Pvt. Frank M. Boutelle, Co. I[*], 2nd New Hampshire Infantry, On the Battle

5 01 2021

STRAY SHOTS FROM BULL RUN.

We are permitted to give a few extracts from a private letter from Frank M. Boutelle, of this city:

How they came on to the Field.

I was all worn out, having marched double quick for half a mile; the fight had been going on about fifteen minutes. The rebels had been driven about 40 yards, and as we came on, the rifles of Company B[*] sent them another notch, and a volley from the regiment made them take to the woods. Our cannon were then planted on the ground they had occupied.

How they faced Death.

Company B[*] did their duty. Poor Moses Eastman was shot in the leg; he stood behind me; the ball that struck him cut the sheath from my bayonet. One of my friends was shot through the breast a little way from me. H. L. Morse was struck by a cannon ball in the neck, which cut his head off. I could cover this sheet with such incidents; but it would do no good and is unpleasant.

Not good at a retreat.

At seven the retreat began in earnest. – Regiment after Regiment passed before I got off the field; as I was getting over the fence into the road, a hasty charge of rifle bullets came rattling after me; this opened my eyes some, but was soon driven out of my mind by a handful of marbles which plowed up the soil about me. One of them made of shoe of my right boot pretty quick, by taking off the leg. The same volley killed a horse and wounded two men, and one shot struck my heel. The first brook I came to filled my newly made shoe with gravel and water. I stood as long as I could and then pulled off both boots and stockings, for they had holes in them. After travelling all night Sunday, with the exception of two hours, and until 4 o’clock next day, I reached Alexandria. Reached Washington by boat on Tuesday. My feet were so cut up that I was obliged to take a hack, and arrived at Camp Sullivan at 10 o’clock, A.M., tired and worn out. Have not got over it yet, but soon shall. It begins to rain and has wet my paper, so I close.

Camp Sullivan, July 31, 1861.

(Manchester) New Hampshire Journal of Agriculture, 8/10/1861

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Contributed by John J. Hennessy

[*Frank M. Boutelle shows in the roster per regimental history as a member of Co. I. Moses Eastman and Henry L. Morse are also listed as Co. I. From this site, it appears this company was accepted into state service 4/22/861, but discharged and again accepted prior to its formation as Co. I. It may be that members referred to themselves as Co. B as a nod to their earlier enlistment date.]

Frank M. Boutelle at Fold3

Frank M. Boutelle at FindAGrave





Unknown Officer, Co. F, 2nd New Hampshire Infantry, On the Battle

5 01 2021

LETTER FROM WASHINGTON.

We are permitted to make the following extracts from a letter received in this city yesterday, written by an officer in the 2d New Hampshire regiment:

Camp Sullivan, 2d N H. regiment,
Washington, D. C., Jul 28.

Dear —-; — “Everything for the cause; nothing for men,” thought we as the bullets and bombs whisted Hail Columbia around out devoted heads at Bull Run on Sunday, but still we fought regardless of the danger for nine long and bloody hours; and if the order had not come for us to retreat, we should have remained on the battle field until no one was left to tell the tale. Yes, all hail 2d New Hampshire. You fought well, and if you were not successful in this, your first action, we thank God that there is a day of reckoning coming, and God pity the poor rebels when next we get at them – they that refused mercy to our wounded and dying will receive an awful retribution, and the day of retribution is not far distant.

Our poor company, F, was sadly shattered, and it seems as if ours was the unfortunate company in the regiment. We had fifteen brave boys killed and wounded, and quite a number missing. One of our lost, Sergeant Brackett, was my particular friend, and it seems hard to have him cut down thus early in his glorious career. His was a noble death! Peace to his ashes.

It seems as if our best men were picked out to be slaughtered. I wish it were otherwise, but I suppose it was so ordered, and all too for the best.

Our regiment was the first on the field and the last one to retire, and we did not want to go then, but the order was peremptory and we must obey, so with heavy hears and not very christian expressions we left the field to the traitors and rebels.

I would rather ten thousand times have been shot down like a dog than been obliged to retreat in such confusion – ‘twas a fight without a leader – and thank Heaven we have now a true General in McClellan. McDowell did not know his business.

Our Colonel, Marston, was severely wounded, and I don’t think he will resume command again. He was very brave on the field. After he was wounded he was brought on to the field and held upon his horse till the last shot was fired.

A Member of our company died yesterday at the hospital here. He has never seen a well day since he left New Hampshire. He was from Laconia, and leaves a widowed mother to mourn his untimely fate. His disease was consumption that fell destroyer of the North. He was not in the fight of course, not being able to set up.

A member of our company[*] is to be hung tomorrow for murdering a woman at Alexandria, yesterday. He was drunk; when sober he was a good soldier; he never has been in camp since the battle, having stayed out and kept drunk all the while. Poor fellow, what a pity he could not have died on the battle field.

New Bedford (Massachusetts) Evening Standard, 8/1/1861

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Contributed by John J. Hennessy

*Per regimental history, William F. Murray of Co. F was hanged 8/2/1862 for the murder of Mary Banks A history of the Second regiment, New Hampshire volunteer infantry, in the war of the rebellion : Haynes, Martin A. (Martin Alonzo), 1845-1919 : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive