S. D. S., Co. K, 18th Virginia Infantry, On the Battle

9 09 2020

Correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch.
The Charlotte Rifles.

Charlotte C. H., Va., Aug.2d.

With your permission, I avail myself of the opportunity to return my grateful and heartfelt thanks to the kind ladies of Orange and Culpeper Court-House, who met me with many other poor wounded soldiers on the cars, with blackberry wines, warm teas and many other delicacies too numerous to mention, (but all calculated to soothe and refresh a worn out soldier,) while on our way from the battle ground of Manassas. Crowds of ladies assembled at the depots of the above mentioned places to await the arrival of the train which was to convey us from the scene of action, bringing with them kind words of comfort which almost made me thankful that I received the wound.

May God bless them – that God who so graciously protected us in our time of danger and turned aside the missiles of death hurled against us by the hands of the brutal, but cowardly foe. When I first commenced my journey I thought that I was far from friends and home, but I was greatly mistaken, for a wounded soldier will always find relief and comfort whenever and wherever he may meet with the ladies of the Old Dominion.

I received my wound in the early part of the engagement whilst attempting to shoot a cowardly Yankee, who was dodging behind a bush; the ball passed through the calf of my left leg, and was cut out behind. I was carried under a large tree to have the ball cut out, and whilst there a cannon ball shattered the top of the tree into a thousand pieces, without injuring me in the least. One of my company, James A. Thomas, was shot dead at my side by a Yankee, who pretended to be in the agonies of death. Our gallant Major George Cabell, seeing the deception practiced upon poor Thomas, (than whom a braver and better man never lived,) drew his revolver and sent the Yankee scoundrel to his last account.

Our regiment (the Eighteenth) was soon ordered to charge upon a portion of Sherman’s Battery, which they did with the greatest coolness and bravery, having taken it with the loss of but few men. The company to which I belonged, (the Charlotte Rifles, Capt. T. J. Spencer,) I am happy to say, acted with great coolness and bravery throughout the whole engagement. Our noble Captain is as brave and good a man as ever lived, rallying his men throughout the whole battle. First Lieutenant Matthew Lyle, of the Charlotte Rifles, distinguished himself by killing six of the scamps wand taking several prisoners. Among them was Capt. Jack Downey, of the New York Zouaves, who, with the true spirit of a Yankee after he was captured, threw up his hands and cried for mercy, when he was told he should not be harmed. A Minnie musket, a brace of pistols, and a sword, with his name on it, were taken from him. If ever a man deserved promotion, Lieut. L. does.

S. D. S., a Member of the Charlotte Rifles.

Richmond (VA) Dispatch, 8/5/1861

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“Justice,” Newtown Artillery, On the Battle

9 09 2020

Correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch
The Newtown Artillery in the Battle of Manassas.

Frederick Co., Va., July 30, 1861.

Hearing so much said in praise of the Newtown Artillery, attached to the Fourth Brigade of General Johnston’s Army, by the infantry who witnessed their bravery, and the good service they rendered on the battlefield on the 21st, and not seeing any notice of them, I think that justice demands these few lines, knowing, as I do, that no town in Frederick County, sent forth braver soldiers than Newtown. – Although the majority of them are mere youths, they fought with the bravery of experienced soldiers, sustaining the position assigned them, and finally driving the enemy before them. I quote an extract from letter written by one of the company to a friend. – “We were ordered to a field about {?} o’clock; it was enough to discourage any one to see the dead and wounded coming back, and hear the answers to the question, how is the battle coming off? Some would say, it’s a hard time, boys; others, we are whipped; our men are falling back; our men are cut to pieces; but we pushed on. We stopped on a hill to get orders where to go, Gen. Johnston being here observing the movements of the enemy. There we first caught sight of the Yankees, on a hill about a mile off, and shooting at use with rifle cannon. We could hear the balls whistling around us, but couldn’t see them. We stayed there about fifteen minutes, awaiting orders, that distance being too great for our guns. Our orders were to flank the enemy on the right. We went through the woods and came out in a meadow immediately on their right, about five hundred yards off. There we commenced firing, with infantry a short distance behind, to back us should they charge. We fired until we broke their ranks, when we moved nearer. They rallied several times, but couldn’t [?] our fire, and at length [?] to conclude that their only chance of safety lay in the good use they could make of their heels; so they ran, and we after them, stopping to fire on them when we came near enough; but they, having thrown away all encumbrance, proved too swift for us. We followed about three miles. Other companies followed different parts of the army. – Those we followed, judging from marks on their baggage, were from Maine, or at least a part of them. We did not turn back until nearly dark, and then we saw the awful issue of a battle field – the dead lying about, the wounded begging for help; most of them were Yankees. We came across three Mississippians under an apple tree, wounded. Three of our boys staid with them until the next day. We got back about ten at night, and were so tired we laid down without dinner or supper, except some crackers we got along the road.”

The Artillery fought this battle as did many others, after a wearisome journey from Winchester, and with but tow or three hours sleep since the Wednesday night preceding, having arrived at the Junction about midnight on Saturday night. Should they chance to take part in another battle, we are confident they will give the Yankees many balls that will be long remembered by them, though of a different description from those they expected to have on reaching Richmond.


Richmond (VA) Dispatch, 8/5/1861

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