A. C., Co. H, 11th North Carolina Infantry, On the Campaign

2 09 2020

Head Quarters Army of the Potomac,
Manassa, July 31st, 1861.

Dear Spirit: – Since we left Danville, we have gone through some degrees of a soldier’s life. We were hurried from D. to Richmond, remained there two days, and were then ordered to Winchester, but arrived at Manassa the evening before the battle at Bull Run on Thursday the 18th. We were ordered to Bull Run in order to take part in the fight. The Regiment, numbering eleven hundred and sixty, had to sleep in one train of freight cats (Wednesday night) on hard benches and the floor – about forty or fifty in a car. I suppose it was necessary to harden us a little before taking us to the field of action. We were up bright and early next morning, and Col. Kirkland soon had us in line and marched us to Bull Run, about four miles from Manassa. We were sent up the creek about a mile to keep the yankees from coming over on our side. The enemy’s cannon commenced firing, the balls were whizzing over, but without effect. The Colonel told us to stoop down behind the fence; we were soon down upon our knees with our guns through the cracks of the fence. We were close to a wooded swamp which was in our front, and were commanded to keep a sharp lookout for the yankees, and if one made his appearance, to pull trigger on him. Sometimes the boys would hear something in the woods or see a horse pass by, and there was a general clattering along the line, springing their locks ready for a fire. Unfortunately, a young man belonging to the third South Carolina Regiment went across to hunt a horse and came in the way we were looking for the[…] in the thick woods and three or four of them fired on him, but as he was rather protected by the trees, only two shot took effect, and they passed through the fleshy part of his arm without breaking the bone. The enemy did not get close enough to us to fire upon them – the advanced part of the army whipped them in a few hours.

We were ordered late in the evening to march down the creek about a mile and get behind the batteries – the batteries were not completed, but the several Captains soon had spades and mattocks and put us to work. – We worked night and day until we threw up splendid embankments, and were well protected by the morning of the 21st, at which time the great battle commenced – a battle that will be long remembered by both sections of the American Continent. That beautiful Sabbath day (before its close) told to the yankees that they had intruded upon the Lord’s day and an inoffensive people, and perhaps by this time they have learned that the Southern boys will not be so easily subjugated as they at first anticipated. We were placed about the centre of the line; the fight, was on the left wing. There was a battery of heavy artillery placed in front of us, about two miles off; they fired on us nearly all day with heavy slugs and bombshells, but we were so well fortified that they could do us no harm. Late in the evening we were ordered to pursue the enemy, which we did in “double quick,” for about three miles; but the yankees got so far the start on us, and were so badly scared, that we never caught up with them.

Our Regiment is stationed at Bull Run yet. A few of them are sick but not seriously so. As a general thing we are a healthy set of boys and I hope we well all do our duty, and be ready at all times to stand up in defence of our country. I believe our field officers are a brave, patriotic and competent set of men, and only require a chance to prove themselves worthy of promotion. Fin looking Regiments are coming in nearly every day. – There is a large body of fine looking troops here now.

May the God of battles soon send the time when we may be able to proclaim to each other, and to our friends whom we have left behind, that victory is ours, and peace and prosperity once more prevail in our land.

Prayer is still kept up in the “Mountain Tiger Camp,” and we are glad to inform our friends that in point of morals we are not retrograding.

A. C.,
Of the Mountain Tigers,
11th Reg. N. C. Vols.

(Raleigh, NC) The Spirit of the Age, 8/10/1861

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