles F. Fisher, 6th North Carolina Infantry

11 08 2020
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Col. Charles F. Fisher, 6th N. C. Infantry (Source)

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Col. Fisher’s hat worn at First Bull Run, North Carolina Museum of History (Source)





“Tau”, 6th North Carolina Infantry, On the Battle, the Death of Col. Fisher, and the Aftermath

11 08 2020

Correspondence of the Raleigh Standard.
—————

Camp Bee, Near Manassa Junction, Va
July 28, 1861.

Mr. Editor: – After incredible toil and hardships, and sleeping on the ground for a week, we have at last received our tents and baggage, and are now snugly quartered. There is no news of much importance; we are simply waiting for another festival on Sunday when the Yankees come to see us again, and when they do come back again, I hope they will come by forced marches so as to tire them, and then stiffen their legs; for certainly they can outrun any race of people that I have ever seen stretch legs over terra firma. It has been said that the yankees will not fight; well, this is a bad mistake, and if any troops come from North-Carolina under the apprehension that they will have no fight, they will be mistaken; for they fought us with a bravery worthy of a better cause for ten hours, and we whipped them by hard fighting. Our men took deliberate aim, and brought them to the ground, and, moreover, we walked right up to them, and did not stand off at half mile distance. Our regiment was led up by the gallant Fisher within 40 yards, and we silenced the battery first fire. The battery was Rickett’s and not Sherman’s. We all thought it was Sherman’s, but Capt. Rickett was wounded and taken prisoner and said it was his battery, and that our first fire killed every horse, and killed or wounded the cannoneers so that he could not fire the pieces. Had it not been cried out that we were “firing on friends,” we would have swept the field.

It was near this battery, and in advance of his men, that the lamented Fisher fell. Our loss of him was a serious and irreparable one. No man ever loved his men more than he, and none labored for them as he. There was nothing that he would not do for his men, even the lowest private in the ranks. While others might pride themselves upon their rank, he felt as a man, though he acted as a soldier. He never was with the Regiment until at Raleigh, and on our way to Virginia his labors were incessant for the soldiers. On the march from Strasburg to Winchester he walked all the way, giving both his horses to sick soldiers, and when we were thrown into line of battle, hungry and thirsty, on foot he went with the men, his hands full of canteens, to show them where the water was – then went back to Winchester, helped to cook our supper himself, and then did the same again at breakfast. These things riveted the affection of the men, and death itself can never eradicate from their hearts the memory of our gallant Colonel, the lamented Fisher. – When we left Winchester on a forced march to join Beauregard, when he read the orders of Gen. Johnson, the welkin rang with cheers, and when he returned from the left wing after reading the orders there, from the whole line, as one man, there went up three cheers for Col. Fisher, that spoke for themselves. His regiment would have followed him anywhere, and did follow him to the cannon’s mouth. Others may have excelled him in the minutiae of tactics; but none excelled him in bravery. Gallant and brave, he almost courted death; but fell in the hour of victory, lamented by his men. He went to the field determined that he would.

“As victor exult, or in death be laid low.”

His last words were “fire on the battery.”

May the sod lie light on his breast; and his memory shall be cherished by his men as one who knew how to die like a soldier.

We are at present engaged only in the usual routine of camp duty, and with but little prospect of a fight, though I certainly should relish one some Sunday soon; but I think they have pills enough to last them awhile.

We have had quite a number of North-Carolinians here for the past few days, visiting their wounded friends, and others to view the battle ground. Already nearly every bullet, bomb, and every thing else have been picked up off the battle field. I visited it yesterday, with some gentlemen from the old North State; but the odor of dead Yankees hand horses was too delicious entirely for me, and I retreated precipitately, as I think every other one will who has good smellers, and better stomachs.

A detachment of Louisiana troops were burying the putrid bodies of the dead Yankees, who had been lying there, ever since the battle, and they told me they buried eighty-two before breakfast; but hundreds of them in the thickets, will furnish food to the black eagles that collect in immense quantities over the putrid carcasses they left to pollute the soil of the South.

Our wounded men are all doing well, and if properly attended, will soon recover. They have all been removed, and I understand the ladies, where they are, are untiring in their exertions to relieve them. If any body upon this earth deserves compassion and attention, it is the wounded soldier, and rich rewards lie waiting in the land of the hereafter for those angels who bound up the haggard wound, and administered to the wants of those who braved the leaden hail storm of Sunday, the 21st. God bless the ladies, we often hear of them out here, and talk about our wives, sweethearts, &c., &c., but we see the agile form of woman, with her angelic smiles, about as often as we do Abraham. But we are coming back to old Wake after a while, and them we will collect the ladies, bring out the champagne, and have a merrier support than Gen. McDowell had at Centreville, and some of us can get as drunk as he. The difference, however will be, he drank before he won his victory, we will drink after.

Some beautiful ladies near Raleigh, gave us a lot of lint before I left. They will be pleased to know that it has been used on the wounds of as brave boys as ever “shouldered arms.”

I should like to see Raleigh again, and many friends, and my humble home in the country with the loved ones there, but –

Tau.

(Raleigh, NC) Semi-Weekly Standard, 8/7/1861

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Charles Fisher at NCPedia 

Charles Fisher at Wikipedia 

Charles Fisher at Ancestry.com 

Charles Fisher at Fold3 

Charles Fisher at FindAGrave